Before the Hall of Fame results are in: a small dose of perspective

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We hear who gets into the Hall of Fame at 2pm Eastern time. No matter what happens, there are and still will be flaws with the voting system and the voters’ choices. That’s the nature of the Hall of Fame and the increasingly large and crazy conversation which surrounds it.

But it is probably worth noting that today will represent a bit of history. Something notable, anyway. Unless something crazy happens, three guys — Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas — are definitely getting in. A fourth — Craig Biggio — has a decent shot. If it’s even three, though, it’s a pretty big deal.

Why? Because the last time as many as three men were elected to the Hall of Fame by the baseball writers, it was 1999, when George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount made it. That’s a long time ago. The last time as many as four made it via the writers’ ballot was 1955, when Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Dazzy Vance and Ted Lyons made it in. Simply put, the Hall of Fame does not elect a lot of people at once. If, as I suspect, they do this year, it’ll be a pretty big deal.

That doesn’t mean that this year’s vote shouldn’t be criticized. After all, even if four get in, there will be anywhere from six to ten or even more who are deserving but are getting the shaft for various reasons, many specious, and that’s sad. But getting the farkakte group of baseball writers who comprise the electorate to agree on three or four guys is worth mentioning and worth being happy about.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).