The Marlins arrived in Milwaukee to open up the second half after showing some signs of competence in June and early July. They were 15-41 after a June 1 victory, won 20 of their next 37 games, and went into the All-Star break 35-58. However, they dropped last night’s game against the Brewers 2-0, and were shut out again tonight 6-0. They haven’t scored since the fourth inning on July 14’s ten-inning affair against the Nationals, bringing their scoreless-inning streak to 24 innings.
The Brewers entered tonight’s game tied with the Padres for the worst starting rotation ERA in the National League at 4.80. But Kyle Lohse for seven innings last night and Yovani Gallardo for 6.1 innings tonight proved to be too much for the Marlins, who entered the game with the league’s worst offense averaging 3.26 runs per game. Their run differential went down to -97 and, depending on what they do tomorrow, may join the Astros (-148) as the only two teams in the negative triple-digits.
Should the streak continue into the seventh inning, they could break the franchise record of 30 consecutive scoreless innings, set in August last year.
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.