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Astros Up (2-0), A Long Way From “Orbit.”

For just the third time in their 15 post-season series,(two this season, with Carlos Correa leading the offense in both game 2 wins), the Houston Astros have grabbed a two games to none lead.

Correa’s double scored Jose Altuve with the winning run in game 2, a second straight Houston (2-1) win “under/vs” the New York Yankees in the ALCS.

The Astros opening an LCS at home for just the second time (the other was vs another New York team, the Mets in 1986) are bidding for just their second pennant and are now nice favorites to become the first team to play in a World Series from both major leagues.

The Yankees lost to a home team in extra innings, falling down (2-0) in the best of 5 “div” series but overcame Cleveland. They have won 40 American League Pennants, the Astros have one National League Pennant, none in the American League and nary a World Series win having been swept by the Chi Sox in the ’05 World Series.

This is the fifth straight season, the last 4 in the ALCS that the team winning Friday night came back and won Saturday afternoon to take a (2-0) LCS lead.

The previous four teams won said series,

The Astros are (4-0) at home in these ‘offs, have never won both an LCS opener and the series. This is their 5th LCS.

They head to New York where the Yankees are (3-0) this post-season. The Yankees (11-3) in previous ALCS, (the Astros were (1-3) in 4 NLCS), have never lost game 1 of an LCS on the road and won the series.

The vaunted Yankees’ franchise has won 40 pennants, the Astros have won just one.

Houston has won 6 of its last 7 LCS games while the Yankees, once (10-1) in LCS have lost 6 straight LCS games and 10 of 11 since the Yankees opened with a win at Texas in the 2010 LCS opener.

Suggestion for the Astros: go up (3-0) and certainly get it done in New York.

The “fix on Fox” scares me especially after they lost money, as the U.S. soccer team did not qualify for World Cup play.

Also the ‘Stros did not exactly rout the Yankees in either tilt, but are (7-2) counting “reg” (alot “reg” meant as Cleveland and Washington, each at one time the home city for the great football player, Bobby Mitchell, found out).

Why do I care? Maybe because the Astros (The Jetsons’ dog was named Astro) have suffered so greatly in post-season, maybe because despite progress, I still root vs the Yankees, maybe both.

 

Cubs Advanced vs “Wash” –unlike the Fonz, and in this case I was “wrongggg

Oh, was I wrong concerning the Chicago Cubs and for that matter, the now (0-4) in “div” series, Washington Nationals.

The Cubs prevailed two nights ago on Thursday October 12th to advance to their straight NLCS, this one vs the nearly two to one favorites, the L.A. Dodgers.

I believe last year, the Cubs bidding for their first pennant in 71 years were slightly bigger “faves” vs L.A. and of course prevailed in 6 games, en route to ending a 108 year title drought.

 

Exactly 50 Years Ago Yesterday That Bob Gibson And St. Louis (Cardinals) Won Game 7 at Boston

It was exactly 50 years ago yesterday, on Thursday October 12, 1967 when Columbus Day was observed then, hence no school, that the great pitcher Bob Gibson hurled the St. Louis Cardinals to a decisive 7th game triumph at Boston vs the Red Sox.

Julian Javier had a big hit as Gibson won in a game 7 for the second time in 4 seasons.

St. Louis handed the Red Sox the first two of their 4 game 7 losses, the four W.S. they lost from the time they had last won in 1918 until they did so in 2004, against St.Louis whom they also beat in the 2013 W.S. under John Farrell, who regrettably was let go by Boston the other day.

 

The Cards led 3 games to 1 in that ’67 World Series but needed Gibson in game 7.

The next year they were not as fortunate.

The Yankees Advance

Much credit to the New York Yankees, who overcame a (2-0) series deficit and took out the Cleveland Indians, who again dissipated a (3-1) series lead, losing in a Corey Kluber start on a Wednesday night. (See last year’s World Series and now it will be at least 70 years between Indians’ titles as they last won it all in 1948.)

Of course they are a wild card team, Boston beat them out for the entity/one eighth division but in a reversal of ’04, the lower seeded Yankees advance while the higher seeded Red Sox are out.

Referencing ’04, the Yankees got some revenge vs Terry Francona the current Cleveland manager as in the ’04 ALCS Francona’s Red Sox overcame a (3-0) series deficit to “7” the Yankees en route to ending an 86 year title drought.

Finally my incredible note (none of the four Yankees’ fans I “sent” it to seemed to care) was enhanced with Francona as “noted” here Monday, now having managed in 14 post-season series and incredibly 13 have manifested in one team or the other (now 5 vs Francona), winning at least three straight games within the series.

 

Didi Gregorious, (pictured above), on a “G” night, (Brett “G”ardner also had a big hit) became the third Yankees’ player to hit two home runs in a decisive game of a series.

Jason “G”iambi did so in the ’03 ALCS.

The great Yogi Berra did so in the most important game of all, in his case #7 World Series 1956.

I referenced Yogi’s great feat every time I met him and the modest Mr. Berra always talked of how “Johnnie Kucks pitched a great game for us/the Yankees that day.”

Astros and Dodgers Await Their LCS Opponents

In two straight seasons, the Houston Astros needed just win vs the L.A. Dodgers to win the N.L. West title.

Those two franchises, the Dodgers sans a World Series appearance or title since Orel Hershiser, Kirk Gibson and company led one in 1988 and the Astros, a team sans a World Series game win and now of course in the American League, won their division series two days ago and await their LCS opponents.

Houston which needed a Joe Niekro win in an extra game after losing the last 3 “reg” games at L.A. in ’80 and lost all 3 in L.A. in ’81 as the Dodgers won the strike marred season division series, will face the winner of tonight’s Yankees at Indians game.

When the ‘Stros won that game to win their first crown of any kind in that their 19th season, first baseman Dave Bergman made the clinching play, in an easy win.

Two days ago, similarly named Alex Bregman, hit a very important game tying home run in the top of the eighth inning.

The Dodgers will face the winner of the Cubs/Nationals series which “Chi” leads 2 games to 1. If it is L.A. vs Chi, as was the case last year, recall the winner of a “semi” between those two cities, is unbeaten in the five subsequent finals, including the Cubs’ 108 year drought ending, final win last season.

 

Thoughts

I would like to be in the Carnegie Delicatessen right now eating a pastrami sandwich.

Would not it be nice to hear Ray Scott announce an NFL game?

I have a vague memory of Y.A. Title, who died at age 90, throwing a record tying 7 touchdown passes in a 1962 game.

The 18 inning game referenced on the telecast of the recent 13 inning game was played in 2014, an even year Giants’ title season not the odd year 2015.

Matt Vasgersian, who made that factual error, also called C.C. Sabathia’s 5 and one third inning, 3 runs yielded, pitching performance “BRILLIANT.”

He said it twice and I have to learn/adapt to not get upset by these things.

Would not that be nice?!!!

 

Ray, The Carnegie, and Y.A. are gone, while Vasgersian gets what will likely be a highly rated (quantity) telecast of the decisive 5th between the Yankees and Indians.

Terry Francona And Other Notes

Before last night’s game Cleveland (Indians) manager Terry Francona hoped or would have hoped, in the unlikely event he knew, the incredible fact 12 of his 13 post-season series have manifested in either his team (8 times) or the opposing team (4 times), win at least three straight games within the series.

Now after the Yankees (1-0) win forced a Monday 4th game (10 years apart “Cleve” div’d out the Yankees clinching on a Monday, doing so 10 years ago in game 4, as a nice road underdog in Joe Torre’s last tilt as Yankees manager and in ’97, then at home, winning a decisive 5th game) Francona, whose Indians dissipated a (3-1) World Series lead to the Cubs last season, extending their title drought to 68 years, can only hope there is no 3 game win/loss skein within this series.

Elsewhere baseball gets 4 games today as Boston overcame a (3-0) deficit and ripped Houston. Their 4th game is at 1, Cubs hosting Wash in a (1-1) series starts around 4:00, the Indians/Yankees commences around 7:00 while top ranked L.A. (Dodgers) takes its (2-0) series lead to Arizona in a 10 P.M. (all the times cited are Eastern) game.

For the record, en route to World Series wins with the Boston Red Sox, the first in 2004, ended an 86 year title drought, the Francona managed team won (3-0 in both div series, each time vs the Angels also in ’07 and swept both the St. Louis Cardinals (’04) and Colorado Rockies (’07) in World Series play.

Last season, the Francona managed Indians swept the Red Sox in the “quarters/div series before going up (3-0) vs the Blue Jays, en route to a 5 game ALCS triumph.

Speaking of the ALCS, Francona’s Red Sox staged two highly improbable comebacks in that round en route to the ’04 and ’07 crowns. First was their still unprecedented, in baseball or basketball, comeback from a (3-0) series deficit to beat the Yankees in ’04 and then down (3-1) they overcame the Indians.

As defending champions, Francona’s Red Sox were swept out of the “div” series by the eventual ’05 champion Chicago White Sox, the latter ended an 88 year title drought that season.

When Boston clinched their aforementioned first crown in 86 years, they did so with the St. Louis player Edgar Renteria making the last out. The next season Edgar made the last out as a Red Sox player, to complete the Chi Sox sweep.

Renteria also delivered the World Series ending, decisive game 7 hit, vs you guessed it, the Indians, in the worst moment of their drought, to give the Florida Marlins the ’97 crown.

Need I say, Renteria surfaced with the 2010 S.F. Giants, contributing mightily as they ended a 56 year title drought. Before their ’10 title, the Giants had never won as the S.F. Giants, last winning, you guessed it, vs a heavily favored, 111 win, 1954 Cleveland Indians’ team.

Completing this, Francona’s Red Sox lost games (2-4) and in 7 games vs the Joe Maddon managed Tampa Bay Rays in the ’08 ALCS, one of three times a Maddon team ousted a Francona team in the ‘offs (the others were of course last year’s World Series the fourth time a 3 game loss skein beat Francona and the 4 vs 5 game in ’13, Maddon with the Cubs for the former and Rays for the latter. Terry was with Cleve in ’13) and in 3 straight, as the Angels got some revenge in the ’09 div series vs Boston.

The only time in the first 13 Francona managed Post-season series, there was not a 3 game win or loss skein was in ’08, also vs the Angels, when Francona’s team up (2-0), lost on a Sunday night at home, before winning in 4 on a Monday night.

 

Among the many heartbreaking or at least bad moments in the Indians’ title drought, none was worse than the Marlins clinching the ’97 W.S. as pictured above.

Mr. Renteria and all that/he entails drove in the winning run in one of only two World Series in which Bob Costas was the lone network television, “lead” broadcaster.