Deflating Loss — ALCS Game 3: Houston 4 NY 1

Hopefully, the 3-run BOMB by Didi Gregorius that died and was caught at the wall in right by Josh Reddick in the 5th inning will NOT be remembered YEARS from now — it would have put the Yanks ahead 3-2 and probably sent Gerrit Cole to the showers, and possibly given the Yanks this game, and a 2-1 lead in the series.

If the Yanks lose this series — that may have been the turning point. If they win the series, it will be a footnote.

Un-Livened Baseballs

They seem to be playing with ‘un-livened’ baseballs in the playoffs. As Mike Vaccaro put it, “In April, May, June, July, August and September, Didi Gregorius would’ve just made this a 3-2 game. It is October. It remains 2-0.”

As Alan Hahn said, “What other sport changes the actual ball in the postseason?!”

Yankee Manager Aaron Boone, when asked if the lively ball had been removed for the playoffs, said ““I don’t know, I don’t think — (pause) — Hard for me to say at this point. You know, I’ve heard a couple of — things about that. Umm, I don’t know.”

To be fair, catcher Martin Maldonado hit a DEEP fly ball that was caught at the wall in left the very next inning, so maybe with the same lively ball they played with during the regular season it would have been a tie game. And who knows who would have won. With a lively ball, Aaron Judge would have probably hit a 3-run homer his third time up in Game 2. In fact who knows what this series would be like with the same lively baseball they played with during the regular season.

1998 Playoffs — Thome Caught at the Wall

But if the Yanks lose the series, that Didi non-homer will stick in the craw of Yankee fans for YEARS — dozens of years. I still remember 1998 ALCS vs Cleveland, game 4, Yanks down 2-1 in the series, and “El Duque” Orlando Hernandez on the mound with bases loaded in the 1st and Jim Thome up — Thome hit a ball that had Grand Slam written all over it — but Paul O’Neill caught it with an outreached glove with his back to the right field wall. El Duque settled down and pitched a 2-hit shutout and the Yankees rolled on to the World Series.

You remember these things for YEARS. “That’s baseball, Suzyn.”

Yanks Put “Traffic” on the Bases Against Cole

As Aaron Boone mentioned in the post-game interview, the Yanks had a lot of traffic against Gerrit Cole, but he managed to get the outs to end threats. In the 1st, DJ LeMahieu singled and Aaron Judge singled to put 1st and 2nd and nobody out. But Brett Gardner was not called upon to bunt, and instead popped up. Edwin Encarnacion popped up. Gleyber Torres walked to load the bases, but Didi Gregorius grounded out. Yankee Twitter was second guessing the non-bunt by Gardner to no end afterwards.

Luis Severino was roughed up early — a home run by Jose Altuve on the first pitch. He then proceeded to get into a bases loaded jam in the 1st but got out of it. He allowed a homer in the 2nd to Josh Reddick and it looked like it was going to be a long evening for Severino. Through 2 innings he had already thrown 61 pitches. But he settled down. Importantly, he got through the 3rd on six pitches and ended up doing his job — 4.1 innings, 2 runs. That was probably the best news of the night.

Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle pitched shutout ball to get the Yanks to the 7th down 2-0. But then Adam Ottavino and Zack Britton put the Yanks in a deep hole. Ottavino allowed a leadoff walk to George Springer and a single by Jose Altuve, and then Zack Britton came in, got a groundout but then intentionally walked Alex Bregman to set up bases loaded, 1 out. Britton threw a wild pitch scoring Altuve and then 1st baseman Yuli Gurriel hit a sac fly to make it 4-0 Houston.

Gleyber Torres continues to hit — he got the Yanks their lone run in the 8th with a home run to make it 4-1.

Luis Cessa provided 2 shutout innings to keep the Yanks in the game but they never brought the tieing run to the plate in the late innings.


Some other good news: Edwin Encarnacion‘s bat seemed to be waking up. He worked the count against Cole, and ripped a double to left in the 5th off him.

The Boxscore

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