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Peña power: Houston Astros take Game 1 of ALCS over Yankees, 4-2

Peña power: Houston Astros take Game 1 of ALCS over Yankees, 4-2
Jeremy Peña had two doubles and a home run against the Yankees. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After all the trash talk from both fan bases, media, and onlookers. After the Yankees had a rain delayed game five. After they had the game pushed back. After the Guardians had their hotel rooms taken away and had to split up. After the Yankees pulled out a win or go home victory. After less than 24 hours from them playing a game and having to travel to Houston. The Yankees played the Astros in game one of the ALCS. Game one was a doozy!

The Astros, behind a masterful pitching performance from Justin Verlander, topped the Yankees 4-2. In a game where every run except one was scored off home runs. In a game in which Verlander threw 103 pitches in six innings when his counterpart (Jameson Taillon) threw 67 pitches in four and a third innings. In a game in which Verlander had 11 of the 17 Yankee strikeouts, while the Astros only struck out twice. Pitching was at a premium. Verlander threw 53 pitches in the first couple innings. Once he settled down, the Yankees didn't stand a chance.

The scoring started with Yankees' center fielder Harrison Bader hitting a 411-foot solo home run in the top of the second inning off Verlander. Astros' catcher Martin Maldonado doubled to right to score Chas McCormick in the bottom of the second to answer and tie the game at 1. In the bottom of the sixth, Yuli Gurriel and McCormick both hit solo homers to make it 3-1 Astros. The very next inning, Astros' rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña hit a solo shot to make it 4-1 Astros. In the top of the eighth inning, Anthony Rizzo hit a solo shot to make it 4-2 Astros and that's where the scoring stopped.

Having homefield advantage in the ALCS courtesy of the best record in the AL this year, the Astros made the most of it by winning game one. They were allowed to rest after taking care of business by sweeping the Mariners. This allowed them to set up their pitching staff. The Yankees weren't as fortunate. They couldn't set up their staff because they couldn't beat Cleveland in timely fashion. Couple that with them spending up pitching in a five-game series and choosing to reschedule game five, they're at a disadvantage.

The Astros are in clear control over the Yankees this series. They have the better pitching staff, starters and bullpen. Their lineup is more evenly distributed when it comes to the offenses. If it isn't Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees aren't getting it done. This looks like it'll be a five-game series. Six if the Yankees get lucky. One down, three to go. "Job's not finished."-Kobe Bean Bryant.

Up next: The Astros play Game 2 against the Yankees on Thursday with Framber Valdez on the mound.

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These uniforms have to go. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Major League Baseball will consider going back to having players wear their team uniforms for the All-Star Game.

Club uniforms were used by the American League from 1933-2019 and by the National League from 1934-2019. When the game resumed in 2021 following the pandemic-related cancellation in 2020, MLB had started a uniform contract with Nike and Fanatics, and All-Stars were outfitted in specially designed league uniforms that drew criticism from traditionalists.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

This year's AL uniforms had a sandy base with red sleeves and lettering and the NL had a navy base with light blue sleeves and lettering.

“I’m aware of the sentiment on this issue,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday. "I think where my head is on it, it’s something we’re going to have a conversation about coming out of the All-Star Game. We've got a lot of uniform things going on. And, obviously, the conversations have to involve the players first and foremost but Nike, some of our partners. But I am aware of the sentiment, and I do know why people kind of like that tradition."

MLB and Nike were criticized for club uniforms this year and said in May that 2025 club outfits will have larger lettering on the back of jerseys and individual pant customization. Players complained this year that white pants worn by some teams are see-through enough to show tucked-in jersey tops.

Regional sports networks

Manfred said a national steaming package of local television broadcasts is a future possibility.

“I could see a situation where we grow into a 30-club model. It might start on the digital side, where you have 14 or 15 clubs, and, you start with a digital product there as your first alternative,” he said.

“I was in Sun Valley last week and I did the whole speed-dating thing with everybody who’s ever streamed anything. When you talk to people in the streaming business, they’re not really interested in buying the state of Wisconsin and two counties in Michigan," Manfred added. "They want to be able to stream quite frankly, all over the U.S. and Canada but more broadly internationally. So I think those conversations are a product of owners saying, holy cow, the RSN business is really deteriorating. We know the future’s going to be streaming. What we’re hearing from the streamers is they want a more national product, and we need to be responsive to what people want to buy.”

MLB took over production of Arizona and San Diego local television broadcasts last year following the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports’ Bally networks and said MLB will be available as an option for teams looking for new deals. He said Padres game are approaching 40,000 subscribers, which he called a good figure.

“Having said that, from a revenue perspective it is not generating what the RSNs did," Manfred said. "The RSNs were a great business. Lots of people paid for programing they didn’t necessarily want. And it’s hard to replicate that kind of revenue absent that kind of bundling concept.”

Offense

While offense is near half-century lows, it has picked up from early in the season.

“The decline in offense is something that we’re paying a lot of attention to and we’ll continue to monitor to make a decision as to whether we think we need to do something. You do hear a lot of chatter about the dominance of pitching in the game. That’s absolutely true.”

Birmingham

After the success of the June 20 game between San Francisco and St. Louis at Rickwood Field, Manfred said MLB will return to the ballpark in Birmingham, Alabama, but the “exact form” had not been determined.

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