So, Yankee fans: Are you still happy you unloaded an aging, achy Brian McCann to the Astros this past winter? New York is getting limited production from Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine who, combined, come nowhere close to the $17 million McCann is making this year but you also saw McCann become a critical part of both wins by Houston over the Brinks Bombers at Yankee Stadium, the most recent a 5-1 victory on Friday night.
McCann: Dish reunion
(c) Associated Press
So, Astro fans: Are you still griping that the Astros gave up on Jason Castro, a former number one pick who handles pitchers well but came into Friday night with a .192 average up in Minnesota?
This deal has, so far, paid big dividends for Houston as McCann launched his sixth homer of the year - the key stroke in the Astros' fifth straight win. McCann is now batting .281 with an .860 OPS.
That homer came in the fourth against lefthander Jordan Montgomery to break open a scoreless tie after Carlos Correa and Marwin Gonzalez singled before him. McCann tucked that homer just inside the right field foul pole. Correa plated George Springer in the fifth to expand the lead.
Meanwhile, Houston starter Lance McCullers was firmly in control. The 23-year-old righty struck out seven and walked none while scattering four hits over six shutout frames. Will Harris and Luke Gregerson tossed scoreless innings before James Hoyt, with a five-run cushion, lost the shutout on an RBI single by Didi Gregorius.
The Astros have earned a series split with two games left and own baseball's best record at 25-11. It's also the best winning percentage in franchise history (.694) to this point of the season.
New York's Chase Headley got (ahem) chased in the seventh inning by home plate umpire Adrian Johnson after a heated dispute.
The weekend plans of the two teams are a little iffy as steady Saturday rains may douse Mike Fiers (1-1) from his 12:05 Central start for Houston against Luis Severino (2-2). If they can't get the game in, it may become a Sunday doubleheader - but wait! - the Sunday date is supposed to be on national television and the Yankees are booked for a fast getaway flight to Tampa after the game was supposed to end. There's also a scheduled Derek Jeter number retirement ceremony before the game so something may need to change at the last minute.
As hot as Houston is, I doubt they'd like to see any games lost to bad weather, particularly McCann who must be thoroughly loving this series so far. Oh, by the way, New Yawkers, you're still paying $5.5 million of McCann's salary this year and next. You may have got two promising prospects from the low minors in the trade but Houston is thinking World Series right now, just like Sports Illustrated said it would happen.
- Bob Hulsey