Getty Images

Joe West to be crew chief for ALCS

26 Comments

Boston Red Sox fans were pretty exasperated about having to watch Angel Hernandez ump their games in the ALDS. Good news for them: Angel Hernandez will NOT be on the umpire crew for the ALCS against the Astros.

But Joe West will.

Yes, the same Joe West who is often brought up alongside Hernandez when conversations about the worst umpires in the game arise. To be fair, West is a better umpire than Hernandez when it comes to calling the game — who isn’t? — but West certainly has had his run-ins with players and has spent his entire career making games about him rather than the baseball. Here’s hoping he keeps that to a minimum this postseason.

The crews, with their Game 1 assignments included. The crew chief is asterisked:

NLCS

Home: Scott Barry
1B: Alan Porter
2B: Gerry Davis*
3B: Hunter Wendelstedt
LF: Jim Wolf
RF: Brian Gorman
Replay, Games 1-2: Greg Gibson
Replay, Games 3-7: Scott Barry

ALCS

Home: James Hoye
1B: Vic Carapazza
2B: Joe West*
3B: Mark Carlson
LF: Chris Guccione
RF: Mark Wegner
Replay, Games 1-2: Bill Miller
Replay, Games 3-7: James Hoye

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

Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
19 Comments

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.