Hiroki Kuroda was masterful in the Yankees’ home opener yesterday, but Phil Hughes wasn’t anywhere near as efficient this afternoon.
Hughes was chased early after the Angels touched him up for six runs on eight hits over just 3 1/3 innings. The big blows came courtesy of a two-run homer by Chris Iannetta in the top of the second inning and a three-run blast by Howie Kendrick in the fourth. Albert Pujols also mixed in an RBI double.
Hughes threw 52 out of 84 pitches for strikes while fanning six and walking a pair. David Phelps, who struck out four over 2 1/3 hitless innings in an extra-inning win over the Orioles on Tuesday, has taken over in relief and will try to keep the Yankees in this thing.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.
Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.
Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.
This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.
As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.