Jed Lowrie, out since April with a torn thumb ligament, finally cleared to play rehab games

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MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports that Astros infielder Jed Lowrie has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday evening with the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks.

Lowrie has been on the disabled list since suffering a ligament tear in his right (throwing-side) thumb back in late April. That thumb injury required surgery and Lowrie was given a three-month recovery timetable, which is going to prove to be pretty accurate.

Carlos Correa has taken over at shortstop for the Astros and obviously won’t be moving anywhere, so Lowrie’s playing time down the stretch will come primarily at the hot corner and as an off-the-bench bat.

Lowrie is a switch-hitter and Houston’s starting third baseman, Luis Valbuena, hits left-handed.

Lowrie was slashing .300/.432/.567 with four home runs and 10 RBI through his first 18 games this year for the Astros. He’ll be a nice weapon in whatever role over the final two months of regular-season play.

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.