And Then There Were Two
The Houston Astros are your 2019 American League Champions!
I was at a wedding last night (congrats Crissy and Ben!), relieved that technology has brought us to a point where you can be pretty much anywhere and still have access to playoff baseball. Tucked away over at table three, I had the ESPN game cast pulled up on my phone, so I could quietly check the score from time to time throughout dinner. This wasn’t much of a surprise to our family and friends, who had all peppered me with greetings last night like “Tough break for the Twins” and “They’ll get them next year.” They know I love the Twins and that I abhor the Yankees, so nobody batted an eye that I was keeping tabs on the score of the game. I mean, I had added this pic to my insta-story as soon as we got to the reception:
The Astros took a first inning lead, thanks to a three-run homer from Yuli Gurriel. Gary Sanchez got a run back for the Yankees at the top of the next inning. Gio Urshela got a solo shot off of José Urquidy in the fourth. The Astros got their fourth run in the sixth, when Alex Bregman grounded out but scored José Altuve. And there the game sat for a few more innings. Meanwhite, at the wedding, dinner was over. Speeches and toasts were over. Dancing was underway. I was mingling with friends and family that I don’t get to see nearly often enough, but I was preoccupied with Game Six of the ALCS.
I excitedly high-fived my husband over the 4-2 Astros lead going into the top of the ninth, thinking they’ve got this! I went back to chatting with a cousin (shout out to Tricia!), peeking down at my phone every couple of minutes waiting for those last three outs to happen.
Wait. What the hell? How is the game tied?
DJ. Freaking. LeMahieu. That’s how.
LeMahieu hit a two run blast to right, and tied the game, giving hope to the Yankees to stay alive for a game seven. Forget the game cast, I now started streaming the game, since people are now good and drunk, dancing to the loud music, and nobody will care if I have the game on.
Aroldis Chapman came in for the Yankees, expected to pitch out of the ninth and into extra innings. He’s one of the best closers in the game. Remember when the Cubs rented him for the end of the 2016 Season and milked every last pitch out of him to win the World Series? (Forget how he blew the lead in Game Seven, I’m talking about Games Five and Six). He’s terrifying. He throws serious heat. He has neck tattoos, for crying out loud!
Chapman struck out Martin Maldonado in three pitches. One out. He easily got Josh Reddick to pop out in two pitches. Two out. Wait a second.. George Springer walks in five pitches. No big deal, this is Aroldis-effing-Chapman. He’ll get Jose Altuve.
Except no, he didn’t get him. On a 2-1 pitch, Altuve smashed one out and ended the Yankees’ season. My husband, my cousin’s husband (hey Nick!), and I all start “WOO-ing”, high fives abound, and a few people look at us like we’re nuts because nothing seemingly has happened over at table three to WOO about. But watch how it went down. Wouldn’t you woo, too?
And did you see the look on Chapman’s face? Poor guy. Utter disbelief. I’m not being facetious – I actually do feel sorry for him. Like, that smile is like “I just lost the ALCS and I’m dying inside.”
Altuve was awarded with the ALCS MVP award, and celebrations began. The Nationals and the Astros to begin the World Series on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. Fans of dominant pitching will (99.9% most likely) be treated to Gerritt Cole and Max Scherzer on the mound for their teams. I’m rooting for a nail-biting seven-game series, because both of these teams absolutely deserve to be there.