A couple of weeks ago we were hipped to the other big Yankees drama this offseason: whether Kevin Youkilis was ever going to return that voice mail Joba Chamberlain left him after Youkilis signed with New York. IS THE HATCHET TRULY BURIED? some wondered, eager with anticipation.
The answer: yes. It’s buried:
Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain said he’s received a text message from new teammate Kevin Youkilis and hopes whatever tension existed between the two is past.
Or is it? Because let’s face it: an actual call is more significant than a text, right? Joba CALLED Kevin! And all Kevin can do is text him back? Like, whatever. The only way to disrespect him more is to try to Facebook-message him, am I right? Kevin may think he’s patched things up, but when everyone comes back to class after summer vacation, I think he’s going to find that he’s getting the cold shoulder in the cafeteria.
Er, the clubhouse. I meant the clubhouse. Because this is not junior high school. Not at all.
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.