Obviously, he’s partially to blame because he hung the slider that George Springer hit a mile to tie the contest. Ottavino probably should be demoted behind Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman in the ‘pen pecking order.
To say that Ottavino isn’t deserving of blame is foolhardy. But, he hasn’t pitched quite as poorly as some may think.
Going into Sunday’s game, the native New Yorker had pitched two scoreless innings in the playoffs with one coming against Minnesota and one coming against Houston. It just so happens that many will remember the two walks in the ALDS.
In September, his worst month, Ottavino pitched to an ERA slightly north of 3.00. So, to say that he has been “bad” lately simply isn’t true.
Man, was that play at the plate gut-wrenching. My first thought after seeing the action unfold was, “what are you thinking, Phil Nevin?”. However, after watching the replay, I’m convinced that sending D.J. LeMaheiu was absolutely the correct call.
The replay shows that when LeMaheiu is rounding third base, the ball had kicked off of Jose Altuve’s glove and Carlos Correa was nowhere to be seen. At that point, it looks like the ball is in the middle of nowhere with no one anywhere near it.
Of course, we know that Correa cleanly bare-handed the ball and fired a dart to home plate to nail LeMaheiu. However, everything needed to go right for the Astros to make that play. It just so happens that everything did go right, and the play was flawlessly executed.
Regardless, in that kind of a game, it’s vital to stealing a run whenever possible. Verlander was locked in and if that throw was slightly up the first baseline, there’s a good chance that the Yankees win 3-2. Gary Sanchez was on deck and at that point, he’d been struggling lately, to say the least. The Yanks took a reasonable chance and it simply did not work out.