What else could it be?
Clayton Kershaw walked three batters in the third and gave up five runs Monday against the A’s. Sam Fuld and Nick Punto, of all people, did the damage against him. Last week, he allowed three runs and five hits in two innings against the Diamondbacks, so after two spring outings, he’s currently sporting an 18.00 ERA.
All of this comes after Kershaw struck out on the FOX sitcom “New Girl” last month, getting quickly rebuffed after identifying himself and hitting on Zooey Deschanel’s character in the show. Nothing since has worked out right for him.
Kershaw admitted after Monday’s game that he had no explanation for his struggles: “The first two innings it felt like most things were working. In the third inning obviously nothing was working. I don’t know. If I knew, I would have fixed it.”
But we know what’s wrong. It’s obvious. And the curse won’t be lifted until after Kershaw guest stars on an NBC offering, perhaps About A Boy (Tuesday’s 9 pm ET, 8 pm CT).
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.