Entering Sunday night’s nationally broadcast game against the Giants, Matt Kemp last homered on September 24, also against the Giants. Before that? July 21 against the Nationals, the fateful day he injured his ankle on a play at home plate. Kemp, playing in just his third game of the 2014 season, only needed his first two at-bats against Giants starter Matt Cain to notch his first two dingers of the season.
In the second inning, Kemp blasted a 1-0 fastball to left center for a solo shot, putting the Dodgers up 1-0. In the fourth, Kemp drove an 0-1 fastball to right center for a two-run bomb, increasing the Dodgers’ lead to 4-0. He finished 2-for-3 on the night and the Dodgers held on for a 6-2 victory.
One game does not a comeback make, however. Nobody doubts Kemp’s ability to be productive with the bat and in the outfield; they do, however, question his ability to stay healthy over an entire season, a feat he hasn’t accomplished since losing the NL MVP race to Ryan Braun in 2011.
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.