D idi Gregorius didn’t blame it on the October weather or wind currents or the possibility that the baseball itself has been de-juiced in the postseason.
Didi blamed it on Didi.
“I didn’t come through for the team when I had the opportunity,” Gregorius said after his fifth-inning attempt for a three-run home run in the Yankees’ 4-1 ALCS Game 3 loss to the Astros was caught at the rightfield wall by Josh Reddick.
“So I think most of the game is on me. I didn’t come through. So I was the one that failed, not the whole team.”
That’s not entirely true. Sure, Gregorius went 0-for-4, including a bases-loaded groundout to end the first inning, and has one hit in 12 at-bats in this series. And sure, Gregorius’ his drive would have given the Yankees a 3-2 lead against Gerrit Cole and may have earned him a spot in pinstriped postseason lore forever . But Gregorius wasn’t alone in leaving runners on base.
Overall, the Yankees went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on. Gregorius’ near-miss hurt the most, though. The Yankees had put two men on with two outs against Cole on Edwin Encarnacion’s double and a walk to Gleyber Torres.
Gregorius swung at the first pitch, a 99-mile-per-hour fastball, and sent it high to right. In the Year of the Home Run, that kind of swing in this ballpark produced more home runs than ever before.
But not this time.
“I know that I hit the barrel, but I missed it,” Gregorius said. “I was checking to see — maybe something was going to happen. But I knew I didn’t have all of it.”
Cole, who pitched seven shutout innings, said he initially thought the ball was going to be caught by second baseman Jose Altuve, who was stationed in short rightfield.
“So initially off the bat I wasn’t worried,” he said. “And then I turned around and realized where we were playing, so I got a little worried. Reddick kind of drifted back. He usually — When he’s got a bead on it, it keeps my blood pressure down a little bit. But the emotions kind of followed the fly ball, right? So it was kind of like low-to-freaking-out to not-so-worried-anymore.
“I don’t know if it was the ball or if it was the wind. It was a little chilly tonight. I’m not quite sure exactly how this park plays. I’ve only pitched here one other time. But it’s baseball. Did [Derek] Jeter’s ball really go out or did the guy reach over and pull it out? Come on.”
Good point. The Yankees could have used a Jeffrey Maier moment. Or a gust of wind. Or a juiced-up ball. Instead, they are down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.