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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.

Rafael Devers won’t visit White House with Red Sox

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The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.

However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”

Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.

Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.

Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.

No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.