Sometimes I think that covering the Yankees is like covering junior high school. Except even junior high school news can be more substantive than “She called him! Did he ever call her back?!!”
Kevin Youkilis never had a problem letting Joba Chamberlain know how he felt on the field, but he’s giving him the silent treatment now. Chamberlain — who had a longtime feud with Youkilis while the third baseman was on the Red Sox — said the new Yankee never returned the voicemail the pitcher left him after Youkilis signed with the Bombers in December. Is it lingering bad blood or just bad cell phone service? We probably won’t know until the new teammates — or is it frenemies? — actually talk to each other.
Further reports indicate that Chamberlain’s best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Youkilis pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.
In other news, the Yankees need to sign someone or make a trade or something because I think their beat writers are going a bit loopy.
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.