The Houston Astros can blame a lot of things for the Astros loss to the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
As he normally does, Justin Verlander pitched well until the sixth inning of the game. Daniel Descalso led off the sixth with a walk after getting two hits earlier in the game. Sometimes hitters see a pitcher pitches better than others do, it was Delscalso’s night. But it was A.J. Pollock who delivered the fatal blow against the Astros.
As Verlander told reporters after the game, Pollock has been one of the best hitters in the National League. Pollock hit a triple, tieing the game. When George Springer got the ball, he threw it into third base to try to get Pollock out, but instead, the ball got passed Alex Bregman, and he headed home. Luckily, Marwin Gonzalez recovered the ball and threw it to Max Stassi for the out.
Not so fast.
Or so we thought, the umpire then called Pollock safe at home plate claiming fielders obstruction by Bregman at third base. When they were looking at the replay, Bregman was in front of the runner, but he was attempting to catch the ball. It wasn’t until the ball got away that the umpire called obstruction on Bregman. There was contact after Pollock started running home, slowing him down.
After looking at the replay, it was actually Pollock trying to prevent Bregman from going to get the ball. He hooks Bregman’s leg as he starts running home causing him to stumble, taking him out of the play. After the game, A.J. Hinch was not happy with the interpretation of the obstruction rule in that situation. Bregman did everything he was supposed to do to retrieve the ball. The best part was when he asked what Bregman was supposed to do, just disappear?
It was a rough way to lose the game in which Verlander pitched a beauty. However, you are going to lose games like that. It just turned out that the call by the umpire affected the outcome. The offense also stranded Jose Altuve at third base with no outs after a triple. While the Diamondback scored another run later and the Astros didn’t, it was a momentum switching call. The umpires later said that they were not aware that Pollock initiated the contact.
Bregman tries to be funny.
As you have to do in baseball, you have to move on to the next game. In tonight’s game, Bregman and Gonzalez were runners on third and first respectively. There were two outs with Evan Gattis at the plate, and the catcher was able to catch Gonzalez off first base. Gonzalez was going to be tagged out in a rundown anyway, so Bregman tried to go home. The Athletics then shifted focus to preventing the run from scoring, so they tried to get Bregman down in a rundown.
Knowing that he was going to be out, Bregman decided to try something. As he was running by the catcher Jonathan Lucroy, Bregman initiates contact with him. It was not the same situation, but Bregman had the presence of mind to learn a new trick. After he was tagged out, Lucroy was yelling saying that Bregman initiated contact. Bregman just looked at Lucroy with this mischievous smile.
That’s Bregman for you!
***Stats from MLB.com***