Coming into the season Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Matt Moore ranked 1-2-3 in some order on every prospect list, with each of them holding the top spot for at least one prominent ranking.
Harper got all the early hype, Trout has emerged as the best player in the American League … and Moore has mostly flown under the radar in Tampa Bay.
However, in a normal, non-Trout year Moore would be getting plenty of attention as a Rookie of the Year candidate while thriving at age 23. His overall numbers are solid with a 3.57 ERA in 24 starts, but Moore has been particularly outstanding since getting knocked around for eight runs by the A’s on May 6.
He’s made 18 starts since then and has the following numbers: 109 innings, 2.89 ERA, .217 opponents’ batting average, 110 strikeouts. And that includes a 1.64 ERA and 42/15 K/BB ratio in 44 innings during his last seven starts.
Moore’s control hasn’t been great, but he’s doing exactly what all the people who fell in love with him as a prospect thought he was capable of. It’s just that no one has really noticed because Mike Trout has been MIKE TROUT.
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.