Millions of Yankees fans felt a sinking feeling as they watched Carlos Correa hit a walk-off home run in Game 2 of the ALCS. As I saw the baseball land in the seats, I kept repeating the phrase, “we had them.”
Had it been foretold last week that the Yankees would earn a split in Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS in Houston, the overwhelming majority of Yankee fans would have been thrilled. The idea of taking a 1-1 series back to New York was heaven on Earth for many fans.
Though this hope became a reality, the outcome has lost some of its grandeur, due in large part to how Game 2 was lost.
To quickly recap, the Astros jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning after an RBI double by Carlos Correa. However, James Paxton limited the damage by striking out the following two batters.
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After Paxton was shaky to begin the third inning, Aaron Boone replaced him with Chad Green, who was on his game and kept the score 1-0. Meanwhile, Aaron Judge hit a two-run home run off of Justin Verlander to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
In the fifth inning, Boone brought in Adam Ottavino to face George Springer. Ottavino hung a slider, Springer hit it a mile, and we had a tie ballgame.
The Yankees knocked Verlander out of the game in the seventh inning while the bats for both teams went quiet. Then came the bottom of the 11th inning, when J.A Happ served up a leadoff, game-winning home run to Correa. 3-2, Astros win.
Many will blame manager Aaron Boone for Sunday’s 11-inning 3-2 loss at Minute Maid Park. To be clear, I do not believe that Boone managed a perfect game.
However, to pin this one solely on the second-year skipper would be folly. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and we’ll analyze each “culprit.”