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Report: Mets, Jay Bruce interested in a reunion

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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets and free agent 1B/OF Jay Bruce have interest in a reunion.

The Mets don’t seem all that comfortable going into 2018 with Dominic Smith at first base, questioning his conditioning after he gained weight towards the end of the season. The Mets’ corner outfield is already spoken for with Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto, though Conforto could conceivably move to center field full-time.

Bruce, 30, hit a combined .254/.324/.508 with 36 home runs and 101 RBI in 617 plate appearances between the Mets and Indians last season.

The Mets have nearly $121 million committed for the 2018 season already before accounting for a handful of arbitration-eligible players. It would seem the need to upgrade at second or third base would be a more pressing issue than adding a 1B/OF type like Bruce. If the Mets are truly uncomfortable with Smith as a full-time option, they could presumably wait until deeper in the offseason and see who is left among the likes of Yonder Alonso, John Jaso, Cameron Maybin, Jon Jay, Austin Jackson, and Melvin Upton, Jr.

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

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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.