The Mets are considering bringing in the fences at Citi Field once again

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The other day, in the same conversation in which he mentioned that the Mets weren’t going to spend big this winter, Mets GM Sandy Alderson talked about bringing in the fences at Citi Field. Specifically in right-center field.

This wouldn’t be the first time the Mets brought the fences in — they did so prior to both the 2011 and 2012 seasons — but it didn’t really help all that much before. The park got a little more home run friendly, but the offensive environment still favored pitchers overall. Terry Collins was asked about the possibility of the yet unspecified changes to right-center yesterday. He likes the idea:

“I think it’s going to help us a little bit confidence-wise when you get in that batter’s box and say, ‘Hey, look, I can use the field and do some damage here,’ because that’s what a lot of guys in this lineup are paid to do, and that’s get big hits. I think it would be great for us.”

That works both ways, of course, as the opposing team is aided too. In the past several years, Mets hitters simply haven’t been good enough as a group to take as much advantage of those changes as the visitors have. Although it’s probably worth noting that the Mets’ pitching is only getting better and that may neutralize such differential advantages.

Marc Carig of Newsday talks about what potential changes could mean for the Mets this offseason, noting that reducing that distance to right-center could mean improvements for Curtis Granderson and David Wright. And such improvements would help make up for the fact that, no, the Mets don’t plan on spending a lot of money this winter.

Here’s a crazy idea: make the park better for existing players AND get some better players too. Unless those are mutually-exclusive efforts for reasons that aren’t apparent.

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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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.