Health and headaches down the American League stretch

Verlander pitched and won the clincher for the Astros in the AL West, but the league's stretch excitement and possible chaos aren't done yet . . .

Verlander pitched and won the clincher for the Astros in the AL West, but the league’s stretch excitement and possible chaos aren’t done yet . . .

Well, the Astros have gotten everything they wanted from Justin Verlander since dealing to bring him over from the incredible shrinking Tigers. Including, they dared to dream, the still-formidable righthander pitching and winning the American League West-clinching game, which he did Sunday in his first home start for his new club.

The streak is over, but wasn’t that a time?

Mike Minor (right) gets to brag that he finished off the Indians' American League record winning streak.

Mike Minor (right) gets to brag that he finished off the Indians’ American League record winning streak.

All good things must come to their finish, sooner or later. The Indians and their fans would have preferred the streak to finish later, of course, and likewise most of baseball and its lovers. But as the ancient folk song says, “Wasn’t that a time?”

“What they did over there was amazing,” said Royals manager Ned Yost, after his charges hung on for the 4-3 win that put an end to the Indians’ romp. “I mean, it’s utterly amazing. It’s just unfathomable for me that you can go three weeks without losing a game. I mean, it was a tremendous accomplishment.”

Saturday night in Cashman Field, a pitching duel wrecked by a bullpen implosion

Smoker, dealing in the fourth inning Saturday night.

Smoker, dealing in the fourth inning Saturday night.

The Las Vegas chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research, of which I am a member, decided to round up at Cashman Field Saturday night to watch the Las Vegas 51s (AAA farm of the Mets) host the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA farm of the Royals). The seats were in the club restaurant, up against the glass at the front over the stands.

Yordano Ventura, RIP: Maturity robbed

Talent to burn, burning inside, Ventura was killed before he could keep building his maturity.

Talent to burn, burning inside, Ventura was killed before he could keep building his maturity.

“The talent is all there, but between the ears there’s a circuit board off balance.” Thus spoke Adam Jones, Orioles outfielder, early last June, after Yordano Ventura—the Royals’ talented but combustible pitcher—decided to go to war against Manny Machado and finally provoked yet another brawl.

Aroldis who? The Cubs deal for Davis; the Royals say goodbye H-D-H

Davis, the last man standing on the mound when the Royals won the 2015 World Series . . . now gets a chance to return with the world champ Cubs . . .

Davis, the last man standing on the mound when the Royals won the 2015 World Series . . . now gets a chance to return with the world champ Cubs . . .

Once upon a time, Motown included a venerable songwriting and production trio, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland. Colloquially, they were known as HDH. Half a century later, the Royals had a late-game bullpen corps of Kelvim Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland. Also known colloquially as H-D-H.

Ass Ventura, when nature calls

They danced anything but divinely after Ass Ventura's pointless drilling of Manny Machado.

They danced anything but divinely after Ass Ventura’s pointless drilling of Manny Machado.

Certain recent whispers have had the Royals thinking the once-unthinkable and moving Yordano Ventura. Yahoo! Sports’s Jeff Passan cites a pair of unidentified executives saying the Royals have offered Ventura in trade talks over the past month. The issue isn’t Ventura’s arm or stuff, it’s his head and the five-year-old mind inside, a mind exposed further Tuesday in Baltimore.

Noah’s art

Syndergaard kept the Royals at bay again . . .

Syndergaard kept the Royals at bay again . . .

There was a little huffing and puffing from the Royals’ contingency suggesting that there might—underline that—be a little payback coming for Noah Syndergaard Tuesday afternoon. That’s all it proved to be. The huffing and puffing, that is. Before the game and during the Mets’ 2-0 win.

Syndergaard irked no few Royals when he opened Game Three of the World Series, the only game the Mets would win, with a high brushback against Royals leadoff pest Alcides Escobar, whose over-comfort at the plate and concurrent consistent crowding Syndergaard decided to cure early enough.

Gordon proves a Royal keeper

Alex Gordon, hitting the only real World Series mistake Mets closer Jeurys Familia threw, over the fence to tie Game One in the ninth . . .

Alex Gordon, hitting the only real World Series mistake Mets closer Jeurys Familia threw, over the fence to tie Game One in the ninth . . .

Recently, I replied to a correspondent by saying, among other things, that the number one concern for the world champion Royals this winter would probably be finding a way to keep Alex Gordon. And though it looked for a spell as though that might prove somewhere between difficult and impossible, the Royals found it.

Let the intrigues begin in earnest . . .

They barely have the streets swept clean following the Kansas City Royals’ World Series parade, and the off-season intrigues have begun in earnest. OK, a couple began when it barely began sinking in that the New York Mets had blown a Series they actually could have won, or when Don Mattingly left the Los Angeles Dodgers and became the Miami Marlins’ new manager. But let’s start looking:

Rios, who forgot how many outs there were when he caught this Game Four fly . . .

Rios, who forgot how many outs there were when he caught this Game Four fly . . .

WS Game Four: The tragicomedy of errors

There were no words . . .

There were no words . . .

Right now, and at least until Game Five gets underway Sunday night, it must absolutely suck to be Daniel Murphy, Yoenis Cespedes, and Terry Collins. Oh, to be back in Chicago, when Murphy was a hero of heroes, Cespedes’s inexplicable postseason disappearance could be covered, and Collins looked like someone in training to be a genius.