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Houston knocks Trevor Bauer around in seventh to take lead

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Trevor Bauer came into the game in the sixth inning, pitching in his third straight game in relief. The idea with Bauer this postseason, by the way, is to use him like Andrew Miller: a multi-inning relief ace. It’s a great theory, as he has electric stuff and can strike out guys by the boatload, theoretically putting out fires. He did well enough in the sixth inning with that, but it didn’t go so well in the seventh.

The inning led off with a Tony Kemp single. An errant pickoff throw by Bauer allowed Kemp to reach second, after which George Springer reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners. Kemp came home on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jose Altuve that saw Springer forced out but which put Altuve on first. The game was tied at two.

The next batter up was Alex Bregman who grounded back to Bauer, who sought to turn a double play. His throw to Francisco Lindor at second was wide of the bag, preventing Lindor from getting the out at second. Lindor’s relay throw to first was late too, so two runners were on with only one out. Then Bauer walked Yuli Gurriel to load the bases. Bauer, by this point, was visibly angry and rattled. As you might be too if you had two throwing errors in the inning.

Marwin Gonzalez came up next. After Bauer fell behind him 3-0, Gonzalez hit a 3-1 pitch down the left field line which fell in for a two-run double to make it 4-2 Houston. The pitch, by the way, was way high and outside. I have no idea how Gonzalez did anything with it, frankly, but rather than a bases-loaded walk, Houston scored two. That knocked Bauer out of the game.

Andrew Miller came into the game with runners on second and third and one out to face Josh Reddick, who flied out to shallow left, failing to advance the runner at third home. Then it was Carlos Correa‘s turn: he walked to load the bases for Houston once again.

That brought up Tyler White, pinch hitting for Brian McCann, which in turn caused Terry Francona to go to the pen to call in Cody Allen. Allen struck out White, leaving the bases loaded.

We enter the seventh inning stretch with Houston up 4-2, nine outs away from moving on to the ALCS.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.