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  1. #2206
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    Under new rule, Dodgers host Game 7
    November 1, 2017

    LOS ANGELES (AP) All you fans who hated the rule that linked the All-Star Game to home-field advantage in the World Series, guess what?

    This is your year.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to host the Houston Astros in Game 7 on Wednesday night, thanks to a change that went into effect this season.

    Now, teams earn the right: Los Angeles posted the most wins in the majors, so the all-or-nothing matchup is at Dodger Stadium.

    ''The home-field advantage, having the last at-bat, it's definitely huge. Especially in this Series, you see how many times it's gone back and forth, so to be able to have that last at-bat is huge,'' Dodgers star Justin Turner said.

    No more giving home field to the league that wins the All-Star Game. This summer, in fact, the AL won 2-1 at Miami on Robinson Cano's home run in the 10th inning - under the old rules, this Game 7 would've been at Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros.

    It was a concept that drove many fans crazy. Any method would be better, they argued - alternating sites like the old days, best interleague record, coin flip, anything.

    But that's the way it had been since a 2002 fiasco in Milwaukee when the AL and NL both ran out of pitchers after 11 innings and the game was declared a 7-7 tie.

    In that span, the American League went 11-3 in All-Star play. The edge and the ability to use the designated hitter helped a little, maybe - of those 11 times they had home field, AL clubs won six titles.

    Before this season, that provision was scrapped. As part of the new labor deal between owners and players, World Series home field goes to the team that wins the most games in the regular season.

    The Dodgers won 104, including a major league-high 57 at home, and those victories added up to a final game at their place. Houston won 101, and matched Cleveland for the most road wins with 53.

    ''We feed off the crowd, for sure. Especially at home,'' Los Angeles leadoff man Chris Taylor said. ''We feel we have a huge home-field advantage.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #2207
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    A classic or a rout? Anything is possible
    November 1, 2017

    Game 7 of the World Series.

    It's a chance to make history - whether you're a star like Madison Bumgarner or a role player like Sandy Amoros.

    The Dodgers and Astros will play Wednesday night on the biggest stage baseball has to offer, and in a one-game, winner-take-all scenario, just about anything is possible. This series has featured both home run binges and pitching duels, blown leads and surprising saves.

    ''I don't anybody here is shocked that it's going to Game 7,'' Houston ace Justin Verlander said after Tuesday night's 3-1 loss at Dodger Stadium.

    Here's a look back at Game 7 of the World Series, through the years:

    THE CLASSICS

    These games need no introduction. One name is often enough.

    Bill Mazeroski. Jack Morris. Luis Gonzalez.

    In 1960, Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 with a homer that gave Pittsburgh a 10-9 win over the New York Yankees. That slugfest was a wild one, with 10 runs scored in the final two innings.

    The 1991 finale between Minnesota and Atlanta at the Metrodome was tense for different reasons. Morris pitched all 10 innings for the Twins, who finally won 1-0 on Gene Larkin's bases-loaded single .

    Gonzalez's RBI single in 2001 capped a two-run, ninth-inning rally by Arizona against Mariano Rivera and the Yankees. The Diamondbacks won 3-2, denying New York a fourth straight championship.

    Nearly a century ago, in 1924, Washington rallied from a two-run deficit in the eighth and eventually beat the New York Giants 4-3 in 12, with Walter Johnson pitching the final four innings in relief.

    Amoros made his mark as a defensive sub in 1955, running down Yogi Berra's drive in left field to halt a sixth-inning rally by the Yankees. Brooklyn held on for a 2-0 victory and finally won its first crown.

    Cleveland hasn't won a World Series since 1948 but came agonizingly close in 1997 and 2016, losing Game 7 in extra innings both years. Edgar Renteria's 11th-inning hit won the '97 Series for Florida, and the Chicago Cubs outlasted the Indians last year, winning 8-7 in 10 to take their first title since 1908.

    THE ROUTS

    Sometimes, Game 7 turns into a blowout. Detroit fans threw things at Joe Medwick of the Cardinals in 1934, as St. Louis was on its way to an 11-0 win over the Tigers. In 1985, the Cardinals were on the other end of an 11-0 drubbing, and this time they were the ones venting their frustration against the Royals. A missed call had gone Kansas City's way near the end of Game 6, and St. Louis fell apart in Game 7. Manager Whitey Herzog and pitcher Joaquin Andujar were ejected.

    OVERSHADOWED

    Sometimes, the finale feels anticlimactic compared to what happened in Game 6. The 1975 World Series is remembered for Carlton Fisk's game-winning homer for Boston that forced Game 7 - even though that last game was pretty special in its own right. Cincinnati beat the Red Sox 4-3 in Game 7, with Joe Morgan driving in the winning run in the top of the ninth.

    After winning Game 6 on Bill Buckner's error in 1986, the New York Mets made the most of their reprieve, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to beat Boston 8-5 in Game 7. In 2011, the Cardinals were down to their last strike in the ninth and 10th innings of Game 6. But they won that one, and Game 7 - a 6-2 St. Louis victory - wasn't nearly as memorable.

    THE STANDOUTS

    Only one player has homered twice in Game 7 of the World Series. That was Berra in 1956, when the Yankees beat Brooklyn 9-0. Four players have had four hits - Max Carey (1925), Ripper Collins (1934), Willie Stargell (1979) and George Brett (1985). Their teams all won.

    The most strikeouts for a pitcher in Game 7 is 10, by Hal Newhouser (1945), Sandy Koufax (1965), Bob Gibson (1967) and Roger Clemens (2001). Koufax's gem - a 2-0 shutout of Minnesota - was the last time the Dodgers played in Game 7. Only two pitchers have thrown shutouts in Game 7 since then - Bret Saberhagen in '85 and Morris in '91.

    FALLING SHORT

    A World Series that ends on a hit will be remembered for a while, but sometimes the final out is what goes down in history. In 1926, Babe Ruth tried to steal second base for the Yankees in the ninth inning of Game 7. He was caught for the final out in the Cardinals' 3-2 win.

    In 1962, the Yankees were the team trying to hold on against San Francisco. The Giants had runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth when Willie McCovey lined out to second base to end it. New York won 1-0.

    The Giants were on the other side of a finish like that in 2014. With San Francisco up 3-2, Kansas City's Alex Gordon lined a single and went all the way around to third on an error by outfielder Gregor Blanco. But Gordon was stranded when Salvador Perez fouled out to third against Bumgarner, who completed a remarkable five-inning save.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #2208
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    Game 7 Betting Notes
    November 1, 2017

    Betting Odds

    Moneyline: Dodgers -155, Astros +145
    Runline: Dodgers +130, Astros -150
    Total: 7 (Under -115)

    2017 World Series Results

    Game 1 – Dodgers 3, Astros 1 (Under 7)
    Game 2 – Astros 7, Dodgers 6 (Over 7 )
    Game 3 – Astros 5, Dodgers 3 (Push 8)
    Game 4 – Dodgers 6, Astros 2 (Under 8 )
    Game 5 – Astros 13, Dodgers 12 (Over 7)
    Game 6 – Dodgers 3, Astros 1 (Under 7 )

    Game 7 Notes

    For the third time in the last four seasons, the World Series will head to a seventh game. In 2014, the Giants knocked off the Royals in Kansas City, 3-2 as +130 underdogs, while the Cubs held off the Indians in extra innings in 2016 to grab the title.

    The Dodgers last played in a Game 7 of the postseason back in the 1988 NLCS, beating the Mets, 4-3. That same year was the last time Los Angeles won the World Series, as the previous Game 7 in the Fall Classic for the Dodgers came in 1965 against Minnesota, which they won.

    The Astros are seeking their first world championship, while playing a Game 7 for the second straight round. Houston outlasted New York in the ALCS, cruising to a 4-0 victory over the Yankees to claim the AL pennant. The only other time the Astros played in a Game 7 was back in the 2004 NLCS, losing to the Cardinals.

    The last time the home team won the World Series came in 2011 when the Cardinals staved off the Rangers, 6-2 at Busch Stadium. That was the final victory in a streak of eight consecutive wins by the home team in Game 7 of the World Series prior to San Francisco’s Game 7 triumph in 2014.

    Pitching Notes

    Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA) heads to the mound for the Dodgers, as the right-hander lasted only 1.2 innings in a 5-3 defeat at Houston in Game 3. Darvish allowed four earned runs and six hits, stopping a three-game winning streak for the former Rangers’ hurler. Darvish will be making his first home postseason start after his first three outings came away from Chavez Ravine. In three starts against Houston this season, Darvish is 1-2, while allowing eight earned runs in 13.2 innings.

    Lance McCullers, Jr. (7-4, 4.25 ERA) beat Darvish in Game 3 of the World Series by scattering three earned runs and four hits in 5.1 innings. The Astros’ right-hander lost in his only road playoff start against the Yankees in the ALCS, in spite of giving up two hits and one earned run in six innings of a 6-4 defeat. The Astros are 1-5 in McCullers’ last six road starts after winning six of his first eight outings away from Minute Maid Park.
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    WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1

    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

    HOU at LAD 08:00 PM

    HOU +140 *****

    O 7.5 *****
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #2210
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    Astros win 1st World Series crown, top Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7
    November 1, 2017

    LOS ANGELES (AP) From laughingstock to lift off.

    George Springer and the Houston Astros rocketed to the top of the baseball galaxy Wednesday night, winning the first World Series championship in franchise history by romping past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7.

    Playing for a city still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, and wearing an H Strong logo on their jerseys, the Astros brought home the prize that had eluded them since they started out in 1962 as the Colt .45s.

    ''I always believed that we could make it,'' All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve said. ''We did this for them.''

    For a Series that was shaping up as an October classic, Game 7 quickly became a November clunker as Houston scored five runs in the first two innings off an ineffective Yu Darvish. Hardly the excitement fans felt during the Cubs' 10-inning thriller in Cleveland last fall.

    Well, except for everyone wearing bright orange.

    ''We're coming home a champion, Houston,'' Springer said after accepting the World Series MVP trophy named this year after Willie Mays for the first time.

    Altuve, one of four carry-overs from a club that lost an embarrassing 111 times in 2013 after switching from the NL to the AL, and this collection of young stars silenced Dodger Stadium from the get-go.

    Normally a starter, Charlie Morton finished up with four stellar innings of relief for the win.

    ''We held down a really tough lineup,'' Morton said. ''For my teammates, for the city of Houston, it's just unbelievable.''

    Springer led off the evening with a double against Darvish, and soon it was 2-0.

    Springer hit his fifth homer - tying the Series mark set by Reggie Jackson and matched by Chase Utley - when he connected for a record fourth game in a row, making it 5-0 in the second.

    That was plenty for Houston manager A.J. Hinch. He pulled starter Lance McCullers Jr. soon after the curveballer crazily plunked his fourth batter of the game, and began a bullpen parade of four relievers that kept the lead as the Astros overcame a shaky postseason bullpen .

    ''I knew yesterday I didn't have much,'' McCullers said. ''I knew I didn't have much to give other than to gut it out as long as I could.''

    Forever known for their space-age Astrodome, outlandish rainbow jerseys and a handful of heartbreaking playoff losses, these Astros will be remembered as champions, finally, in their 56th season.

    The club that wears a star on its hat also filled out the Texas trophy case. Teams from the Lone Star State had won most every major crown - Super Bowl, NBA and NHL titles, championships in college football, and men's and women's hoops - except the World Series.

    Built on the skills of homegrown All-Stars Carlos Correa, Dallas Keuchel and more, and boosted by the slick trade for Justin Verlander, general manager Jeff Luhnow completed the ascent that some predicted.

    Famously, now, there was the Sports Illustrated cover in 2014 - after Houston had lost more than 100 games for three straight years - that proclaimed: ''Your 2017 World Series Champs'' and featured a picture of Springer in a bright Astros jersey.

    Houston won 101 times this year to take the AL West, then won Games 6 and 7 at home in the AL Championship Series. The Astros joined the 1985 Royals as the only clubs to win a pair of Game 7s in the same year.

    For the Dodgers, the quest to win a Series for the first time since 1988 fell short. They led the majors with 104 wins and a $240 million payroll, yet it didn't pay off for part-owner Magic Johnson or manager Dave Roberts.

    Longtime ace Clayton Kershaw provided four shutout innings of relief for Los Angeles, but it was too late. What the Dodgers really needed was a better starter than Darvish, someone more like the lefty who tossed out a ceremonial first ball: the great Sandy Koufax.

    After Springer lined a leadoff double, Alex Bregman hit a bouncer that first baseman Cody Bellinger threw past Darvish for an error, allowing a run to score. Bregman aggressively stole third and scored on Altuve's grounder, and it was 2-0 after eight pitches.

    A double by Marwin Gonzalez helped set up perhaps McCullers' biggest contribution, a slow grounder for his first pro RBI. Springer followed with a no-doubt, two-run drive into the left-center field bleachers.

    That was the Series-most 25th homer in a Major League Baseball season that set a record for home runs. It was easily enough for the Astros to offset pinch-hitter Andre Ethier's RBI single in the Los Angeles sixth.

    Only once have the Dodgers clinched a crown at home, that coming in 1963 when Koufax outpitched Yankees star Whitey Ford to finish a sweep. They've never won Game 7 of the Fall Classic at their own park, dating more than a century ago to their days on the streets of Brooklyn as the Trolley Dodgers.

    As pockets of Houston fans got louder and louder in the later innings, the crowd at Dodger Stadium was left to repeat the sad, but hopeful cry that used to echo in Brooklyn: Wait till next year.

    Just 106 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  6. #2211
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    Column: A dud of a Game 7 ruins a classic World Series
    November 2, 2017

    What a letdown.

    After six stellar games, this World Series finally ran out of magic.

    Not to take anything away from the Houston Astros, who claimed the first Series title in franchise history with a 5-1 snoozer over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.

    For the eyes of Texas, this was a thing of beauty - especially considering where this team was just four short years ago, wrapping up the last of three straight 100-loss seasons while in the midst of a massive reconstruction.

    Now, they'll go down as a virtual textbook on how to tear down a franchise for the purpose of building it up again, an especially poignant championship for their hurricane-ravaged city.

    But the final contest of the baseball season was a total bomb.

    Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was especially awful.

    Again.

    The right-hander acquired by the Dodgers at the trade deadline, supposedly the final piece needed to return a championship to baseball's biggest-spending team, didn't even make it through the second inning for the second time in the series.

    Darvish surrendered five runs (four earned) in 1 2-3 innings, joining a very small hall of infamy. Back in 1960, Art Ditmar became the first pitcher to start a pair World Series games and not make it to the third inning in either one of them.

    Now, he's got company.

    Darvish didn't look much more effective than 91-year-old Don Newcombe or 81-year-old Sandy Koufax, who threw out the ceremonial first pitches. George Springer led off the game with a double and trotted home when Cody Bellinger ventured too far to his right to field Alex Bregman's grounder, a play that wouldn't been much easier for second baseman Logan Forsythe.

    Bellinger had to wheel around and make an awkward left-handed throw, which sailed wide of Darvish covering the bag. Bregman went to second on the error, swiped third when Darvish didn't hold him close enough, and wound up scoring on Jose Altuve's groundout.

    Houston finished off the battered Dodgers starter in the second. Brian McCann led off with a walk, Marwin Gonzalez doubled and Lance McCullers Jr.'s RBI grounder made it 3-0. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has Brandon Morrow throwing in the bullpen, but hoped to get one more out from Darvish.

    Apparently, he overlooked who was coming to the plate.

    It was that guy Springer again, launching a two-run shot deep into the seats in left-center field . Darvish screamed in anguish on the mound almost as soon as the bat struck the ball. It was Springer's record-tying fifth homer of the Series, and just like that it was 5-0 Astros.

    They could've handed out the trophy right then and there.

    Roberts will have to live all winter second-guessing himself for trotting Darvish to the hill for a second time, after he showed a total lack of command - especially with his slider - in Game 3. Whether it was nerves or just a sudden loss of form, it was clear that Darvish was the weak link in this Dodgers super team, which won 104 games during the regular season and romped through its first two playoff series, winning eight of nine game and knocking off the defending Series champion Chicago Cubs.

    Roberts had Clayton Kershaw, the Game 5 starter, ready to go in the third inning. The left-hander threw four scoreless innings to at least provide the Dodgers with a chance for a comeback that never came.

    What if Kershaw had started this game and turned in a similar performance?

    Chances are, it would have been the classic that everyone expected, everyone deserved, after the first six games had this series poised to go down as one of the greatest in baseball history. Two extra-inning thrillers. Three other nail-biting games decided by two runs. Another that was 1-1 going to the ninth before the Dodgers put up a five-spot. Not a mention all those long balls, a record 23 to appropriately cap off the Year of the Homer.

    While Roberts stuck with his rotation in Game 7 and paid a huge price, A.J. Hinch made all the right moves in the Houston dugout. He would've been a worthy choice for Series MVP if they gave the award to a manager, deftly managing a suspect bullpen by largely ignoring ineffective closer Ken Giles.

    Brad Peacock, normally a starter, pitched 3 2-3 hitless innings to close out Game 3. Charlie Morton, the Game 4 starter, came out of the bullpen for the clincher and worked the final four innings for an unorthodox win, allowing just two and the lone Dodgers run, nothing at all over the final three frames.

    It was a brilliant job of managing.

    Just a dud of a game.

    What a shame.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  7. #2212
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    Dejected Dodgers must wait another year
    November 2, 2017

    LOS ANGELES (AP) The Latest on reaction in Los Angeles to the Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series (all times local):

    9 p.m.

    Los Angeles Dodgers fans are feeling the wrong kind of blue.

    Ready to paint the town in the team colors awaiting their first World Series victory in 29 years Wednesday, the people of LA were stuck singing a sad song after a 5-1 loss in Game 7 to the Houston Astros.

    Now, the city knows it will be at least 30 years between titles for its team.

    Fans did their best to stay optimistic during the game but the Dodgers made it hard, falling behind 5-0 in the opening innings.

    ''I smell a comeback!'' one person shouted at a downtown LA sports bar during the fifth inning.

    But the comeback never came.

    Seventy-one-year-old Joanne Lopez-Rojas, who had the Dodgers logo painted on her cheek, says she's going to ''cry and stop on the way home and have a drink.''

    ---

    4 p.m.

    When your team hasn't been in a World Series in 29 years, it can begin to feel like watching them play in one is a once-in-a- lifetime experience.

    That's one reason warehouse foreman Gilbert Camacho says he paid $2,400 for a pair of $240 tickets to last week's second game of the 2017 World Series.

    His Los Angeles Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros 7-6 but he says the chance to see the game with his 16-year-old daughter, who wasn't alive the last time the Dodgers were in a World Series, was worth it.

    Public relations professional Ross Goldberg flew his 22-year-old son in from the East Coast for the series.

    Now, fans say, the only thing better than seeing a game would be if their team wins this series.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  8. #2213
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    George Springer wins World Series MVP
    November 2, 2017

    LOS ANGELES (AP) George Springer hit so many clutch home runs, he was a clear pick for World Series MVP.

    He often was the Most Vocal Person, too - and that might be the most remarkable part of his story.

    The Houston leadoff man hammered his way to the award, homering and doubling Wednesday night to boost the Astros to their first championship with a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7.

    He launched a Series record-tying five homers, including shots in each of the final four games, and celebrated those Springer Dingers by hollering around the bases.

    Many years ago, that type of trip would've been hard to believe. Impossible, really.

    As a kid, Springer stuttered so severely that he frequently fell silent, unless he was around his family or close friends. Over time, he's improved so much that he graciously grants interviews, even on national television, and never seems to shy away from the spotlight. He even wore a live mic in center field during the All-Star Game in July.

    Watch closely and you can see Springer, just for a moment, still begins to stumble over words sometimes. So he will calmly slow himself down, or pause for a second, before gathering himself and continuing on eloquently.

    At 28, the All-Star center fielder has taken every chance he's gotten this postseason to talk about Camp SAY - that's the Stuttering Association for the Young.

    Springer is a spokesman for the two-week summer camp that benefits kids and teens who stutter. He also runs a charity bowling event, raising money to help people attend the program.

    ''I hope there's somebody somewhere out there that is impacted and can learn to just go be who you are and not let any stage or any place stop you,'' he said last week.

    On baseball's big stage, the Dodgers couldn't stop him.

    Springer tied Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009) for the most home runs in a Series. The UConn product became the first hitter to homer four games in a row during a single Series, and also set the mark with eight extra-base hits.

    ''This is a dream come true,'' he said.

    He bounced back fast from a tough start, when he struck out all four at-bats in the opener, extending his slump to 3 for 30. He looked lost at the plate facing Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but manager A.J. Hinch firmly said Springer would stay atop the lineup.

    Good move. Springer went 11 for 25 the rest of the way.

    He hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the 11th inning of a Game 2 win at Dodger Stadium. He doubled during a victory in Game 3, and homered again in a Game 4 loss.

    He connected for a huge homer in Game 5, moments after an ill-advised dive for a sinking liner that skipped past him. He later drew a two-out walk in the 10th that set up the winning run at Minute Maid Park.

    Springer hit a solo home run in Game 6 that put the Astros ahead in a game they eventually lost 3-1.

    His final Series line: a .379 average, seven RBIs and a 1.000 slugging percentage.

    Springer rallied from a rugged showing in the AL Championship Series, when he batted just .115 (3 for 26) without an extra-base hit or RBI in seven games against the Yankees.

    That came after his fourth and most productive season in the majors, when he set career highs by hitting .283 with 34 home runs and 85 RBIs.

    His production follows his pedigree.

    Drafted 11th overall by the Astros out of Connecticut in 2011, George Chelston Springer III comes from a family of athletes. His dad pitched in the Little League World Series, his mom was an accomplished gymnast, and his two sisters played softball in college.

    In fact, Springer wears No. 4 to represent the four members of his immediate family. Engaged to be married in January, Springer won't be able to bump up to No. 5 - the Astros retired that jersey for Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Astros' Hinch helps deliver first title
    November 2, 2017

    LOS ANGELES (AP) About a dozen years ago, A.J. Hinch figured out his future in baseball wasn't behind the plate.

    ''When you don't hit a slider consistently, you're not going to play very long,'' he recalled Wednesday. ''And there's only so far personality can take you as a backup catcher.''

    Charisma, however, is nearly everything in an era when many dugout decisions are delegated to front-office administrators analyzing stacks of statistics. The Astros manager motivated his players, soothed them and charmed them to a runaway title in the AL West and then to the first World Series championship in Houston's 56-season history. The Astros capped the season with a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

    ''I think A.J. is going to be the manager that's going to be here when we win the World Series,'' general manager Jeff Luhnow said on the day Hinch was hired in September 2014.

    He is Houston's 18th manager in a line that began with Harry Craft, included personalities such as Harry Walker and Leo Durocher, manager of the year winners Hal Lanier and Larry Dierker, and Phil Garner, who led the Astros to their first pennant in 2005. The very model of a modern dugout major general, he is the first to earn a Series ring for Space City.

    ''You have to combine what you see with what you know,'' Hinch said. ''We can go in with all the information that we want. There is an element of paying attention to what your players are doing and how they're playing and what kind of version are they? Is it a good version of them, or are they struggling mentally, physically? You have to balance it all out and blend it.''

    Now 43, Hinch took an unusual path to the big leagues.

    Drafted as a high school senior by the Chicago White Sox in the second round in 1992, he elected to attend Stanford. Selected three years later by the Minnesota Twins in the third round, the psychology major decided to stay in school and get his bachelor's degree.

    He finally signed when picked by the Oakland Athletics in the third round in 1996. After earning a bronze medal with the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, Hinch made it the major leagues two years later and played six seasons that included time with Kansas City (2001-02), Detroit (2003) and Philadelphia (2004).

    He hit .213 with 32 homers and 112 RBIs - not in a season but in his big league career - and stopped playing at age 31 after spending 2005 with the Phillies' Triple-A team at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was hired that November as manager of minor league operations for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Promoted to director of player development, Hinch was a week shy of his 35th birthday when he replaced Bob Melvin in Arizona and became the majors' youngest manager.

    ''He brings unique leadership and perspective to the job,'' then-general manager Josh Byrnes said. ''We're not here to reinvent the wheel, but to change the nature of the job a little bit. ... A.J.'s a leader. He connects with people. He gets things done.''

    Hinch wasn't sure his psychology degree would be a dugout asset.

    ''I think it's more about having a rough major league career might help me more relate to these guys that go through the mental anguish of the failure of our game,'' he said. ''My job is to get the most out of guys, and a lot of times my job is sort of the emotional psychological support that it takes to get the most out of these guys. So whatever I learned or whatever I've adapted to over the years in the game and through my schooling, it gets tested every day, I tell you.''

    Fired along with Byrnes just before the All-Star break in 2010, Hinch spent four years as San Diego's vice president of professional scouting. He was 40 when the Astros hired him.

    ''So I feel old and experienced,'' he said.

    He took over a team that went 70-92 and led it to a wild-card berth and its first postseason appearance in a decade in 2015. He melded the young stars with veterans seemingly seamlessly, a combination that led Houston to 101 wins this season, one shy of the team record, a major league-high 21-game division lead and a pair of Game 7 wins in the postseason.

    After star slugger George Springer went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts in the opener Hinch called him ''an incredible player'' and said ''I don't really ride the roller coaster with players.''

    ''You have to believe in what they can do, not what they're doing,'' Hinch said. ''If you respond to every bad game or tough game, you'll bounce these guys around and ruin their confidence in a heartbeat. This is one of our best players. And there's no need to panic over a bad night against Clayton Kershaw.''

    Springer went on to tie the World Series record of five home runs and set the mark for extra-base hits with eight. He was named Series MVP.

    ''For him to have my back, it means the world to me. And I'll always have his back,'' Springer said. ''And that just shows who he is.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  10. #2215
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    Dodgers' title drought reaches 30 years
    November 2, 2017

    LOS ANGELES (AP) Even Clayton Kershaw couldn't save the Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series.

    The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner tossed four scoreless innings of relief when starter Yu Darvish fell into a five-run hole after 1 2/3 innings Wednesday night.

    But the Dodgers' offense never put it together. Los Angeles mustered just six hits, hit into a double play and stranded 10 runners in a 5-1 loss to Houston that extended its championship drought to 30 years.

    It was a clunker of an ending for baseball's best team during the regular season.

    The Dodgers won 104 games, boasted an NL-leading six All-Stars and won the NL West for the fifth consecutive year. They won 43 of 50 games over a two-month stretch from June to early August, the best 50-game run in the majors since the 1912 New York Giants.

    Their lead reached a whopping 21 games on Aug. 23, and they survived an 11-game September skid to coast into October.

    Boasting the majors' highest payroll of $240 million, Los Angeles rolled past Arizona in the NL Division Series and then knocked off the defending champion Cubs in six games in the NL Championship Series to reach their first World Series since 1988.

    The Dodgers and Astros dueled to a 3-all tie through six thrilling games, with Los Angeles rallying to force the first World Series Game 7 in Dodger Stadium history.

    But, a few miles from Hollywood, the script got flipped.

    Manager Dave Roberts, so quick with his hook all season, left Darvish in to face hot-hitting George Springer in the second. Springer blasted a two-run homer - his record-tying fifth of the Series - and Houston extended its lead to 5-0.

    Brandon Morrow got the last out of the inning before Kershaw came on in the third. The left-handed ace allowed two hits, struck out four and walked two, leaving fans to question why Roberts didn't start Kershaw on short rest in the first place. Or at least bring in Kershaw to face Springer in the second.

    Especially since Darvish only managed five outs in losing Game 3 at Houston, when he also lasted just 1 2/3 innings. He's the second pitcher in World Series history with less than two innings pitched in two starts.

    Darvish took the loss, giving up five runs - four earned - and three hits. He didn't record a strikeout and walked one.

    Acquired at the July trade deadline, Darvish was best known in the Series for being the target of a racist gesture by Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel.

    Kenley Jansen appeared earlier than usual, too. The closer, who tied for the NL lead with 41 saves, trotted out in the seventh to face the top of the Astros' order. He induced a flyout from Springer, struck out Alex Bregman and walked Jose Altuve, who stole second before Carlos Correa popped out to shortstop.

    Alex Wood, another starter working in relief, retired six consecutive batters over the eighth and ninth innings.

    Roberts made 32 pitching changes in the Series, breaking a record set by St. Louis' Tony La Russa in 2011.

    With Kershaw pumping his fists and yelling, ''Let's go!'' from the dugout, the Dodgers got two runners on with no outs to open the sixth.

    Andre Ethier, the longest-tenured Dodger, pushed across one run with a pinch-hit RBI single. That allowed the crowd of 54,124, stunned into silence early, a rare moment to cheer.

    But the Dodgers stranded two more runners and trailed 5-1.

    Their big bats were silenced, too. Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Turner, Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson were a combined 4 for 22. Bellinger whiffed three times, and his 17 strikeouts were a Series record. He also broke Yankees star Aaron Judge's freshly set record with 29 strikeouts this postseason.

    The Dodgers didn't manage a baserunner over the last three innings, keeping their title drought intact.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  11. #2216
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    The Latest: Roberts hears Lasorda's message loud and clear
    November 1, 2017

    LOS ANGELES (AP) The Latest on Game 7 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers (all times local):

    8:57 p.m.

    George Springer and the Houston Astros rocketed to the top of the baseball galaxy Wednesday night, winning the first World Series championship in franchise history by romping past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7.

    Playing for a city still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, and wearing an H Strong logo on their jerseys, the Astros brought home the prize that had eluded them since they started out in 1962 as the Colt .45s.

    Springer led off the evening with a double against Yu Darvish, and soon it was 2-0. Springer hit his fifth homer - tying the mark set by Reggie Jackson and matched by Chase Utley - when he connected for a record fourth game in a row, making it 5-0 in the second inning.

    Astros manager A.J. Hinch pulled starter Lance McCullers in the third soon after the curveballer crazily plunked his fourth batter of the game. Winner Charlie Morton pitched the final four innings.

    ---

    8:45 p.m.

    The Houston Astros are three outs away from their first World Series title.

    Game 7 has been fairly quiet in the late innings, with both teams' pitching staffs finding much less trouble than their starters. The Dodgers mounted rallies in the fifth and sixth innings, but got only one run.

    Game 4 starter Charlie Morton cruised through the Dodgers' lineup in the seventh and eighth innings. Joc Pederson struck out leading off the eighth before Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes were retired on fly balls.

    Houston has only two singles since George Springer's two-run homer in the second inning, but the Astros are in command of Game 7.

    ---

    8:30 p.m.

    Closer Kenley Jansen was called on to face the top of the Astros' order in the seventh with the Dodgers trailing 5-1.

    George Springer flied out and Alex Bregman struck out before Jose Altuve walked and stole second. Jansen retired Carlos Correa on a popout to shortstop.

    The Dodgers again failed to muster any hits in the bottom of the inning. Against Charlie Morton, Justin Turner popped out to first, Cody Bellinger struck out for the third time, and Yasiel Puig grounded out to short.

    ---

    8:07 p.m.

    The Dodgers finally got a run in the sixth, closing to 5-1 on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Andre Ethier off Charlie Morton.

    Joc Pederson singled leading off and Logan Forsythe walked. Austin Barnes popped out, dropping Los Angeles to 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

    Ethier batted for Clayton Kershaw, who allowed two hits in four scoreless innings, and singled to right. But Chris Taylor struck out and Corey Seager hit a broken-bat groundout as Morton avoided the bat, leaving the Dodgers 1 for 13 RISP with 10 left on base.

    Kershaw allowed a leadoff single to Carlos Correa in the top half and, after a pair of intentional walks later in the inning, retired pinch-hitter Cameron Maybin on an inning-ending foulout.

    ---

    7:38 p.m.

    The Houston Astros have escaped another jam and kept their 5-0 lead intact as they close in on a Game 7 victory in the World Series.

    Brad Peacock retired six straight Dodgers in relief before issuing a one-out walk to Corey Seager in the fifth. Justin Turner then chased Peacock with a single, but Francisco Liriano got a grounder from Cody Bellinger before Chris Devenski got Yasiel Puig to line out.

    The Dodgers have stranded eight runners through five innings. The Astros have stranded only one.

    The Astros have only one hit since George Springer's second-inning homer, but runs aren't what they need.

    Clayton Kershaw has pitched three innings of one-hit relief for the Dodgers after Yu Darvish flopped in his second straight World Series start. Kershaw, working on two days' rest after struggling in Game 5, has struck out four Astros in the decider.

    ---

    7:10 p.m.

    Clayton Kershaw has tossed two scoreless innings, but the Dodgers still trail the Astros 5-0 through four innings of the World Series.

    Kershaw gave up a one-out single to Marwin Gonzalez and had a wild pitch before retiring the next two batters.

    The Dodgers' offense couldn't get anything going against Brad Peacock in the bottom of the inning.

    He retired the side, getting Logan Forsythe on a groundout to third, Austin Barnes on a pop up to third and Kershaw on a six-pitch swinging strikeout.

    ---

    6:54 p.m.

    Lance McCullers Jr. was chased in the third inning, making this the first Game 7 in which neither starting pitcher got three outs.

    Clayton Kershaw relieved to start the inning and retired the side in order, three days after he failed to hold a 4-0 lead in Game 5.

    McCullers allowed Corey Seager's leadoff single in the third and hit Justin Turner on a shoulder blade - McCullers' Series record fourth hit batter of the game.

    He struck out Cody Bellinger for the second time, and Brad Peacock came in and retired Yasiel Puig on a flyout and struck out Joc Pederson.

    Los Angeles put on three runners in the first and two each in the second and third, but went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and stranded six.

    ---

    6:24 p.m.

    The Houston Astros are off to a stellar start in Game 7 of the World Series after chasing Dodgers starter Yu Darvish.

    Houston took a 5-0 lead in the second inning with three more runs off Darvish, capped by George Springer's two-run homer. Lance McCullers Jr. also drove in a run with a groundout for the Astros, who are attempting to win their first championship in franchise history.

    Springer homered in his fourth consecutive World Series game, becoming the first player in big-league history to accomplish the feat in a single postseason.

    In the biggest start of his career, Darvish lasted only five outs - just as he did in Game 3. The Japanese right-hander is headed into unrestricted free agency after the worst World Series by a starting pitcher since 1960, when Art Ditmar lasted got just one out in each of his two starts for the Yankees against Pittsburgh.

    The Dodgers got two more runners on in the second against McCullers, but Chris Taylor lined out and Logan Forsythe was doubled up.

    ---

    5:52 p.m.

    Houston went ahead against Game 3 loser Yu Darvish after four pitches and took a 2-0 lead after eight.

    George Springer lined a flat slider just inside the left-field foul line for a leadoff double, tying Willie Stargell's record of seven extra-base hits in a World Series, set in 1979.

    Alex Bregman hit a grounder that first baseman Cody Bellinger gloved in front of second baseman Logan Forsythe. Needing to make an off-balance throw, Bellinger threw behind Darvish at first base, and the ball bounced into the Astros dugout as Springer scored.

    Bregman wound up at second on the error, advanced to third on Houston's second stolen base of the Series and came home on Jose Altuve's grounder to first.

    Yuli Gurriel was booed loudly again by Dodgers fans after his racist gesture at Darvish in Game 3, which led to a five-game suspension at the start of next season. Like Rich Hill the night before, Darvish stepped off the mound before Gurriel's opening plate appearance, allowing extra time for jeers. Gurriel hit an inning-ending flyout in a 13-pitch at-bat that raised Darvish's pitch count to 24.

    Chris Taylor doubled against Lance McCullers Jr. on a hop to the right-center wall leading off the bottom half and reached safely in all seven games. Corey Seager struck out, Justin Springer was hit by a pitch, Cody Bellinger struck out and Yasiel Puig was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.

    Joc Pederson fell behind 0-2 in the count and grounded to second on McCullers' 25th pitch.

    ---

    5:17 p.m.

    The Dodgers turned to pitching legends Don Newcombe and Sandy Koufax for ceremonial first pitches before Game 7.

    The right-handed Newcombe tossed the ball to Rick Monday, while lefty Koufax threw to Steve Garvey.

    The 91-year-old Newcombe hung onto the 81-year-old Koufax's arm as they walked onto the field. They stood midway between the mound and home plate to make their throws.

    Newcombe was a member of the franchise's 1955 World Series championship team. Koufax was World Series MVP in 1963 and 1965.

    Before the game, Newcombe was sitting in his usual seat near the Dodgers dugout and entertained a steady stream of well-wishers. Hall of Famer Dave Winfield stopped by, along with current Dodgers Kenley Jansen and Andre Ethier and actor Ken Jeong.

    ---

    5 p.m.

    Fernando Valenzuela is celebrating his 57th birthday at Dodger Stadium.

    He was National League Rookie of the Year in 1981, when the Dodgers won the World Series and he earned a Game 3 victory.

    Now a broadcaster for the team, Valenzuela had a 173-153 record and a 3.54 ERA in 17 seasons with the team.

    Fellow Dodgers broadcaster Pepe Yniguez sang ''Happy Birthday'' as Valenzuela made his way through the crowded press box before the game. He also received birthday greetings in Spanish and Japanese.

    ---

    4:55 p.m.

    Yasiel Puig got fired up for Game 7 by blasting ''Eye of the Tiger'' from ''Rocky III'' during his ride to Dodger Stadium.

    In a video posted to his Twitter feed, the Cuban outfielder sat in the front passenger seat yelling, sticking out his tongue and thrashing his head as the opening notes of ''Eye of the Tiger'' blared inside the SUV.

    ---

    4:15 p.m.

    Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle crafts a set list for his pre-game playing and it was a tip of the cap to the home team.

    During the Astros' batting practice, Ruehle played the Japanese folk song, ''Sukiyaki,'' in honor of Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish at the suggestion of Japanese media members.

    With the home team just one win away from their first World Series title since 1988, Ruehle played U2's ''One'' and ''One Is the Loneliest Number'' by Three Dog Night.

    The Dodgers took batting practice to recorded music selected by DJ Severe.

    ---

    2:19 p.m.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers' 3-1 win in World Series Game 6 drew an average of 23 million viewers on the three Fox outlets, down 4 percent from the 24 million for the Chicago Cubs' 9-3 win over Cleveland that forced Game 7 last year.

    Fox said Tuesday night's game averaged 22,229,000 on the main Fox network, 535,000 on Fox Deportes and 244,500 who streamed digitally on Fox Sports Go. Last year's Game 6 averaged 23.4 million on Fox, 425,000 on Fox Deportes and 151,000 on Fox Sports Go.

    This was the second-most-watched Game 6 since the New York Yankees' Series-ending 7-3 win over Philadelphia in 2009.

    ---

    1:55 p.m.

    Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda delivered a message loud and clear to current Dodgers manager Dave Roberts after the team forced a decisive Game 7 in the World Series.

    The 90-year-old who managed the Dodgers to their last Series title in 1988 told Roberts: ''You haven't won (expletive) unless you win tomorrow.''

    Roberts smiled when asked his reaction to Lasorda's bluntness.

    ''I've heard it all year, and I think that it's great,'' Roberts said Wednesday before Game 7. ''It's Tommy's words of encouragement. And yeah, I think for us, we want a championship and we're not done yet.''

    ---

    1:44 p.m.

    The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers are keeping their lineups intact for the deciding Game 7 of the World Series.

    Center fielder George Springer leads off Wednesday night for the Astros, followed by third baseman Alex Bregman, second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, catcher Brian McCann, left fielder Marwin Gonzalez and right fielder Josh Reddick. Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. starts.

    Center fielder Chris Taylor tops the Dodgers' lineup. He's followed by shortstop Corey Seager, third baseman Justin Turner, first baseman Cody Bellinger, right fielder Yasiel Puig, left fielder Joc Pederson, second baseman Logan Forsythe and catcher Austin Barnes. Right-hander Yu Darvish is on the mound.

    The Dodgers won 3-1 on Tuesday night to tie it up 3-all and force the first World Series Game 7 in Dodger Stadium history.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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