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Hinch does his share, Judge shows class, a horse boner and more: The update for Oct. 23

If a starting pitcher on a pro baseball team wins 20 or more games in a season, then that pitcher is considered an ace, and deserving of a huge payday. However, a baseball team’s manager is not thought of in the same manner – financially – but can influence at least 20 games a year. Where is his paycheck?

Astros fans got to watch manager A.J. Hinch at work in the series wins against the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. There are other moves that affected dozens of games – like when the starting pitching staff was going through injuries after the All-Star break and the Astros still won games – but let’s concentrate on the Red Sox and Yankees.

Hinch brought in Justin Verlander to relieve against Boston. Verlander had never relieved in his professional career – or even after high school – and many thought Hinch had pushed the panic button too soon. And some said Verlander would be too tired to pitch in the next round. But it worked. Verlander was aces in both the Red Sox and Yankees games. Verlander would go on to win the MVP Award for the ALCS.

In Game Four against the Yankees, Hinch yanked Lance McCullers after giving up a home run to Aaron Judge. Some suggested that Hinch pushed the panic button too soon then, too. And sure enough, the Yankees pounded the relievers after that and won the game handily in New York.

So one move worked and one move didn’t.

Then, in the seventh and deciding game against New York, Hinch started Charlie Morton, who had been hit into submission in his previous start. Calls for Hinch’s head on social media were brutal, begging for McHugh and Keuchel in relief in at least the 3rd or 4th innings. But Morton was fabulous. And Morton was relieved by McCullers – who was an All-Star earlier this year until injuries caught up with him – and the Astros’ two hurlers shut out the Yankees to advance to the World Series in a Game Seven that was phenomenal (if you were an Astros fan).

Hinch did what he was paid to do – know his personnel and adjust accordingly. The Astros have a camaraderie and a feeling of unity that not many teams have. Except for Games 3-4-5 against the Yankees, Houston players were loose and having fun, which is a direct application of super glue from a manager. In other words, they passed their chemistry test.

The manager is with the team from the beginning and talks to the players in the dugout in between innings. It looks like Hinch was either lucky (there has to be some of that), or he knows his people because of relationships he has built and used them well. Either way or even with both ways, Hinch deserves a raise.

YANKEES SHOW CLASS IN HOUSTON – Unlike their fans, who threw beer on A.J. Hinch’s family in New York in Yankee Stadium, the Yankee players showed a lot of class against the Astros in their playoff series. The fans were so bad in New York, it was rumored that Hinch told the umpires he was going to take his team off of the field. (I saw that on the Internet but I did not se it reported by the Houston media.)

Specifically, I didn’t want to like Aaron Judge, because he was the person standing in the way of Jose Altuve receiving the American League MVP Award. But Judge had a good series off the field, as well as hitting homers and making outstanding catches in right field.

In Game One of the ALCS, Carlos Correa hit a long ball to right field that bounced off of a 12-year-old Houston fan’s glove in the front row of the outfield. It was ruled a home run. The kid said that Judge nodded at him, to let him know the kid did nothing wrong. The next day in the New York media, Judge was asked if the kid interfered. Judge said that the kid did not, and New York media pursued the question. Judge said he had just not gotten to the ball soon enough. I thought that response was classy enough.

But before the game, which was reported after the contest, Judge was asked who he would vote for MVP – himself or Altuve. Judge said Altuve.

I never saw Judge overreact nor be unsportsmanlike – even when I Game Seven he reached over the right field wall to catch a would-be homer from Yuli Gurriel. I enjoyed getting to know Judge when he was in Houston. I wish him and only him good luck against everyone he plays – except for one team.

RICK FLAIR SAYS IT ALL – Firing up the Astro fans before Game 7 against the Yankees. This should be old hat. I don’t know why, but I love this. Maybe because it angered the Yankees. Wooooo. 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL UPDATE – Calling all Big 12 officials and referees. TCU is up to No. 3 in the country, according to ESPN. They are the last hope for the Big 12 to get into the 2017 college football playoffs. Oklahoma won’t get there with its loss and close wins. Oklahoma State is in the same boat. I’m not saying you should do anything, but if you don’t do anything, the Big 12 will be shut out yet again from that final four.

MLB TO EXPAND? – Will MLB expand to two more cities? Pitching already is diluted. If they do, here is a story about what could happen.

MLB’S BEST UNIFORMS OVER THE YEARS – Who has had the best unis in baseball? I’ll give you a hint: No. 1 has a certain rainbow quality about it.

horse with eyes coveredHORSE TRAINER SUSPENDED – A trainer is suspended for giving a horse – we kid you not – Viagra.

CLASSICAL NOTES – Mahler, Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathetique, Movement No. 1. Something slow, emotional and beautiful, like watching the Yankees trudge onto their plane to go home instead of the World Series in LA.

QUOTE OF THE DAY – Run like millenials running from commitment. – some clever guy on Facebook I don’t know.

HOTTIE OF THE DAY:

Astros hottie in black jersey

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