The Yankees have been so good recently that it’s actually news when they lose a game.
After winning 10 straight games, the Bombers were cut down 4-3 by the Braves last night. The Yankees had plenty of chances, especially early on against Tim Hudson, but went just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They also had two runners thrown out at the plate.
Hudson was shaky in the victory, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and five walks over five innings. Fortunately for the Braves, the bullpen came up big, as Chad Durbin, Jonny Venters, Eric O’Flaherty and Craig Kimbrel combined to give up just one hit over four innings of shutout relief. Jason Heyward drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth inning with a hard-hit single which deflected off Mark Teixeira’s left heel.
And so, the Yankees fell short of their first 11-game winning streak since 1985. Of course, that hasn’t stopped them from making the playoffs in 16 out of the last 17 seasons. The Yankees will enter play this afternoon at 41-26, two and a half games in front of the Orioles in the American League East.
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.