The inexperience of the Padres leads to an Astros victory in the tenth inning.
It is no secret that the Astros bats have cooled off this series versus the Padres. This was obvious with Carlos Correa hitting into three double plays last night. George Springer came within inches of a walk-off double in the tenth inning that went just foul.
The Padres limited the Astros to three runs so far in the series. The Astros only needed one run tonight, but they failed to capitalize on Bryan Mitchell’s wildness. He had six walks in the game while striking out only one. The Astros put the ball in play, just hit into tough outs.
Before we talk about the ending, let’s discuss Gerrit Cole. This guy just made franchise history with being the first pitcher to strike out 22 hitters in his first two games with the Astros. He looks like the dominating pitcher the Pirates wanted when they drafted him. The ranking may change as the year progresses, but he’s good.
Earlier in the game, Josh Reddick also made a great play against the scoreboard in left field. With the way Houston’s offense struggled, that could have changed the outcome. Not even Ken Giles could mess up this game. Instead, the 2-7 Padres had their own miscues in the tenth inning.
An odd tenth inning.
With today’s challenges system and video review, teams have changed how they instruct infielders to apply tags. In the old days, you would tag the runner and show the ball to the umpire. With the video review, teams teach them to maintain contact with the runner in case they pop up off the bag. It’s a basic lesson for any baseball player.
In the tenth inning, Brian McCann gets a base hit in the middle of the shift. Manager A.J. Hinch pinch runs Derek Fisher for McCann, this time while he was at first base. After a few pickoff attempts, Fisher attempts to steal second base, but the umpire called him out. But Hinch saw something different.
Looking at the replay, Fisher reaches this bag before the tag, but pops up after the slide. However, Carlos Asuaje did not maintain the tag on Fisher, who did come off the bag. With a team like the Astros, you can’t keep giving them breaks. This was the break that they needed, but not right away.
Jake Marisnick lined out to centerfielder Manuel Margot. Fisher stayed at second base. Springer comes within inches of hitting a walk-off double, then strikes out. Then steps up Alex Bregman, with a similar situation to Game 5 of the World Series. Fisher was on second base, but Bregman swung at ball four and popped it up in front of the plate.
Four people are around where the ball lands, but only one attempted to catch it. Eric Hosmer came racing in from first base but overruns the ball, and it falls behind him. As he puts his hands on his knees in frustration, Fisher is crossing the plate to win the game. Statcast gave it a zero probability of getting a hit via Daren Willman.
That should have been the catcher’s play, but everyone expected someone else to catch it. How many drills do infielders do in spring training to catch infield fly balls? Like in Game 5 of the World Series, the Astros players rush the field and rips open Bregman’s jersey. Yes, it was only a regular season game. But, sometimes being lucky is better than being good.
It was a great team win, but they need to get the win today. While it’s nice to sweep a series like we did with the Orioles, the focus needs to be on winning the series. We have Charlie Morton to watch today. Is he the best fifth starter in baseball? We shall see.
***Stats from MLB At-Bat App***