The Yankees are like the killer in teenage slasher films. Every time you think they’re dead, they pop back up and continue slashing (or, this year anyway, hacking, but that’s another subject). The point: you cannot declare them dead until they are unequivocally and clinically dead. To do so is folly. They have annoyingly bounced back up way too many times for that.
So if you’re a member of the Detroit Tigers, you can’t feel at all comfortable saying or doing things which assume that the Yankees are dead. Or in the case of Quintin Berry, say things which assume that you won’t be back to Yankee Stadium for Games 6 or 7 in the ALCS. And he more or less did that in this quote to Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan last night about the lack of electricity in Yankee Stadium:
“This is a very easy place to play now,” Tigers outfielder Quintin Berry said. “Coming from Oakland, the fans there were so rowdy. It was easier to come here.”
We can debate how much crowd enthusiasm plays into the game on the field, and we can debate whether the ever-famous “bulletin board material” makes any difference when seasoned professionals are involved, but I just can’t imagine that I’d want anyone on my team saying stuff like that while the series was still going on.
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.