Getty Images

Astros thump Rays in Game 1 of the ALDS

4 Comments

Well, that could’ve gone better for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Justin Verlander was, well, Justin Verlander. The Astros ace — one of ’em anyway — tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only one hit and striking out eight. The Rays drew three walks but never really threatened while he was in the game. The Astros won 6-2.

Verlander’s counterpart Tyler Glasnow got into a jam in the third but was otherwise pretty good for four innings, throwing near-100 m.p.h. heat and not allowing a run. That fifth inning, though, was a lulu.

After giving up a leadoff walk to ninth place hitter Josh Reddick, Glasnow struck out George Springer. With José Altuve at the plate he delivered his 76th and final pitch of the game: a 97.5 m.p.h. fastball up high. Velocity is great, but big league batters can adjust to it eventually. Atuve, one of the best big league hitters there is, was not fazed. He put lumber on it and sent it into the Crawford Boxes to give the Astros a 2-0 lead:

With Glasnow gone reliever Brendan McKay put two more runners on and the Rays gave up two more due to bad defense, with both runners scoring on a fly ball that fell in between the second baseman and right fielder. The second baseman was charged with an error:

The sides traded zeros in the sixth but then the Astros plated two more in the bottom of the seventh via RBI doubles from Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel, both off of Oliver Drake. It was 6-0 at that point and A.J. Hinch lifted Verlander to start the eighth.

That agreed with the Rays, who managed to rally for two runs on four hits off of Ryan Pressly, with Eric Sogard singling in a run and Austin Meadows doubling one in. Hinch lifted him with two outs and runners on the corner. Will Harris came in and got Ji-Man Choi to end the would-be comeback before it really came all that far back. Roberto Osuna came on in the ninth and set the Rays down in order to end it.

Welp, at least Verlander is out of the way. Now all the Rays have to do is beat Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke.

Good luck, guys!

Anthony Rendon explains why he didn’t go to the White House

Getty Images
15 Comments

Today the Angels introduced their newest big star, Anthony Rendon, who just signed a seven-year, $245 million contract to play in Orange County.

And it is Orange County, not Los Angeles, Rendon stressed at the press conference. When asked about the Dodgers, who had also been reported to be courting him, Rendon said he preferred the Angels because, “the Hollywood lifestyle . . . didn’t seem like it would be a fit for us as a family.”

What “the Hollywood Lifestyle” means in that context could mean a lot of things I suppose. It could be about the greater media scrutiny Dodgers players are under compared to Angels players. It could mean that he’d simply prefer to live in Newport Beach than, I dunno, wherever Dodgers players live. Pasadena? Pasadena is more convenient to Dodger Stadium than the beach. Who knows. They never did let Yasiel Puig get that helicopter he wanted, so traffic could’ve been a consideration.

But maybe it’s a subtle allusion to political/cultural stuff. Orange County has trended to the left in some recent elections but it is, historically speaking, a conservative stronghold in Southern California. And, based on something else he said in his press conference, Rendon seems to be pretty conscious of geographical/political matters:

A shoutout to the notion of Texas being Trump country and an askance glance at “the Hollywood Lifestyle” of Los Angeles all in the same press conference. That’s a lot of culture war ground covered in one press conference. So much so that I can’t decide if I should warn Rendon that both Texas and Orange County are trending leftward or if I should tell him to stick to sports.