UPDATE: X-rays came back negative, so Affeldt is hoping to be available for Game 1 of the NLCS.
For the third time in the past 18 months Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt has suffered a weird injury.
Back in late 2011 he sliced his right hand while separating hamburger patties for a barbeque and needed surgery to repair nerve damage. Then in May he sprained his knee when his young son jumped off the couch and into his arms.
And now? Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News has the details:
Affeldt pitched a shutout seventh inning and was supposed to face Jay Bruce in the eighth, but Affeldt had to be removed after a screamer off of Gregor Blanco’s bat sent him scrambling. Affeldt was standing on the top step of the dugout and ducked out of the way, only to fall down the steps and jam his left hand as he braced himself for the fall.
He had to be removed from the game and was later spotted in the dugout with his arm in a sling, but Affeldt insisted after the game that he’s fine and will be available to pitch in the NLCS. “I’m just wearing it in case one of these knuckleheads tries to hit me with a champagne bottle,” Affeldt told Pavlovic.
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.