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Red Sox first round pick cracks joke about Pablo Sandoval’s weight

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The Red Sox picked high school first baseman/pitcher Triston Casas with the 26th pick of the first round of the draft last night. Casas, 18, is from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida, which also produced Eric Hosmer. He looks like a good one too. He’s ranked anywhere from 20th to 33rd in the major amateur prospect rankings. He is said to have a lot of power and a good bit of plate patience for someone so young.

While that kind of player is special, especially in an organization that is a bit short of projectable minor league bats these days, his introduction to most folks is coming via a joke he cracked last night after being selected by the Sox.

The Red Sox introduced Casas as a third baseman, which reflects their view of his future in the organization. Worth a try, of course, as his bat would be way more valuable at the hot corner than at first. To that end, reporters asked Casas what he needs to do in order to stick at third base. Via Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Casas’ answer was this:

Obviously watch my weight. There was another third baseman in Boston called Sandoval who had some problems. Just stay agile, take a lot of ground balls and keep doing my thing.

I’m not going to come down too hard on the kid. It was the biggest night of his life, he had a lot of cameras and microphones pointed at him and it’s totally understandable that he’d try to take a stab at humor. To the extent it fell flat — and I think it did, in addition to being something of a less-than-graceful swipe at someone he doesn’t know — it can be chalked up to nerves and, well, to being 18.

I wish Casas nothing but the best and hope he has a long and productive baseball career. It might be worth it for him to remember, however, that there are a lot of first round picks who don’t have one-quarter of the career that Pablo Sandoval has had, even with his setbacks and missteps. Sitting here now, it’s impossible for Casas to know now whether he will be one of them.

I suspect it’s the sort of thing he’ll come to realize over time. We all realize stuff like that as we grow up.

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.