The Baltimore Orioles just announced that they have named Roger McDowell their new pitching coach.
McDowell spent the past 11 seasons as the pitching coach for the Atlanta Braves. The club declined to pick up his 2017 option after the season, however, freeing him up to go to Baltimore. His predecessor with the Braves, Leo Mazzone, likewise went from Atlanta to Baltimore to become the O’s pitching coach. No word on whether McDowell’s secretary was named Mazzone and Mazzone’s secretary was named McDowell.
Haha, just kidding. Pitching coaches don’t have secretaries. And it’s the Freemasons who are behind pitching coach jobs, not historical coincidence. Wake up, sheeple.
Anyway, McDowell was well thought of for most of his tenure in Atlanta. Less well thought of when the pitchers stunk, more well thought of when they didn’t. Which is pretty much true of every pitching coach this side of Dave Duncan.
McDowell pitched his final season in a Batlimore uniform, by the way, appearing in 41 games and picking up four saves in 1996.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.