Kyle McClellan retires from baseball at age 30

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Kyle McClellan announced on his personal Facebook page this week that he has officially retired from baseball at age 30. The right-hander made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2008 and eventually developed into a very good middle reliever, posting a career-best 2.27 ERA across 75 1/3 innings in 2010. But injuries to both of his shoulders eventually derailed his career, and he flamed out with the Rangers in June 2013.

Here is a portion of McClellan’s announcement …

My first thoughts were how thankful I am to the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. First the Cardinals… The Cardinals drafted me when I was a 17 year old kid who grew up here in St. Louis as a lifelong Cardinal fan. During my time with the organization I not only grew as a baseball player but I grew as a person. I learned lessons in my 11 years with the Cardinals that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

The Texas Rangers…. I only spent one season with the Rangers but I will always be thankful for them because they gave me a chance after coming off of a surgery. They treated me with such respect and were honest with me from day one and that is something that I will always appreciate. I wasn’t able to perform to the level that I would have liked in my short time there and to those fans and teammates I apologize for that. I will always be a fan of the organization and am rooting for you.

I also need to thank the fans and my teammates. If it weren’t for the fans we would not have this great sport. I was so fortunate to be a part of two great fan bases who showed up every night to support the team. Many players can only hope to be a part of organizations and fan bases like these and I did not take that for granted.

On a night full of letdowns, Yankees’ defense let them down the most

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Game 4 of the ALCS was a gigantic letdown for the Yankees for myriad reasons. They lost, first and foremost, 8-3 to the Astros to fall behind three games to one. Their fans continued to act boorishly. CC Sabathia exited with an injury, likely the final time he’ll pitch in his career. The offense went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The biggest letdown of the night, though, was the Yankees’ defense. They committed four errors, their highest total in a postseason game since committing five errors in Game 2 of the 1976 ALCS.

Make no mistake: the two three-run home runs hit by George Springer and Carlos Correa, given up by Masahiro and Chad Green respectively, were the big blows in the game. But the errors contributed to the loss and were downright demoralizing.

The first error came at the start of the top of the sixth inning, when Alex Bregman hit a cue shot to first baseman DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu couldn’t read the bounce and the ball clanked off of his knee, allowing Bregman to reach safely. He would score later in the inning on Correa’s blast.

The Yankees committed two errors in the top of the eighth, leading to a run. Yuli Gurriel hit another grounder to LeMahieu, which he couldn’t handle. That not only allowed Gurriel to reach safely, but Bregman — who led off with a double — moved to third base. He would score when second baseman Gleyber Torres couldn’t handle a Yordan Álvarez grounder.

Error number four occurred when Altuve hit a grounder to Torres to lead off the top of the ninth. The ball skipped right under his glove. Facing Michael Brantley, Jonathan Loaisiga uncorked a wild pitch which advanced Altuve to second base. Brantley followed up with a line drive single to left field, plating Altuve for another run. Loaisiga would throw another wild pitch facing Bregman but that one didn’t come back to haunt him.

The Yankees can’t control injuries, the behavior of their fans, or how good the Astros’ pitching is on any given night. They can control the quality of their defense. On Thursday, it was a farce, and now they’re staring down the barrel of having to win three consecutive games against the Astros to stave off elimination.