Aramis Ramirez was forced to leave last night’s game with a left knee sprain and he’s now looking at an extended absence. According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, the Brewers placed Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list today and recalled utility man Josh Prince from Triple-A Nashville.
It’s not known how long Ramirez will be sidelined, but he told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last night that it felt worse than the knee issue that sidelined him for two weeks during spring training. Not good news.
The Brewers are running so thin on healthy infielders that they were forced to use Alex Gonzalez at third base last night for the first time in his career. Of course, Gonzalez was originally expected to fill in for Corey Hart at first base. However, Ramirez’s injury could force the Brewers to use Gonzalez and Yuniesky Betancourt at the corners in the days ahead. Yeesh.
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.