The Houston Astros look to have narrowly averted disaster before their third game of the MLB season.
Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reported on Saturday that star infielder Jose Altuve was struck by a line drive off the bat of teammate Yuli Gurriel during batting practice before that day’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Altuve initially appeared to be in noticeable pain but returned to warm up like usual with his teammates after briefly retreating to the clubhouse.
The former AL MVP was also in good enough shape to take his customary spot in the starting lineup as the game kicked off. Rome did add though that Altuve was sporting a sleeve on his right arm that he did not normally wear.
The 28-year-old Altuve batted .316 with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs last season and has gone 2-for-7 with a solo homer through the first two games of 2019. While he appears to dodge a bullet here, we did see a similar batting practice mishap happen with another AL West team in recent months.
Jose Altuve is a six-time All-Star, former MVP, and World Series champion, but he’s probably won’t be getting many accolades for his product pitching.
On Wednesday, the Houston Astros star sent a cryptic tweet indicating that he was fed up and declaring that he was “quitting.”
This is frustrating!!! I can’t take it anymore. No más. I’m quitting!
— Jose Altuve (@JoseAltuve27) November 21, 2018
The next day, Altuve revealed the big mystery: his tweet was part of an ad campaign for DIRECTV. A 30-second spot that Altuve also tweeted out was based around the infielder causing a mad panic when he was overheard saying that he was quitting, only to then reveal that he was merely quitting cable. Take a look:
— Jose Altuve (@JoseAltuve27) November 22, 2018
The fake-out was groan-inducing at best and cringeworthy at worst, leading to some funny Twitter reactions. Here were some of the best ones:
— Matt Leal (@aggiematt235) November 22, 2018
— Edith (@ELermaFaltine) November 22, 2018
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has reportedly wasted no time trying to rectify the right knee problem that bothered him for the bulk of the season.
According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, Altuve underwent right knee surgery on Friday, a day after his Astros were eliminated from the American League Championship Series.
BREAKING NEWS: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who battled knee problems in the second half of the season and into the playoffs, underwent surgery on his right knee Friday, a source tells https://t.co/mDPUQE6013
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) October 20, 2018
It’s not a huge surprise. The injury has been a lingering one, and it forced him into his first career DL appearance during the regular season. It was so troublesome for him in the playoffs that he couldn’t play second base and was relegated to DHing during the final three games of the ALCS, and made even worse by the fact that he aggravated it during Game 4. It may well have been a factor in a playoff series that saw him hit just .250 with only one extra-base hit.
The Houston Astros had plenty of chances to win Game 4 of the ALCS on Wednesday night, but it had to hurt that they lost by two after having a potential two-run home run taken away due to fan interference. While Jose Altuve is never really one to complain, the Astros star can’t help but feel like the wrong call was made.
Following Houston’s heartbreaking 8-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox, Altuve said he was “upset” over umpire Joe West calling interference on the field and the play being upheld.
Jose Altuve: “It’s hard for me to say something when it doesn’t matter what I say, they’re not going to change it. Normally, I don’t get mad about umpires calls. That one, I was a little upset.”
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) October 18, 2018
Most would agree that the Red Sox caught a break, so you can’t blame Altuve or any other Astros player who feels the team was cheated out of two runs. Replays appeared to show that the ball was over the wall as Betts was trying to make a play on it, meaning it should not have been interference since the fan did not reach over into the field of play. There simply wasn’t enough replay evidence to overturn West’s call.
Altuve and his teammates can steam about the call all they want, but they still have another game to play on Thursday in hopes of keeping their season alive. Their best bet is to move on as quickly as possible and leave the complaining to people like Kate Upton.
The Houston Astros declined to eject the fan who controversially interfered with Jose Altuve’s batted ball in right field during Game 4 of the ALCS on Wednesday.
According to Boston Red Sox reporter Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, Astros security only gave a warning to fan Troy Caldwell rather than eject him.
Astros security is not ejecting the fan. He’s getting a warning instead.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) October 18, 2018
Caldwell reached for a ball hit by Altuve during the first inning that appeared to be heading over the wall in right field for a 2-run home run. Caldwell’s attempt to catch the ball interfered with Mookie Betts’ ability to catch it, and the ball ended up being knocked back into the field of play.
— MLB (@MLB) October 18, 2018
Umpire Joe West called it fan interference on the field, which would make Altuve out. MLB replay was unable to find evidence to overturn the call, so they let it stand, and Altuve lost a homer.
The distinction between whether fan interference results in a batter being out or not depends on where the interference occurs; if it’s within the field of play, then a batter is out due to the interference. If the interference occurs in the stands, the batter would not be out.
A fan in Houston may have robbed Jose Altuve of a 2-run home run during the bottom of the first inning of ALCS Game 4 at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday night on a highly controversial play.
Altuve was up with one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the first inning. Altuve hit a ball deep to right field that appeared to be heading over the wall. Mookie Betts had the ball measured and leaped to make a catch, but a fan pushed his glove closed at the last minute, preventing Betts from robbing the home run.
The ball was knocked back onto the field by the fans, leading Altuve to get a double. However, umpire Joe West called it fan interference on the field, which would make Altuve out.
— MLB (@MLB) October 18, 2018
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 18, 2018
The play was immediately reviewed. Upon review, the call on the field made by umpire crew chief Joe West stood but was not confirmed, which is an important distinction signifying they could not find overwhelming evidence to overturn the original call.
Altuve being called out put George Springer back at first with two outs in the bottom of the first.
There is a big question about whether or not the fans had reached into the field of play to interfere or whether the interference occurred in the stands. By the rules, if the interference occurred in the field of play, the batter would be out, but otherwise, it would have been a home run.
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) October 18, 2018
The Red Sox caught a break with the way West made the initial call on the field.
The MLB playoff race can conceivably be boiled down to about 12 teams, with one or two more on the fringes but looking less realistic by the day. Those 12 teams are in different spots. Some will feel better than others about their chances of making an impact in the playoffs, but each team has at least one player upon whom they can rely.
Here’s a look at each contender’s most important player.
Arizona Diamondbacks — Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
For a team that has often been known for having a powerhouse offense, the Diamondbacks have at times struggled to get men on base this season. That has not been a problem for Goldschmidt, who remains one of the game’s more overlooked stars. For the fifth time in seven seasons, he has surpassed 30 home runs and is the centerpiece of Arizona’s offense. When he does well, they do well.