Ron Washington expects Yu Darvish back in the Rangers’ rotation on August 25

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Rangers manager Ron Washington expects starter Yu Darvish to rejoin the Rangers’ rotation when he’s first eligible on August 25, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Darvish went on the disabled list on Thursday retroactive to August 11 with inflammation in his right elbow.

There was some concern that Darvish could miss the rest of the season, but it seems that Washington doesn’t share that concern.

“It’s our intention he will pitch again,” Washington said about Darvish’s season. “I expect him to pitch for us on [August] the 25th. I have no indication that it would be more than 15 days. Let’s let the process work and see where it goes.”

Darvish has taken a more long-term view. He told the media that if returning to pitch this season is “going to risk my elbow for the future, I’m not going to take the risk.”

The 27-year-old right-hander was in the midst of another great season before the injury halted his momentum. He has a 3.06 ERA with a 182/49 K/BB ratio in 144 1/3 innings. Robbie Ross started in his place last night and was shelled by the Rays, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings. Ross was optioned to Triple-A earlier today. The Rangers plan to skip over the #5 spot in the rotation as the club has off days on Monday and Thursday.

Astros advance to the World Series with 4-0 finale against Yankees

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The Astros punched their ticket to the World Series on Saturday, shutting out the Yankees 4-0 to take their first Game 7 victory at home. Charlie Morton was nearly untouchable on the mound, holding the Yankees to two hits, a walk and five strikeouts en route to his first career postseason win.

Morton and Sabathia carried their duel through three solid innings. Morton struck out three batters and allowed just one baserunner. Sabathia worked in and out of jams in the second and third innings, supplying and stranding two runners in scoring position.

Evan Gattis was the first to strike. In the fourth inning, he punched a 2-2 slider from Sabathia into the left field wall, where it registered a projected 405 feet and broke a homer-less streak of 115 at-bats by designated hitters in the 2017 postseason. The home run signaled the beginning of the end for the Yankees’ starter. He induced a groundout from Marwin Gonzalez, then walked Brian McCann on six pitches and allowed Josh Reddick his first base hit of the playoffs. That was enough for Joe Girardi, who pulled Sabathia for righty Tommy Kahnle and an inning-ending double play to close out the fourth.

Even with Sabathia gone, there was still some hope that the middle of the order could bail the Yankees out. Greg Bird led off the fifth with a first pitch double and Aaron Hicks took a four-pitch walk. A wild pitch from Morton allowed Bird to reach third base, but Alex Bregman and Brian McCann weren’t about to let the Yankees spoil their starter’s shutout. Todd Frazier bounced a ball toward third base, where Bregman grabbed and fired it to home plate, catching Bird just as McCann put his glove down.

The bottom of the inning wasn’t any easier for Sabathia’s successors. Jose Altuve went oppo-taco on a 1-1 changeup from Kahnle, postmarking it 364 feet into the right field stands. Kahnle labored through the next four at-bats, handing out a pair of singles to Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel before sending Gattis down swinging. The next at-bat was even more troublesome. McCann roped a two-out, two-RBI double to the warning track in right field, clearing the bases and boosting the Astros’ to a cushy 4-0 lead.

The excitement fizzled a little over the next few innings. Brett Gardner muscled a leadoff single off of Lance McCullers, but was later caught at second on a force play to end the sixth. McCullers didn’t let go of the ball again. He was lights-out through the end of the game, scattering a walk and six strikeouts over four innings and clinching the pennant with a 1-2-3 performance in the ninth.

Whatever confidence the Astros had coming off of their three-game sweep in the Division Series was tested and tested again in their pennant run. They battled through three tough losses in Games 3 through 5, staved off elimination with a gem from Justin Verlander in Game 6, and finally emerged victorious tonight. Three days from now, when they enter Dodger Stadium for Game 1 of the World Series, they’ll have the chance to do it all again.