Looking back at the HBT writer predictions

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I know we have a few days of the season left, but I figure now would be as good a time as any to look back to April and see how the HBT folks here did at predicting the playoff teams this year.  We made or predictions on April 4.

D.J. got seven of the ten likely playoff teams. Drew got six. Aaron and I only five. Maybe Aaron and I should be writing nights and weekends and those two taking over the day shifts.

Also worth noting: Aaron’s pick of the Marlins as a wild card team is the most wince-worthy one there.  The Phillies are a big clunker too, as we all picked them to win the East.  None of us were high on Boston.

Enjoy and mock as necessary:

Craig
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Angels
AL Wild Card: Rays

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Diamondbacks
NL Wild Card: Braves
NL Wild Card: Brewers

Aaron
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Angels
AL Wild Card: Rays

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Giants
NL Wild Card: Brewers
NL Wild Card: Marlins

D.J.
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Rays
AL Wild Card: Angels

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Giants
NL Wild Card: Braves
NL Wild Card: Reds

Drew

AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Rays
AL Wild Card: Angels

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Diamondbacks
NL Wild Card: Reds
NL Wild Card: Nationals

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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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.