Indians first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hand contusion. Encarnacion was lifted in the first inning of Friday’s 1-0 loss to the White Sox and there was some concern that he might have sustained a left biceps injury, but an MRI failed to uncover anything substantial.
The bruise on his right hand, meanwhile, dates back to a hit-by-pitch on July 15. While Encarnacion has been receiving treatment for the bruise, manager Terry Francona pointed out that he’s also been overcompensating for his lack of mobility (as Encarnacion himself put it, he’s “swinging with one hand,” which could very well aggravate a more serious injury) and could use the extra time to rest and rehabilitate before the club makes its final push for the postseason this fall. The 35-year-old slugger has slashed just .229/.317/.461 with 25 home runs and a .778 OPS in 442 PA this year.
In a corresponding move, infielder Yandy Diaz has been called up from Triple-A Columbus to take Encarnacion’s spot on the roster. Diaz, 26, has seen just four games at the major-league level in 2018, during which he went 7-for-14 with a triple and two RBI. He’s impressed at the Triple-A level too, batting .293/.409/.388 with 27 extra-base hits and 40 RBI in 426 PA.
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.