One season after Roy Halladay had arguably the worst year of his career — a 4.49 ERA in 156.1 innings — fans and member of the media were rightly concerned when the two-time Cy Young award winner started the 2013 season by allowing 12 runs in 7.1 innings. They talked about his declining velocity, his changing mechanics, and different pitch selection. Over his last two starts, Halladay has allowed three runs in 15 innings.
Don’t talk to Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee about it, though. Dubee lashed out at the media for inquiring about him. Per CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:
Dubee brusquely declined to speak about Halladay’s work during an interview session with reporters Sunday.
“I’m not going to talk about it,” Dubee said. “Everybody bashed Roy Halladay long enough. Now he has a couple of good ones and all of a sudden he’s a Cy Young candidate. You guys ride that roller coaster and we’ll stay where we’re at. Let Roy be Roy.”
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.