It’s not clear why Cleveland gave Jose Lopez this long of a leash considering this is the third straight season in which he’s failed to crack a .700 OPS, but the Indians finally saw enough and designated the former All-Star for assignment.
Lopez hit just .249 with four homers and a .639 OPS in 66 games, including .192 in the second half. He’s still just 28 years old, but Lopez hasn’t been a productive regular since 2009 and hasn’t shown that he’s capable of being useful in a part-time role.
Cleveland cut Lopez in order to add an extra reliever in right-hander Frank Herrmann, who was called up from Triple-A.
Perhaps there are a few who still miss the slope of Tal’s Hill rising from center field, but George Springer isn’t one of them. He lassoed a 403-foot fly ball from Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of Game 6, reaching nearly to the top of the wall to prevent the Yankees from gaining on the Astros’ 3-0 lead.
According to Statcast, a fly ball with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH and a launch angle of 29 degrees lands for a home run 72% of the time. That wasn’t going to fly with the Astros, who were facing runners on first and second with one out and saw Justin Verlander‘s pitch count rapidly approaching 100.
It wasn’t long before the Yankees tried for another home run, however, and this one sailed far above the heads of all of the Astros’ outfielders. Aaron Judge lofted a 425-foot shot to left field in the eighth inning, destroying a first-pitch fastball from Brad Peacock and finally getting New York on the board.
The Yankees currently trail the Astros 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth.