Red Sox

McAdam: Look past Molina for catcher help

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McAdam: Look past Molina for catcher help

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

Bengie Molina isn't the answer for the Red Sox.

Maybe the Sox ownership will loosen the purse strings and green-light the signing of Molina. Then what?

Molina has been in retirement since last November, when the World Series ended. He didn't take part in spring training this year, and even if he's been keeping himself active -- hitting in a cage, catching bullpen sessions -- it's likely he would need almost a monthat the minimum to round into Major League playing shape. By then, it would be nearly mid-June and more than a third of the season will be over.

If the Sox are looking for more offense from the catching position -- they've gotten almost nothing from the duo of Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to date -- it's worth noting that Molina hit a whopping .249 in 118 games split between the Giants and Yankees.

That represents an upgrade over the two catchers currently on the Red Sox roster, but it's not about to kick-start the entire lineup.

If the Red Sox are looking for someone to better call games and handle pitchers, it will take time for Molina to familiarize himself with the current staff. And other than the 57 games over the final 2 12 months of last season, Molina last regularly caught in the American League five years ago, meaning he'll need time to acclimate himself to A.L. personnel.

One area which definitely needs improving behind the plate for the Red Sox is throwing. Combined, Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek have thrown out just eight would-be base-stealers all year. Last year, Molina gunned down 23-percent of baserunners -- an upgrade, to be sure, but not considered even league-average.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.