Houston, TX: I know it was a positive year for the New York Yankees when you consider expectations, but it still hurts when they were only one win away from the World Series. The future looks bright, but there are no guarantees. Eh, Mets fans? Still, I must give credit where it’s due. If one play was the harbinger of doom for the Yankees, it was a defensive play by Alex Bregman.
Dave Roberts, Curt Shilling, Josh Beckett, Luis Gonzalez, and now Alex Freaking Bregman (note: this list once included Johnny Damon, but he was removed after the double steal against the Phillies). The mere mention of anyone in this group will forever make me reflexively clench a fist and curse. It was one of those plays where you could practically see the momentum turn. You know in that moment that the Baseball Gods have chosen.
It was the fifth inning with the Astros leading by a run. The Yankees had runners on first and third when Todd Frazier hit a soft bouncer to the left side of the infield. “Tie game” I thought, and temporarily rejoiced when I realized Bregman was foolishly coming home with the throw. By the time Bregman fielded the ball, Greg Bird was only a few strides from home. Nine of ten third basemen would have taken the out at first in hopes of avoiding a big inning. It was the smart play.
Joy quickly turned to horror when I saw the throw hit Brian McCann right in the glove right on Bird’s sliding foot. The throw led McCann into the tag. Had McCann had to reach for the ball at all, Bird would have been safe. The bulls-eye throw would have made William Tell jealous, there was no margin for error. Bird was out and the Yanks were doomed. McCann managed to hold onto the ball, something Gary Sanchez struggled to do on much easier chances. Instead of two on and one out in a tie game, the Astros were one out away from getting out of the inning unscathed. Tip of the cap Mr. Bregman, that took some guts.
Overrated Springer Catches
Less impressive was George Springer’s catch near the wall on Frazier’s bid for a three run homer off Justin Verlander in Game 6. Springer could have caught that ball flat footed one step in front of the wall. I’m not sure why Joe Buck and John Smoltz acted like it was the Willie Mays basket catch, he didn’t even have to jump. They went nuts again the next night when Springer jumped over the waiting glove of his left fielder Marwin Gonzalez, who was about to make a routine catch. It looked cool, I’ll admit, but it was a dumb play.
It was a rough series for Aaron Hicks, who was an ugly 2 for 24. Sanchez had a few big hits, including the tiebreaking double in Game 4, but he looked pretty hapless in tight spots when the Yankees were down. His glove troubles cost the Yanks as well. Bird might have been the most competent Yankees hitter, but he was gunned down at the plate twice in tide turning plays. It’s hard to blame him, coming off the injuries. But still, ouch Bro.
Buck said it will be hard to root against the Astros in the World Series after what their city has been through. I’ll manage. Anyway, on to football season and my beloved Giants…D’oh.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for the unveiling of Angry Ward’s new alter ego, Psych Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @benwhit, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.