Jerry Hairston takes the blame for Pettitte losing his perfecto

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If a guy makes an error that costs his pitcher a perfect game, and the very next hitter laces a single into the outfield, my sense of it is that you can’t really dwell on the error, because, hey, the no-no and perfecto would have been gone a minute later anyway.  Then again, I don’t have to fill column inches in New York:

The ground ball didn’t appear to take any sort of bad hop, no matter
what the Yankee players were saying afterward. In truth it was the type
that Jerry Hairston could field without a bobble 100 times out of 100 under ordinary circumstances.

So maybe the importance of the moment got to him. Then again,
Hairston had saved the perfect game only an inning earlier with a
barehand play on a slow roller. In any case, when he missed Adam Jones’ grounder with two outs in the seventh inning, Hairston perhaps changed the course of history, and Andy Pettitte‘s karma as well.

There’s some sort of third order story like this coming out of every Yankees’ game.  We pay attention to the sensationalism surrounding A-Rod and all of that, but I think that this is the kind of scrutiny — 800 words devoted to someone’s relatively meaningless error — that people are really talking about when they talk about the pressure of New York.

This one story? No big deal. 160 of them? Man, that has to get old.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. named ALCS MVP

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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series after his club punched its ticket to the World Series on Thursday night against the Astros.

Coincidentally, the Astros’ Game 5 starter Justin Verlander was ALCS MVP last year en route to a championship.

Bradley went 0-for-3 with a walk in Thursday’s Game 5, but he hit a three-run double in Game 2, a grand slam in Game 3, and a go-ahead two-run home run in Game 4. That’s nine RBI and three extra-base hits across five games. He also drew four walks.

Though Bradley had a solid regular season, he was not near the top of the list most people would’ve expected to win ALCS MVP heading into the series. During the season, he hit .234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs, 59 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases in 535 plate appearances.