The Phillies placed reliever Mike Adams on the 15-day disabled list this afternoon due to a back injury, but the club is also dealing with some injuries to their everyday lineup.
Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that Carlos Ruiz is expected to miss 3-4 weeks after he suffered a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring yesterday. The 34-year-old backstop will be placed on the disabled list tomorrow while right-hander Tyler Cloyd will be called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his roster spot.
The Phillies didn’t have Ruiz for the first 25 games of the season as he served his suspension for Adderall use, so they’ll now have to get by without him until around mid-June. Erik Kratz should see the bulk of the playing time during his absence while Humberto Quintero has replaced Adams on the active roster.
As for Howard, he’ll miss his second straight game tonight due to a sore left knee. The 33-year-old first baseman received a cortisone shot after an MRI revealed inflammation and a “change” in his meniscus, but the Phillies are calling him-to-day for now. Of course, he could be headed for the disabled list too if his knee doesn’t respond to the cortisone shot.
Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan told Lawrence that Howard has been dealing with symptoms for a couple of weeks and finally decided to shut things down. Interestingly, Sheridan hasn’t ruled out the possibility that the knee issue was a result of him overcompensating for his Achilles.
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.