October 29, 2022

World Series 2: Astros 5, Phillies 2

Phillies - 000 000 101 - 2  6  1 
Astros - 300 020 00x - 5 7 2
For the second night in a row, the Astros jumped out to a 5-0 lead. On Saturday, they were able to keep their advantage, holding off the Phillies 5-2 and evening up the World Series at one game apiece.

It's now a best-of-5 with the first three games in Philadelphia. Game 3 will be played on Monday night.

Phillies starter Zach Wheeler (5-6-5-3-3, 69) fell behind quickly. Jose Altuve hit his first pitch for a double. Jeremy Pena hit his second pitch for a run-scoring double. Yordan Alvarez fouled off Wheeler's third pitch and doubled on his fourth. Four pitches in, and the Astros led 2-0. A third run scored with two outs when first baseman Rhys Hoskins could not glove a low throw from shortstop Edmundo Sosa. Alex Bregman clubbed a two-run homer in the fifth.

Framber Valdez (6.1-4-1-3-9, 104) kept a tight lid on the Phillies' offense. He allowed one-out walks in the first and second innings and a one-out single in the third, but none of those runners advanced at all. His pitch count was somewhat high (55) through three innings (22-15-18). After a clean fourth, a leadoff single in the fifth was erased on a double play. 

Kyle Schwarber walked to start the top of the sixth and Hoskins singled to left-center. It was the first time the Phillies had two baserunners. The rally fizzled, however, as Valdez struck out J.T. Realmuto with some high heat and Bryce Harper grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Nick Castellanos doubled into the left-center field gap to open the seventh. Valdez retired Alex Bohm on a groundout before handing the ball off to Rafael Montero. Castellanos had taken third on the grounder and he scored on Jean Segura's sacrifice fly to left.

Bryson Stott (batting for Sosa) led off the eighth and battled Montero for a 12-pitch walk. Schwarber saw a handful of pitches before lifting a 2-2 pitch to deep right. The ball sailed past the foul pole, but it was hard to tell if it was fair or foul. It seemed fair, as Schwarber circled the bases and the Sportsnet scorebug said 5-3, but the drive was eventually ruled foul. Schwarber grabbed his bat again and hit the next pitch to deep right, driving Kyle Tucker to within one step of the wall, but the Astros outfielder caught this one without difficulty.

After Hoskins struck out, Realmuto singled up the middle. Pena ranged to his left and flipped the ball to second, hoping to force Stott, but second baseman Altuve was not there. He was crouched down with his back to Pena, watching what he assumed was going to be Pena's throw to first. So the Phillies had runners at first and third, but Harper again could not deliver. He popped up to short (and finished the game 0-for-4, leaving five men left on base).

Houston's Ryan Pressly came in to nail it down in the ninth. Castellanos fanned on a changeup for the first out. Plate umpire Pat Hoberg called a good game -- he is one of the best at calling balls and strikes -- but he started expanding the strike zone in the final two innings when the Phillies were batting. A called strike 2 to Hoskins in the eighth was questionable, as were strikes 1 and 2 to Castellanos to start the ninth. The first pitch to Bohm was too far inside, but Hoberg called it a strike anyway. Bohm looked at a ball and doubled to left-center. Philadelphia needed to string a few hits together before making another out, but Segura hacked at a low 2-2 pitch and golfed it to Tucker in right. Brandon Marsh grounded a ball to first that skipped past Yuri Gurriel for an error. Bohm scored and Marsh went to at second. Stott rapped a routine grounder to second for the third out.

The Phillies ended the night 0-for-7 with RATS, six of those at-bats coming in the final three innings.

Laura and I ended up watching the last half of the game on mute, talking about the brilliance of Blood on the Tracks and what would be on our respective short lists of concerts to go back in time and see. This was a wise move because I'm sure Sportsnet's Dave Flemming and Dan Plesac grew more insufferable as Houston's win expectancy increased.

I suspected very early on in Game 1 that anything either of those guys said about a particular player was likely bullshit. Both of these guys (like many postseason announcers) did not follow either team until the playoffs. At best, I assume they asked around a little bit and then regurgitated whatever they were told as if it was the gospel truth. (At some point tonight, I remarked that I wished I had my own little research department. Say, two people. When an announcer said (as was said tonight), "the Astros know how to hit the heater", I could call out, "How did Houston's batting average against fastballs this year?" and one of my two assistants would look it up. Looking at FanGraphs, Astros batters saw the fewest fastballs (as a % of pitches) in the AL, but they also led the AL in Weighted Fastball Runs, so maybe it's true -- although I'm sure the announcer had batting average in mind (or maybe something fancy, like OPS).)

In the bottom of the first, Houston was up 2-0. Tucker flied out to center and Alvarez tagged at second and went to third. Matt Vierling's throw was late and it short-hopped Bohm and went into foul territory. Plesac explained that Vierling had "air-mailed" the throw. The ball bounced in front of the fielder! How could Plesac not know that "air-mailing" a throw means having the ball sail way over Bohm's head and maybe even go into the stands on the fly. You know, like how an airplane carrying sacks of letters and packages (by air mail!) flies high in the sky?

Also, Plesac's only point of reference seems to be players from his era. He pitched a long time -- 1986-2003 -- and the only names I heard dropped were Terry Mulholland (whose career covered almost the same years as Plesac) and maybe a couple of guys from the 1993 Phillies. Looking at the roster doesn't help me remember who they were (maybe he only said the year). Anyway, excellent work connecting with the younger fans who might be watching. Someone supposedly threw a curveball like an old pitcher they have never heard of and then offer a short essay about a team that no one talks much about from 30 years ago.

Neither Flemming or Plesac (a former pitcher) seem to guess correctly about what a pitcher would do next. Admittedly, I did not listen carefully all the time, but any time I would tune in, they would anticipate a pitch away (for example) and it would be inside or low. Despite being wrong, they would do it all over again. And be dead wrong again. There was never any acknowledgement of being wrong; it was as if whatever they said had not been spoken.

I wish TV announcers did not feel the need to fill every second with words. It's not radio, we can see what's going on. Having pockets of dead air . . . maybe 20-30 seconds . . . throughout the game would not be a bad thing. Because most of what gets said during a broadcast is not necessary. It's just noise, no different than the short, loud blasts of music that disrupt and pollute the atmosphere in the ball park. A colour guy who offered his thoughts only when something really needed to be said or explained would be most welcome, I think. You certainly wouldn't lose anything. I mean, if you went with a friend to a game and were talking about it, you'd have plenty of moments when you didn't say anything. . . . More thoughts from a grumpy old man on Monday . . .

October 28, 2022

World Series 1: Phillies 6, Astros 5 (10)

Phillies - 000 320 000 1 - 6  9  0
Astros - 023 000 000 0 - 5 10 0
J.T. Realmuto lined a solo home run to right field leading off the top of the tenth inning (above) and David Robertson stranded Astros at second and third in the bottom half, giving the Phillies a 6-5 comeback win in Game 1 of the World Series.

This was the first extra-inning World Series game since the Red Sox and Dodgers played 18 innings in 7:20 in Game 3 in 2018. This was also Houston's first loss in eight postseason games this month.

The Phillies became the sixth team to overcome a five-run deficit and win a World Series game. Dusty Baker has been on the losing end of the last two instances (also losing Game 6 of the 2002 WS).

The Astros had never lost a postseason game in which they led by five or more runs (29-0) until tonight. Indeed, the last time they lost any game in which they held by five or more runs was July 26, 2021. Since then, they had won 65 such games (including playoffs). AND the Astros had won 15 straight games in which they led by multiple runs and 31 of their last 32 such games. (h/t Sarah Langs)

Teams are now 589-19 in postseason history when leading by 5+ runs

Teams are now 220-6 when leading by 5+ runs in World Series games. The comebacks:
1929 Game 4 - Athletics trailed by 8
1956 Game 2 - Dodgers trailed by 6
1993 Game 4 - Blue Jays trailed by 5
1996 Game 4 - Yankees trailed by 6
2002 Game 6 - Angels trailed by 5
2022 Game 1 - Phillies trailed by 5
Phillies: now 1-11 when trailing by 5+ in postseason
Perhaps the surprise of the night came when plate umpire James Hoye remembered the rarely-enforced rule against a batter intentionally letting himself get hit by a pitch. In the bottom of the tenth, Alex Bregman doubled off the wall in left and Robertson unintentionally intentionally walked Yuri Gurriel. Facing Aledmys Díaz, who was pinch-hitting for Trey Mancini (0-for-16 in the postseason), Robertson bounced his first offering and the wild pitch moved the potential tying and winning runs to third and second.

Robertson's 2-0 pitch was a bit inside and Díaz leaned into it, moving his left elbow into the pitch's path so he got plunked. Immediately, Hoye came out from behind the plate and made the call. You could hear him on the TV broadcast: Díaz made no effort to avoid the pitch -- quite the opposite, in fact -- so he was not entitled to first base. The pitch was ball 3. Hoye's correct call did not make up for blowing numerous ball/strike calls throughout the night, but this was great to see. Would Hoye have made the same call if it has come in the third inning? Probably not. Díaz swung at and missed the 3-0 pitch before grounding out to third, ending the game.

Justin Verlander came into this game with an 0-6 record in seven World Series starts and a 5.68 ERA. He started off extremely strong, retiring the first 10 Phillies on 42 pitches. He was the first pitcher to retire the first 10 batters in a World Series start since Luis Tiant in Game 1 of the 1975 World Series. I'm not sure that's correct, because it came from the Sportsnet announcers (Dave Flemming and Dan Plesac) and they were consistently stupid all night, so I don't entirely trust them. Case in point: One of them (Plesac?) referred to that Reds/Red Sox seven-game classic as "the Carlton Fisk World Series". God knows baseball announcers have brought up that series many times over the last 47 years, but I don't think I've ever heard it labelled "the Carlton Fisk World Series". Maybe I have, but tonight it sounded like a wrong note hit on a piano. Which reminds me that they also said Realmuto's dong was the first extra-inning World Series home run hit by a catcher since Fisk's foul pole blast ended Game 6 in the bottom of the twelveth inning on October 21, 1975. (This is true.) In the moment, I felt like seeing how many times catchers had batted in extra-inning World Series games since 1975 and what they had done, but I decided against it. If you look it up, I would like to know the details.

As Verlander mowed down the Phillies, his teammates brought in five runs of Aaron Nola (4.1-6-5-2-5, 81). Ken Tucker started the home second with a homer and another run scored on singles from Gurriel, Chas McCormick, and Martin Madonado. (The third single was a perfect hit-and-run play.) In the third, Jeremy Pena doubled, Bregman walked, and Tucker homered again.

With one out in the fourth, Verlander crumbled. The Sportsnet guys could not stop talking about this, how the Phillies did nothing against him the first time they faced him and then attacked the second time through. They seemed to believe no team had ever done this before -- and they kept mentioning it until the final out of the game. If it was a drinking game, you might not have passed out, but you'd have a serious fucking headache tomorrow. Both of them were clearly pro-Astros all night, but it was never more obvious than when Flemming wrapped up by saying "and the Phillies steal Game 1".

Verlander (5-6-5-2-5, 90) faced a total of 23 batters, but there was this split:
First 10 batters: 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 42 pitches
Next 11 batters: 6 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 39 pitches
Verlander's career ERA in World Series Game 1s is 10.29 (16 earned runs in 14 innings). His overall World Series ERA increased to 6.07.

Rhys Hoskins lined a one-out single to left center. Realmuto hit a liner back to Verlander, who dropped the ball and could get only the out at first as Hoskins went to second. Bryce Harper singled to right (the ball took a high hop and nearly got past Tucker). With runners at first and third, Nick Castellanous singlked to left for one run and Alex Bohm doubled into the left field corner and two more. Bryson Stott fouled off four 2-2 pitches before working a 10-pitch walk, but Jean Segura popped to second.

In the fifth, Brandon Marsh doubled down the left field line (after ripping a foul down the right field line). Kyle Schwarber walked and, after Hoskins popped to short, Realmuto doubled off the left field wall to tie the game at 5-5. At that point, both teams were into their bullpens and for the next 4.5 innings, only one runner got past second base.

Zach Elfin took over for the Phillies with one out in the sixth. Gurriel greeted him with a single and McCormick drew a two-out walk. Maldonado knocked a 2-0 pitch near the bag at third and Bohm made a long, one-hop throw for the third out.

The Phillies threatened in the seventh. Schwarber reached on an infield single and stole second with two outs. Bryan Abreu walked both Realmuto and Harper, loading the bases. Hector Neris came in and fanned Castellanos.

Jose Altuve, facing Seranthony Dominguez, dropped a single into short center field with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Altuve took off for second on the first pitch to Pena. He was called safe, but the Phillies challenged the call. Realmuto's throw had been perfect and Segura caught the ball with his glove already on Altuve's leg. Every replay seemed far too close to warrant changing the initial call. But then Sportsnet showed one angle, which for some reason seemed darker than the others. In that one, Altuve's cleat could be seen more clearly in relation to the bag. From that particular angle, it looked like Altuve was out. However, the safe call was upheld. Pena took a called strike and then popped a pitch into short right near the line. If the ball fell in, Altuve would score the winning run easily. Castellanos sprinted in and over, and made a sliding, game-saving catch for the out.

As mentioned, Realmuto got real real gone off Luis Garcia in the tenth and gave his team a 6-5 lead. Harper followed with a single and was forced at second by Castellanos. Bohm grounded to third. Ryan Stanek came in from the bullpen and walked Stott. Segura then hit a soft liner to third.

As the Astros came off the field, Flemming noted that the Phillies needed to get "three big outs" (true enough) and then he added "this one is a long way from being over". Whaaa? No, it's not. We're in extra innings. Even if the Astros tied it up, the game could end in any subsequent inning. Way back in the middle of the fifth, after the Phillies had rallied from 0-5 to 5-5, THAT would be the proper time to offer that old cliche, "this one is a long way from being over".

Also . . . and all announcers do this . . . I cannot understand how an announcer can describe the previous pitch or play and say something that is directly contradicted by what is shown on the screen. Early in this game, Plesac was talking about a pitch that was "right in the corner of the strike zone". And on the screen as he's speaking is a strike zone graphic that shows the pitch out of the zone by a decent margin. I don't get it. The announcer corrects himself in those situations maybe 1 in 75 times. The other 74 times, he continues undeterred, as if his description of what he thinks happened can and will alter the reality of the pitch or play. It's okay, guys, really, your manhood is not on the line here. But maybe don't be so definitive before you see the replay.

We've also heard countless announcers call what the play will be before it actually happens and then sound like an idiot when something else happens instead. Dave O'Brien is a master at this. One of our dogs had been staring a hole through me (she was asking to go out) for a few batters so when Segura popped up with two down in the fourth, I wrote P4 (in pen, of course) on my scoresheet before Altuve actually caught the ball. I had a good laugh when he bobbled the ball. I don't think I have any correction fluid in the house. (I have finally learned not to write in plays that might be challenged.)

This was also the first World Series game in which both teams started a rookie shortstop. Seems like that should have happened before. Well, it has for the other three infield positions, but not shortstop.

The winner of the first game of a best-of-7 postseason series has ended up winning the series 64.7% of the time (121 of 187). Go Phillies! . . . and phuck the Astros.

I posted this in the game thread:

Battle of the Mascots . . .

October 27, 2022

118th World Series: Houston Astros / Philadelphia Phillies

The 118th World Series* begins on Friday night in Houston. All games are at 8:00 ET.
Fri 1028 Game 1: Phillies at Astros   Nola / Verlander
Sat 1029 Game 2: Phillies at Astros Wheeler / Valdez
Mon 1031 Game 3: Astros at Phillies
Tue 1101 Game 4: Astros at Phillies
Wed 1102 Game 5: Astros at Phillies
Fri 1104 Game 6: Phillies at Astros
Sat 1105 Game 7: Phillies at Astros
The Phillies have not been in the World Series since 2009. I had completely forgotten (or it never registered) that the Phillies were in consecutive World Series, winning in 2008 over the Rays.

The Astros have played in six consecutive ALCS, winning the pennant three times. They won the 2017 World Series, but lost in both 2019 and 2021.
             W   L    RS    RA   R/G  RA/G    HOME    ROAD    1RUN   EXINN
Astros   106  56   737 518 4.5   3.2  55-26   51-30   28-16   5-6
Phillies  87  75  747 685 4.6   4.2  47-34   40-41  22-25   8-6

The Phillies scored 10 more runs than the Astros during the regular season, but they also allowed 167 more runs.

The difference of 19 wins between the two teams is the second-largest difference between World Series opponents.

1906: 23 - Cubs (116-36)      /  White Sox (93-58)    Cubs lost 2-4
2022: 19 - Astros (106-56)    /  Phillies (87-75)     ?
1932: 17 - Yankees (107-47) / Cubs (90-64) Yankees won 4-0
2018: 16 - Red Sox (108-54) / Dodgers (92-71)   Red Sox won 4-1
1998: 16 - Yankees (114-48) / Padres (98-64) Yankees won 4-0
1961: 16 - Yankees (109-53) / Reds (93-61)   Yankees won 4-1
1944: 16 - Cardinals (105-49) / Browns (89-65)   Cardinals won 4-2
1927: 16 - Yankees (110-44) / Pirates (94-60)   Yankees won 4-0
1907: 15 - Cubs (107-45) / Tigers (92-58)   Cubs won 4-0-1
2019: 14 - Astros (107-55) / Nationals (93-69) Astros lost 3-4
1954: 14 - Cleveland (111-43) / Giants (97-57) Cleveland lost 0-4

Astros (7-0):

ALDS: 3-0 over the Mariners
ALCS: 4-0 over the Yankees  

Phillies (9-2):

NLWC: 2-0 over the Cardinals
NLDS: 3-1 over Atlanta
NLCS: 4-1 over the Padres

The last team to go undefeated in the postseason was the 1976 Reds -- well before the Wild Card Era. The Big Red Machine beat the Phillies in the NLCS 3-0 and swept the Yankees in the World Series 4-0.

11-1 - 2005 White Sox
11-1 - 1999 Yankees
11-2 - 1998 Yankees
11-3 - 2018 Red Sox
11-3 - 2007 Red Sox
11-3 - 2004 Red Sox
11-3 - 2008 Phillies
11-3 - 1995 Atlanta
The Phillies could become the first team to win 12 postseason games (thanks to the expanded wild card series) and not win the World Series.

Anthony Castrovince (mlb.com) looks at the two teams, position-by-position (and predicts Astros in 6):
1B: Phillies
2B: Astros
3B: Astros
SS: Astros
LF: Astros
CF: Astros
RF: Astros
C: Phillies
DH: Phillies
SP: Astros
RP: Astros
Who do I think will win the Manfred Piece of Metal? Houston would be a smart bet, I'm hoping for  the Phillies in 6 or, more likely, if they can pull it off, 7.

*: This is also the sixth season in which MLB has sold "presenting" sponsorships to all of its postseason series. The 2022 World Series is officially known as the "2022 World Series presented by Capital One" , which no one with any self-respect will say. How many more years until a corporation's name is placed before "World Series"? For now, the phrase "World Series" still possesses enough cachet or a company simply has not waved enough money in Manfred's baseball-hating mug. I'm sure a few have tried.

October 25, 2022

Schadenfreude 337 (A Continuing Series)

Ryan Glasspiegel, Post:

Michael Kay laid the wood to the New York Yankees.

Speaking on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York, Kay lambasted the team after mental conditioning coach Chad Bohling distributed a clip to players using the Yankees' 3-0 collapse against the Red Sox from the 2004 ALCS as motivation when they were facing a sweep against the Astros.

"How in baseball God's name can you be so tone deaf as an organization, as if to do that?" Kay asked. "How can you be that tone deaf? I mean talk about bad optics. Are you out of your mind? I talked to three players from the '04 team. They were outraged by the fact that their failure was being used as motivation for the 2022 team." . . .

"How could you do that?" he yelled. "It would be like somebody from Lincoln's family, and you're trying to teach them about shootings in theaters and how to avoid it. I mean, are you out of your mind? And then to make it worse, Eduardo Perez, who's doing the game with Dan Shulman on ESPN Radio, has Aaron Boone FaceTime with David Ortiz and Ortiz supposedly gave some advice.

"Aaron Boone has to say to them, 'Thank you, but we're not going there.' And here's the amazing thing, Don [La Greca] and Peter [Rosenberg]: They told the media! Aaron Boone told the media, 'Oh yeah, we put together a tape of the 2004 Red Sox.'"

As Kay alluded to, Boone matter-of-factly acknowledged showing a video of the series to the team.

"We watched that video,'' Boone told reporters on Sunday. "We sent it out to the coaches and players." . . .

"I hate to do it. I hate to do it. I hate to do it," Kay said. "If George Steinbrenner were alive today, someone would be fired for something like that. That's tone deaf!"

Jenna Lemoncelli, Post:

Former Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez sent a savage message to the Yankees after they were swept out of the ALCS by the Astros on Sunday.

"I have one question for all of New York: New York, who's your daddy now?" a smiling Martinez said during an appearance on the TBS postgame show. "I just want to know. I want an answer and I want it quick. New York, who's your daddy? Should I say the Astros?" . . .

. . . Martinez has a long history with Yankees fans, most notably during his Red Sox days, which included Boston's historic comeback in that same 2004 ALCS. To this day, no other MLB team has come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series.

After the Astros' 6-5 win to complete a four-game sweep of the Yankees on Sunday, Martinez was elated to one-up New York fans. It marked the Yankees' fifth straight ALCS series loss.

The Astros have now ended the Yankees' playoff runs in the ALCS in 2022, 2017 and 2019. Houston also defeated New York in the 2015 Wild Card Game.

Ryan Glasspiegel, Post:

The Sports Pope has seen enough.

In the aftermath of the Astros' ALCS sweep of the Yankees, Mike Francesa delivered a postmortem on his BetRivers podcast. He concluded that the Yankees need "wholesale changes" on the field and in the front office — starting with general manager Brian Cashman. . . .

"I don't think the Yankees are headed in the right direction," Francesa said. "I think that sometimes, even when guys have done a good job, there comes a time where you need to change things. I'm talking about Cashman. I've known Cashman forever. He's had a wonderful career . . . But there comes a time that you need a new voice and you need a new direction. [Moving on] would be the smartest thing they could do now, because this team needs wholesale changes." . . .

Francesa juxtaposed these Yankees with the ghosts, dead and alive, they are chasing. He said that they don't measure up as Yankees to the dynasty that began in 1996, and that the gap has widened with the Astros, who have developed young studs like Yordan Alvarez and Jeremy Peña after losing stars like Carlos Correa and Michael Brantley.

He lambasted the current Yankees for excuses they've been making.

"I was just amazed that the Yankees were whining about balls of theirs not going out of the ballpark," he said. "These are the Yankees! When you hit 250 home runs, you don't whine when one doesn't go out of the ballpark. Opening and closing roofs, talking about [Alex] Bregman's ball going out, Judge's ball not going out — you've got to be kidding me! When you hear stuff like that, and this wasn't one guy or two guys, this was like half the team talking about losing the game — shut up! You're the Yankees!" . . .

"I think they need a different tact," Francesa said. "The way they are putting this team together is not working. But oh, they make the playoffs! With their resources, in this age, they're almost always going to make the playoffs. There are teams that have one-third of their resources that make the playoffs a lot. It's not about making the playoffs. They haven't been to the World Series since 2009, and now there's a team that they can't get past, no matter what they do, and if anything the gap has widened. And they can't blame it on garbage cans or devices or anything else they want to come up with as an excuse. The Yankees have gotten very good at excuses."

"The Yankees have become masters at the excuse," he said, pointing out that while they were missing key players such as Andrew Benintendi, everyone has injuries. "Nobody cares. Get the result. That's it. They need wholesale changes. There are very few guys — very, very few guys — who have to be on this team next year. That's a good place to start." . . .

"The Yankees need to take a new tact. That is not overreacting to a brutal and just numbing four-game sweep. When you think about how this postseason went, if I had told you this in June you wouldn't believe it," Francesa said. "They didn't win 100 games and they're not going back to the World Series. Again. And they're not beating the Astros. Again. In fact, they can't even beat them a game. That's where it starts.

"We want this to be a point where something happens from here, because if you just try to fine-tune this group, you'll be back here again and again and again just like you have year after year after year. This team isn't missing something. It's missing a whole lot. This team went into this series and was playing roulette with the shortstop, leadoff position and key spots in the bullpen every single night. That's how you go into a postseason? Let's see. Think about it. Late '90s. Early 2000s. Who was the leadoff hitter? Who was the shortstop? Who closed the games? They weren't tough questions, were they."


This is glorious.
Fuck you, you racist piece of shit. Fuck you, fuck you man. You fucking suck, dude. You go to fucking Hell, dude. Remember when Trump called your wife ugly? Remember that? Remember when Trump called your wife ugly and then you nominated him? Fuck you, you fucking piece of shit. Remember when those insurrectionists wanted to murder you? You ugly piece of shit, go to hell. Get the fuck out of New York. Trump called your wife ugly and you loved it. You ugly fuck, get the fuck outta here. Eat my dick, you asshole.
Other quotes:
You suck. You suck. You're a disgrace. You're a disgrace to this country. You're a disgrace.
You fat fuck.
Yo, go blow Trump. You suck. Get outta New York. We don't want you here. We don't want you here. You suck.

It was reported the other day that MAGA Manly Man Ted Cruz hid in a closet during the Capitol Insurrection.

October 24, 2022

Schadenfreude 336 (A Continuing Series)

YED is here!
Astros  - 004 000 200 - 6  9  0
Yankees - 210 101 000 - 5  9  1
The fun started well before the first pitch.

Aaron Boone (who has been getting fucking torched by Yankee fans on Twitter for days) passed on the remarkable news that Chad Bohling, the team's director of mental conditioning, sent out video clips of the Red Sox's comeback in the 2004 ALCS to the Yankees players and coaches. And Boone Facetimed with David Ortiz! "I said hey to him. He had some advice." Boone did not reveal what the Large Father said, but Dan Martin of the Post assumed "it didn't include not bringing up a brutal moment in franchise history to spark your own comeback".

Jordan Moore (The Athletic) tweeted: "this is likely the most embarrassing thing in Yankees history. Quite possibly the best flex in Red Sox history."

New York sportswriters still ask "What would George think of this?" when something bad happens in Yankeeland. It's pretty stupid at this point; Steinbrenner has been dead for 12 years.

But you gotta wonder: What would George think of this? You think he'd be sending out video clips of the fucking 2004 Red Sox? Sharing the franchise's most humiliating moment with his current players as inspiration -- would he consider that a good idea? Are you fucking insane?

Maybe he'd pass out some newspapers, too.

is the gift that will never stop giving!

Hey, look who it is! . . . Hello, Pedro! . . . What's up?

enjoy the show!

The Yankees have played in ONE World Series in the last 19 seasons (2004-22).

That ties the worst stretch in franchise history, matching their first 19 years as a team (1903-21).

Dan Martin, Post:
In the end, the Yankees didn't slay the dragon.

Instead, the Astros chewed them up and spit them out, completing a four-game sweep in the ALCS with a 6-5 win on Sunday night in The Bronx, as the Yankees saw another season end without a World Series appearance.

And for the third time in six years, the Astros ended the Yankees' season in the ALCS.

On a chilly night at the Stadium, which wasn't sold out, the Yankees wasted an early three-run lead, saw Nestor Cortes leave in the third inning with a groin injury and Gleyber Torres make a key error in the seventh that led to a pair of runs, as the Astros took the lead for good on Alex Bregman's one-out, run-scoring single off Clay Holmes in the seventh.

It ended with Aaron Judge, in perhaps his final at-bat as a Yankee, ending his miserable postseason with a grounder back to Ryan Pressly for the final out.

The Yankees didn't get a hit after Harrison Bader's sixth-inning homer gave them a short-lived lead. . . .

Now, the Yankees must face an offseason in which the future of Judge is unclear, with the right fielder potentially headed to free agency for the first time, as well as general manager Brian Cashman having his contract expire. . . .

After Cortes pitched a scoreless first, the Yankees took a rare lead in the bottom of the inning. . . . [T]he Yankees snapped a 14-inning scoreless streak [dating back to the fourth inning of Game 2]. . . .

With Cortes' velocity down in the third and Jose Altuve at the plate following a leadoff walk to Martin Maldonado, Boone went to the mound with trainer Tim Lentych.

Cortes remained in the game and walked Altuve.

Jeremy Peña then hammered a three-run shot to left to tie the game at 3-3.

Boone went back to the mound with Lentych and Cortes was replaced by Wandy Peralta.

Peralta immediately gave up a double to Yordan Alvarez. Yuli Gurriel's chopper through the right side of the infield left vacant by the shift went for an RBI single to give the Astros a 4-3 lead. . . .

Bader gave the Yankees another lead in the sixth with a two-out solo homer off Hector Neris. . . .

Altuve reached on an infield hit with one out in the seventh. Altuve moved to second after Peña grounded to second and Torres rushed his toss to Kiner-Falefa at second. With runners on first and second, Alvarez singled to right to knock in Altuve and tie the game . . .

Holmes entered and gave up a flare single to Bregman to put Houston ahead, 6-5.

Andy McCullough, The Athletic:
In capturing a 6-5 victory over the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, Houston earned a fourth World Series berth in the past six seasons, completed a sweep of their foremost rivals in recent years and demonstrated the relentless opportunism of their approach. This version of the Astros does not let mistakes go unpunished. Their pitchers hammer the holes of opposing hitters. Their hitters spoil good pitches and feast on errant ones.

And on Sunday evening, facing a desperate foil and a dyspeptic Yankee Stadium crowd, the group pounced on a seventh-inning opening when trailing by a run. A mistake in the field by Yankees middle infielder Gleyber Torres and Isiahi Kiner-Falefa handed the Astros an extra out. The team turned it into two runs, enough to secure a lead they would not relinquish.

On seven occasions this postseason, the Astros have taken the field with another club. On all seven occasions, the Astros were the best team on the field. On all seven occasions, the Astros won. . . . Game 1 [of the World Series] will be Friday at Minute Maid Park. . . .

When McCullers hung a slider [with two on in the first inning], Giancarlo Stanton made a small bit of history. His RBI single gave the Yankees a lead at the end of an inning for the first time in this series. . . .

[New York's 3-0] lead did not survive the top of the third. The radar gun registered a problem with Cortes's fastball. The pitch typically hummed just shy of 92 mph. His offerings to start the inning arrived in the upper 80s. Cortes walked No. 9 hitter Martin Maldonado. As Cortes flung lukewarm heat at second baseman Jose Altuve, Boone visited the mound with a trainer. Cortes waved the duo off. Altuve still walked.

The tying run came to the plate, in the form of rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña. Cortes fell behind in the count. He flipped a 3-1 changeup over the plate. Peña hit a towering drive beyond the left-field fence. . . . Just like that, Houston had evened the score. . . .

Bader made his loudest noise [with a solo homer in the sixth, giving the Yankees a 5-4 lead]. . . .

The atmosphere curdled minutes later. Altuve legged out an infield single off reliever Jonathan Loaisiga with one out in the seventh. Loaisiga rebounded to induce a grounder from Peña — only to witness a crushing disconnection between Torres and Kiner-Falefa. Torres scooped the baseball and fed Kiner-Falefa, who was crashing toward second base for a double play. But Torres made an errant throw. Kiner-Falefa was not in position to nab it. He tripped near the bag and Altuve reached second.

Altuve did not stay there for long. Alvarez tied the game with a single. Boone pulled Loasiga and inserted closer Clay Holmes. Searching for a groundball, hoping for the double play that had just been botched, Holmes surrendered a go-ahead single to third baseman Alex Bregman. Once more the see-saw swung back toward Houston.

There it remained. The Yankees could not mount another rally. . . . These Astros are not inevitable. But they come as close as it gets. The Yankees gave them an inch. The Astros took a pennant.
Mike Vaccaro, Post:
This was exactly as it should be. The Yankees were down to their last out of the game, their last gasp of the AL Championship Series, their last breath of baseball season. In what had been a relentlessly depressing weekend, a ceaselessly discouraging week, there was this one last hope.

One last time, here came Aaron Judge.

All across the summer this had been the fuel that propelled the Yankees, the most fearsome presence in the sport. . . . He would rescue the Yankees. He would electrify Yankee Stadium . . .

But that was summer . . .

This was October. And as he stepped to the plate Judge was 1-for-15 in the ALCS, 5-for-35 in the playoffs. This was an imposter wearing a No. 99 jersey. There would be no rescuing the Yankees this time. There would be no redemption for Judge. He swung at a 1-and-2 pitch, grounded it feebly back to the box.

And the sweep was complete. It was 6-5, Astros, for the game. It was 4-0, Astros, for the series. And it is 4-0, Astros, in four postseason encounters going back to 2015. . . .

Backdropped against that at-bat was a difficult reality: This could well have been Judge's final swing in pinstripes. It is still hard to believe that Judge will leave the Yankees, that the Yankees won't unearth every necessary nickel to make Judge a Yankee For Life . . .

Hard to believe. But not impossible. . . .

"I've never been a free agent," Judge said. "We'll see what happens." . . .

[T]his just doesn't seem right as an epilogue. . . . Judge's final picture in pinstripes should be something more than a 1-3 in your scorecard. Maybe it won't be. But it sure might be.
Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
After carrying the Yankees all season, it came down to Aaron Judge. The slugger . . . had one last chance to keep what could be his last season with the Yankees alive. The outfielder grounded out to the pitcher and walked off slowly. He watched as the Astros celebrated their 6-5 win and sweep of the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

Houston left the field to head into the World Series where they will face the Phillies. Judge and the Bombers walked off the field Sunday night with a very uncertain future.

Judge, the soon-to-be free agent, has been the face of the franchise . . . after the 2017, 2019 and 2022 ALCS losses to the Astros. GM Brian Cashman's contract is also up after the World Series. There are questions about the Bombers' approach to analytics, roster construction and managing. . . .

A 99-win team in the regular season, Sunday night's game had a little of everything from the past six months: a home run, a rally, an injury and a reliever giving up the lead. . . .
Jared Schwartz, Post:
The Astros celebrated their ALCS sweep over the Yankees accordingly. . . .

Houston will likely take greater caution celebrating this time around, after pitcher Lance McCullers had his start pushed back after injuring his arm on a champagne bottle follwing the team's sweep the Mariners in the ALDS. Another player inadvertently hit the bottle on McCullers' elbow, causing a laceration and swelling.

The spectacle has now become commonplace between the Astros and Yankees. Despite a new manager, general manager and largely different roster, the Astros have eliminated the Yankees from the ALCS in 2017, 2019, and again this year.
Abbey Mastracco, Daily News:
Aaron Boone was "thrilled" to have right-hander Nestor Cortes on the mound . . . But Cortes' night didn't last long as he was removed in the third inning with a left groin injury right after giving up a game-tying three-run homer to Jeremy Peña.

Cortes' fastball velocity dropped to 88-89 in the second inning but he had only faced two above the minimum, giving up a single to Peña in the first and walking Kyle Tucker in the second. He started the third inning with a 3-0 lead. . . .

He walked Martin Maldonado to lead off the third. The trainers came out to visit him before the second batter, Jose Altuve, who also drew a walk. It was the first time Cortes had walked back-to-back hitters all season. He then hung a slider up to Peña, who launched it into the left field seats to tie the game.

Wandy Peralta then came out of the bullpen to replace him and the Astros took a run off of him to go up 4-3. Cortes was charged with three earned runs on two hits, walked three and struck out two in a little more than two innings.
Joel Sherman, Post:
Hal Steinbrenner can't just offer familiar blather about not meeting the ultimate goal and being disappointed to fail the fans and promise to redouble efforts in the quest for a 28th championship. Then after a cooling-off period, have essentially all the same people back to do all the same things. 

You can kid yourself when you take the Astros to seven games in an ALCS or six games, but after being swept by the Astros, is this really going to be the plan again? Is Steinbrenner really going to be fine with a pattern in which the Yankees are good enough to beat up an AL Central patsy in the playoffs and then go all fetal position when the October degree of difficulty rises

Or does Steinbrenner have to reassess how he allows his money to be spent and whether his demands to curtail spending in certain times led to worse spending in a Plan B — hello, Josh Donaldson as an example? 

Does he have to ask if Brian Cashman, with his contract expiring at the end of this month, has to either be replaced or shake up his baseball operations group. The Astros beat the Yankees in 2017 to win the AL pennant with a different GM, manager and largely different roster. They moved from league champion to league champion over the Yankees in 2017, 2019 and now 2022. They evolved. The Yankees devolved

Does Steinbrenner have to reassess whether Aaron Boone, an offseason after receiving a three-year extension, is a dexterous enough strategist who can win real-time battle after real-time battle in the postseason? Getting ejected over borderline ball-strike calls is not enough. 

And Steinbrenner will have to decide just how deep he wants to reach into the family coffers to retain Aaron Judge . . . 

The Yankees are good enough to get here. . . . That said, this is not good enough. It is not a sample size of a year or two now. Postseason after postseason they melt when another real heavyweight shows up in the playoffs

Houston eliminated the Yankees for the third time in six seasons in the ALCS. . . .

These teams played 11 times this year and 10 of them were decided by three or fewer runs. Close. 

Except that the Astros won nine of the 11 games. The teams played 99 innings against each other in 2022. The Yankees led after just five, including three in Game 4. But the Astros just kept erasing the leads Sunday. They did everything little and small better. They are just better. 

They are better at drafting and developing players such as Jeremy Pena, the kind of shortstop who could seamlessly replace Carlos Correa. The Yankees . . . ignored Correa and other free-agent shortstops and made a trade that worsened as the season progressed . . . And Donaldson is still owed $29 million between 2023 salary and a 2024 buyout. 

The Astros are better at international signings . . .

They are better at game planning and audibling within the game plans and rebounding from postseason punches. . . .

[S]omething feels stale about [this team] now — as if it can go so far, but not far enough. 
Ian O'Connor, Post:
It has long been a crying shame in sports that team owners get to do all the firing, and never face termination themselves. Owners love to say accountability starts at the top of an organization, at least until things go south and it is time to assign the blame. 

Last year, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner publicly ripped his players for lack of performance. . . . [He] said he was aggravated, frustrated, and angry at the athletes assembled by GM Brian Cashman, and guided by manager Aaron Boone, for doing a lousy imitation of a cohesive and motivated team. 

"The majority of the responsibility, whether it's inconsistent offense or bad baserunning, that responsibility lies with the players," Steinbrenner said then. "They're the ones on the field. They need to fix this problem … because everyone, including our fan base, rightfully so, has had enough quite frankly. It's enough." 

More than 15 months later, the fan base has still had enough. The same paying customers . . . are sick and tired of the Yankees saying they willingly signed up to be judged in October, only to repeatedly fail in October. Those fans are sick and tired of an organization that has spent as much time embracing excuses as it does seeking solutions

They are sick and tired of Hal Steinbrenner's leadership. 

Truth is, after the Astros finished off their ALCS sweep . . . making it 13 straight years that the Yankees have failed to reach the World Series, Steinbrenner deserves to be fired. He is lucky that there isn't anyone in position to call him into the office and deliver the grim news.

So the talk this week will be about Boone's status, and Cashman's status, and whether it's time to bid farewell to both. . . .

Can anyone at this point picture Boone holding high a World Series trophy and riding a float under a ticker-tape rain in the Canyon of Heroes? Does the manager inspire any kind of faith after his Game 3 bullpen decisions against the Guardians and Astros, and after he blamed the Game 2 loss at Minute Maid Park on an open roof? . . .

Does Hal Steinbrenner want to win? Sure, everyone wants to win. 

But he doesn't live to win like his old man did. He wants to play the game within the boundaries of financial restraint. . . . "That's my job every year, to make sure we're financially responsible." . . . 
Born on third base, and taking a conservative lead off the bag, Hal Steinbrenner doesn't have the same hunger, the same stomach for the fight. . . .

Hal Steinbrenner's program is broken, and it's too bad someone isn't available to fire him for that.

Allie Griffin, Post:
Yankees fans gave a Bronx welcome to Sen. Ted Cruz during the team's loss against the Houston Astros Sunday night.

Several spectators flipped the bird at the Texas senator as he waved to a sea of fans in the bleachers of the Bronx stadium, according to a photo of the interaction posted to Twitter.

Three fans raised their middle fingers in the direction of a waving Cruz and a fourth gave him a big thumbs down, the photo shows.

Cruz . . . posted a grinning selfie of himself in seats behind home plate earlier in the night. . . .

Cruz's photo post garnered less than 3,000 likes, while the crude salute pic raked in more than 30,000 likes . . .

"Us Astros fans and Yankees fans don't see eye to eye much, but I appreciate the hell out of this and agree wholeheartedly. Respect," a Twitter user named MJ replied.
Note: I went to dozens of games in the Bronx over nearly 20 years and I can safely say that they may give Cruz the finger, but many Yankee fans support all the same garbage that Cruz supports.

The Daily News has been shitting on Cruz since the start of 2016:

October 23, 2022

YED 2022


Yankee Elimination Days
YED 2001 - November 4
YED 2002 - October 5
YED 2003 - October 25
YED 2004 - October 20
YED 2005 - October 10
YED 2006 - October 7
YED 2007 - October 8
YED 2008 - September 23
YED 2010 - October 22
YED 2011 - October 6
YED 2012 - October 18
YED 2013 - September 25
YED 2014 - September 24
YED 2015 - October 6
YED 2016 - September 29
YED 2017 - October 21
YED 2018 - October 9
YED 2019 - October 19
YED 2020 - October 9
YED 2021 - October 5
YED 2022 - October 23
Yankee Elimination Day is the day the New York Yankees (a) are mathematically eliminated from making the postseason or (b) lose a postseason series. Since this often happens late at night, YED is celebrated the following day. Bottoms up!

Phillies And Astros Can Both Advance To World Series Today

Padres   - 000 100 200 - 3  5  0
Phillies - 002 000 02x - 4  6  0
The Padres took a 3-2 lead in the seventh thanks to a couple of hits and three wild pitches from  Seranthony Dominguez (the first reliever ever to do so in a postseason inning). The Phillies rallied in the eighth on J.T. Realmuto's leadoff single followed by NLCS MVP Bryce Harper's opposite-field home run. The Phillies won the series in five games and are the 2022 National League champions.

The 2022 Yankees are hoping for inspiration by watching the 2004 Yankees choke worse than any baseball team has ever choked before? . . . lol . . . 2004 is the gift that never stops giving!

The Phillies and Astros have a chance to win their respective pennants today.

Philadelphia leads the Padres 3-1 (Game 5 is at 2:30 ET) and Houston leads the Yankees 3-0 (Game 4 is at 7:00 ET). Yankee Haters around the world are tingling in anticipation of YED.

Speaking of the soon-to-be-wintering Yankees, they have been held to six hits or fewer in each of their last 10 postseason games. That is (easily) a major league record.

Consecutive Postseason Games With Six Hits Or Fewer

10 - Yankees (October 9, 2020 to October 22, 2022)
7 - Twins (October 9, 1965 to October 5, 1969)
6 - Cardinals (October 20-27, 1985)
5 - 10 teams tied (none of them are the Red Sox, by the way)
The Yankees are 3-7 in those games, with a batting average of .159 (49-for-309).

In this ALCS, New York's noodle bats are 12-for-94 (.128/.212/.223) with 41 strikeouts.


An ultra-high definition photograph of Aaron Judge's fly out in Game 2 indicates that the Yankees may have been correct when they were whining about "the wind" keeping the ball from being a home run:

Schadenfreude 335 (A Continuing Series)

YED is one game away!
Astros  - 020 003 000 - 5  6  0 
Yankees - 000 000 000 - 0 3 1

Shemp threw out the first pitch.

Later on, Judge was booed by the ever-classy and loyal fans (who started heading for the exits at the end of the sixth inning).

Dan Martin, Post:
The last two times they faced the Astros in the ALCS, the Yankees lost tough, close series.

This year, they were determined to forge a different outcome.

Now, they are perilously close to succeeding, just not in the way they had hoped.

After two narrow losses to start the ALCS in Houston, the Yankees returned home Saturday and were outclassed by the Astros, pushing them to the brink of being swept out of the playoffs.

They couldn't hit, they couldn't field, and Gerrit Cole was outpitched by Cristian Javier in a 5-0 loss in Game 3 in The Bronx.

That has left the Yankees in the unenviable position of having to win four straight games . . .

Only one MLB team has managed to do it: The 2004 Red Sox, who beat the Yankees in four straight games en route to the title. . . .

Cole gave up a two-run homer to Chas McCormick after a two-out error by Harrison Bader in the second inning. Then, Cole left with the bases loaded and no one out in the sixth and all three runners scored.

The offense, in a rut for much of the playoffs, got even worse on Saturday, much to the dismay of the sold out Yankee Stadium crowd. . . .

[A] key mistake in the outfield burned the Yankees in the second inning.

With two outs, Christian Vázquez hit a fly ball to right-center that either Bader or Aaron Judge should have caught easily. A near-collision between the two, however, caused Bader to drop the ball.

The inning was extended, and McCormick sent an opposite-field shot to right that hit the top of the fence and bounced over for a two-run homer, which traveled just 335 feet and put the Yankees in a 2-0 hole.

Cole was yanked in the sixth inning, after 96 pitches, with the bases loaded and no one out in favor of Lou Trivino.

Trey Mancini hit a sacrifice fly to left and Vázquez followed with a two-run single to make it 5-0, as Houston's 7-8-9 hitters drove in all five runs.

Joel Sherman, Post:
Imagine "Citizen Kane" without being shown what "Rosebud" is. "Friends" without resolution on Ross and Rachel. "The Great Gatsby" without its final page.

[Hi, JoS here. Again. Sorry to interrupt the fun, but I wanted to point out that Sherman's references here are old even for a middle-aged, white sportswriter: Citizen Kane came out in 1941, The Great Gatsby was published in 1925 (97 years ago!), and Friends ended in that wonderful year of 2004. Including a pop culture reference from this century is unusually recent, but it's off-set by the other two, which are from 97 and 81 years ago.]

Is Aaron Judge's unforgettable season really going to end so forgettably? Is the Judge Era in Yankees baseball going to be remembered for never even reaching the World Series because they notably could never solve the Astros? 

Judge . . . has been no October weightlifter. Instead, he is a co-conspirator to historic offensive ineptness. But, due to his stature, he is no sidekick. Judge is the face of it as his regular season of boom descends into a postseason of boo — at Yankee Stadium. . . .

Actually, this ALCS going as expected based on history. The Yankees have played 10 games against the Astros this season, and the only two they won — hell, the only two in which they led after any of the 91 innings between these teams — came on Judge walk-off hits in two late-June games. Then, like now, the Yankees go as Judge goes.

Thus, the Yankees are about to go home. . . .

[Game 3] will not be part of Judge's Yankeeography. His miscommunication on defense with Harrison Bader helped gift the Astros two runs in the second inning and, with one final chance to perhaps launch the Yankees back into the game/series, he grounded out with two on and two outs in the eighth. That left him 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in this game, 1-for-12 in this series . . .

For the third time in six years — the entire Judge era — the Yankees are facing elimination in the ALCS by the Astros. Their excuses (sign-stealing, buzzers, opening of a retractable roof) are like their performance against Houston — getting worse. They lost in seven games in 2017, six games in 2019 and are near humiliation this time. . . .

[T]he Yanks had one hit through eight innings before two meaningless ninth-inning singles. Cristian Javier had pitched the best game against the Yankees this season, throwing the first seven innings of a June 25 no-hitter with 13 strikeouts. He only threw a first-pitch strike to 6 of 19 hitters Saturday, yet still pitched 5.1 shutout innings as the Yankees could do nothing even ahead in the count.

During the season, Judge magic often saved them at these times. But he is now 5-for-32 with 14 strikeouts this postseason. Against Houston, he has a single and no walks in three games, and the Yankees are hitting .128 with four total runs.

You need to be neither jury nor Judge to see the obvious. The Yankees' only path to overcome a superior team living in their heads would be on Judge's broad shoulders.

But the regular season ended nearly three weeks ago.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
Aaron Judge heard the boos Saturday night and he understood them. For the third time in the last six years, the Yankees have been on a collision course with the Astros for a chance to go to the World Series for the first time in 14 years. . . . [This could be] the third time the Bombers are bounced in the American League Championship Series. . . .

Only one team in the history of baseball has come back from losing the first three games of a seven-game series; the 2004 Red Sox came back to beat the Bombers. . . .

In the eight postseason games, 18 of the 22 earned runs [the Yankees] have scored were via the home run. Saturday was the second straight game when they did not hit a home run. They were 14-26 in games without a home run. As a team, they are 12-for-94 (.129) with four runs, five extra-base hits, nine walks and 41 strikeouts. . . . 

Josh Donaldson . . . struck out to end the game to a chorus of boos from those who remained of the crowd announced at 47,569

The Yankees . . . have scored the fewest runs and have the lowest slugging percentage and OPS of the four teams still in the playoffs. . . .

Judge . . . is 5-32 with 2 homers and 14 strikeouts in eight playoff games. Anthony Rizzo is 1-for-9 . . . in the three games of the ALCS. Giancarlo Stanton . . . is 3-for-12. Matt Carpenter made contact Saturday, snapping his streak of eight straight strikeouts in his first postseason eight at-bats. He [is now] 1-for-9 in this series with seven strikeouts. Donaldson is 1-for-9 with seven strikeouts and Gleyber Torres is 1-for-11 . . .

Matthew Roberson, Daily News:
Cole's night finished with some light drama, as the Yankees held a mound visit after the walk to Tucker, and when Yuli Gurriel's subsequent single put runners at every base, a second one made his removal mandatory.

"I was not ready to come out," Cole said in one of many short postgame answers. . . .

As for Cole, the tough loss puts his team in a situation where the odds are historically stacked against them. A total of 39 teams in major league history have fallen behind 0-3 in a postseason series. The 2004 Red Sox are still the only one that has come back to win. . . .

Pitching in defense of hitters that have been zombie-like all series is no easy task for a pitcher either. That's what Cole, Severino and Jameson Taillon have had to do in the first three ALCS games. Cole said they knew [they] would have to do everything in their power to help out [and pick up] a Yankee offense that is down horrendously. . . .

One group that absolutely was not going to provide that pick-me-up on Saturday were the fed up Yankee fans. The stadium started gradually clearing out after the Astros' put up a three-spot in the sixth inning and by the end of the game, all the noise coming from the seats was characterized by anger. . . .

The people who are planning to attend Game 4 bought tickets for a baseball game, but they might end up getting a funeral instead.

Larry Brooks, Post:
[T]he Yankees could have thrown a four-armed monster of Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, David Cone and Allie Reynolds at Houston and it would not have mattered, unless baseball savants could devise a way to win a game without scoring a run.

There is fear and loathing in Mr. Judge's neighborhood following the 5-0 Game 3 defeat in The Bronx that left the Yankees on the verge of extinction as soon as Sunday. . . . 

[T]he Yankees, waiting 'til next year … after year, after year, after year … since their last World Series title in 2009, will have to wait one more day to try and get so much as a single victory over their tormentors, who fair, square and otherwise, previously eliminated them from postseason play in 2015, 2017 and 2019. . . .

The Yankees need to play pristine ball to beat the Astros. They did not play pristine ball in Game 3.

The debatable call by Boone to remove Cole (the kind that adds up in the postseason) became academic when the Yankees . . . had one hit through the first 8.2 innings.

[In Houston's fifth inning] A walk and a flare that dropped into short right followed a hard-hit double to left. Boone had a choice between sticking with his ace or giving the ball to a reliever. He chose the latter, calling on Lou Trivino. . . .

The bases were cleared two batters into Trivino's stint after a sac fly and a two-run single. . . . Trivino . . . was booed after the inning. . . . 

If you want to make the case that the Yankees might have been able to fight back had Cole remained in and wriggled out of the jam, well, you would sound like an individual talking about open roofs and exit velocity.

The Yankees have amassed 12 hits over three games, which includes a pair of two-out ninth-inning singles Saturday. They cut their strikeouts down to 10 after racking up 17 and 13, respectively, in Houston. Whoop-de-do.

Justin Tasch, Post:

Michael Kay clearly wasn't a fan of Aaron Boone's decision to pull Gerrit Cole in the sixth inning of the Yankees' Game 3 loss to the Astros on Saturday.

While the Yankees offense was listless in the 5-0 defeat that saw them fall behind 3-0 in the ALCS, the game was 2-0 when Cole loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth. He was at 96 pitches at that point, and Boone lifted Cole for Lou Trivino, who allowed all three inherited runners to score.

"I don't get it," Kay said on the YES Network postgame show. "I heard [Boone's] answer, he said 'We're down 2-0, we have to keep it right there.' Well don't you trust Gerrit Cole more than Lou Trivino? Even Gerrit Cole at [96] pitches, I trust him to save my season. Not a knock on Lou Trivino, but that's not even your top reliever. That doesn't make sense.

"The only thing that would've made sense was if Cole was hurt. He's not hurt. He's your ace. He won those two games against the Guardians. He's why you're in the American League Championship Series, and you take him out there because you didn't want the game to get out of hand? He's the guy [who] can keep it from getting out of hand."

Mike Vaccaro, Post:
For large swaths of the summer, both the Yankees and Mets not only looked like the best team in baseball, but also they both seemed custom-designed for October success. Between them, they won 200 games. That never has happened before in New York City, going back to 1962. . . .

Everyone, for almost six straight months, was in a good mood. Baseball made them that way.

Is it really this close to being over?

Is it truly possible that by the close of business Sunday, both ballparks could be shuttered, the padlocks fastened to the front doors, both teams leaving October in a hail of strikeouts and weak pop flies and runners stranded and rallies foiled? Can that be so?

Say it ain't so.

It's so.

The Yankees lost 5-0 to the Astros on Saturday in Game 3 of the ALCS, and that nudged their toes right to the edge of the abyss, nudged New York's fun-filled baseball season to the brink of extinction . . . Their scuffling offense continued to scuffle, and the Astros made them pay for it.

The Astros, in fact, made them pay for just about everything. There was the lazy fly ball in the second that Harrison Bader dropped after he was no doubt jarred by the onrushing presence of Aaron Judge. A few pitches later, Chas McCormick found the short porch in right field for a 2-0 lead.

Four innings later, Aaron Boone took the ball away from Gerrit Cole, sitting on 96 pitches, in a bases-loaded jam, and gave it instead to Lou Trivino. Two batters later it was 5-0. And the way the Yankees' bats presently look, that might well have been 15-0. Or 50-0. . . .

Saturday, the Yankees managed all of one hit against the Astros across the first 8.2 innings. Even when Houston showed a smidgen of largesse — Hunter Brown walking the first two hitters of the eighth inning — the best they could do was get a man to third before going down meekly.

Boos rained down then, and that has become the sad soundtrack of this postseason . . . boos in The Bronx. . . .

And here we are, at the brink, at the abyss, at the precipice. . . .

This baseball season promised so much to deliver this little.
Jon Heyman, Post:
The Astros lucked their way to yet another victory in Game 3, and these lucky dogs are now only a win away from going to their fourth fortunate World Series in six serendipitous years.

They've now beaten the Yankees three straight games in the ALCS and 8 of 10 times these two American League powerhouses have hooked up this year.

The Astros won all six games they've played this postseason after somehow lucking their way to 106 wins in the regular season.

And they're one victory away from knocking the Yankees out of the postseason derby for the fourth time in eight years.

The Astros . . . were lucky enough to play a near-perfect game and outplay the Yankees in every facet . . . And also lucky to be playing a team with a team with no .300 hitters this postseason (and five guys batting below .100), a DH who hasn't had a hit in a month and a rotation of three shortstops, two of whom barely played that key position one game in the bigs before this ALCS.

Can you believe how lucky these sons of a gun are?

No one knows how they do it. . . . 

Sure, the Astros have reached six straight league championship series. But that's too small a sample size for me. I'm going to have to see them do it many more years before I start to consider whether I might believe some of it.

The wind undoubtedly aided the Astros in Game 2, and this time it was the short porch. Chas McCormick's two-run home run even struck the top of the wall before flying over. . . .

The Astros' luck seems to be a never-ending thing, as it's gone on all series, and really, over the eight years these teams have been facing each in October. . . .

The Yankees were hitting .172 this postseason entering the game. Never mind the 30 times they struck out in the first two games of this series, they keep hitting close enough to Astros for them to produce outs. . . .

Come to think of it, maybe the Astros aren't lucky.

Maybe it's just that the Yankees are extremely unlucky — to keep having to play the Astros.

Abbey Mastracco, Daily News:
Cristian Javier had one-hit the Yankees through 5.1 and was pulled after Anthony Rizzo reached on a walk. The Astros [leading 5-0] went to the bullpen for Judge, bringing out right-hander Hector Neris.
Judge struck out on three straight pitches, looking at a fastball for strike three. He walked back to the dugout to a chorus of boos. Judge went 0-for-4 against Javier, Neris and former Mets' pitcher Rafael Montero and the Yankees lost 5-0 to go down 3-0 in the series. . . .

This isn't the first time Judge has received a Bronx Cheer during the postseason. The slugger heard plenty of them in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Cleveland Guardians . . . 

With fans eager to see their team . . . finally get over the Houston hump, they were expecting more from their record-breaking star. Judge is just 1-for-11 against the Astros through three games and 5-for-30 with 14 strikeouts and only a single walk in the playoffs overall. . . .

Judge looks more than "a little tired," according to an AL scout. The adrenaline can only do so much. It can't make up for altered timing and some of the other hangover-like effects that often plague hitters during slumps. . . .

To make matters worse, [Judge] may be playing some of his final games in pinstripes, set to become a free agent in just a few weeks. . . . These last few at-bats . . . could leave a negative impression on fans as he heads into an uncertain winter.
Phil Mushnick, Post:
It's not an unreasonable request. All you want to do is watch the ballgame. But … 

It's another of those systemic epidemics, no good reason for it, and easily fixed or treated — like a runny nose, a loose screw or John Smoltz. But it persists and even worsens as part of the plan. 

Wednesday afternoon on Fox, Game 2 of the Phillies-Padres NLCS. Happy to have a game to watch. Initially. . . . Philly's Matt Vierling hit a high fly to right. 

Clearly, right fielder Juan Soto, even while wearing sunglasses, lost the ball in the sun. As he ducked to avoid a beaning, the ball fell, a run scored, Vierling wound up on second. 

It was nothing we hadn't seen before. It was self-evident, self-explanatory, not an uncommon occurrence in daylight baseball. . . . 

But not these days, not with Smoltz and many like him in the booth. Smoltz did what he does, and what he has done since Fox hired him in 2014: He applied far more analysis to the episode than it was worth, again driving discriminate viewers batty before their fannies could crease an easy chair. 

Ready for it? Here goes: 

"Yeah, we talked about it, and that sun hit him in the absolute perfect spot at the last minute. He tried to shade it with the glove, but he can't pick it up. Sometimes you've got to get on the side of the sun, which is hard to do when it's directly pointing in your eyes. He tried everything he did. He had the sunglasses and it was unfortunate, really, for the Padres.

At that point Smoltz had to stop to draw a breath, but he wasn't done. 

"It's the worst feeling in the world. I mean, you're trying your best to track that ball, and you've got to move and track it. And then, one, you look back to the ball and all you see is a glare, the sun, obviously.

Yes, obviously. Still, Smoltz wasn't done: 

"The reason the right fielder, I think, has the hardest ability to do just this is that it's directly at him. He has no way to really shield it. The center fielder can shield it, he has the angles. Obviously, the left fielder can do the same thing. But the right fielder, based on where that sun is, looks like it's a direct impact.

In other words, Soto lost the ball in the sun. 

And then back to Smoltz analyzing every pitch.