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Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.

Yoenis Cespedes may need season-ending surgery

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Yoenis Cespedes is facing potential season-ending surgery, the outfielder told reporters following the Mets’ 7-5 win over the Yankees on Friday. Newly-returned from the disabled list after rehabbing a hip flexor strain and quad tightness, Cespedes appeared to be back to his old self after going 2-for-4 with a walk, base hit, and home run (his ninth of the year) during Friday’s series opener, but later remarked that he was suffering from calcification in both of his heels.

The only remedy, it appears, is a surgery that would require anywhere from 8-10 months of recovery. Should he elect to undergo the procedure now, it goes without saying that he won’t be able to return to the field before end of the regular season. On the other hand, if he postpones the surgery until the offseason, he could miss the first half of the Mets’ run in 2019.

The pain doesn’t seem to be debilitating, at least for the time being, but Cespedes added that any discomfort in his heels causes him to stand, walk, and run differently, which presents a definite problem if the club intends to ramp up his workload going forward. The Mets have yet to announce a final decision regarding any surgical procedure, though they will bench the outfielder for Saturday’s matinee against the Yankees. Following yesterday’s impressive performance, Cespedes is currently¬†batting .262/.325/.496 on the year with 15 extra-base hits, three stolen bases, and an .821 OPS through 157 PA.