You really will not believe this one. The Astros had a man on second with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning last night, against the Padres, in a scoreless game. Batter Alex Bregman popped a rising 3-2 fastball from Padres pitcher Phil Maton straight up in the air. Easy out! Guaranteed out. Right, guys?
Wooooooooooooooooooooooof. And there’s your ballgame! So what the hell happened? Watching the video, it looks like catcher A.J. Ellis spots the pop up and almost immediately points to first baseman Eric Hosmer; Maton spots it and takes a few not very convincing steps towards it; Hosmer, meanwhile, is trucking in all the way from first and, after taking a couple quick looks at his route, sure seems to be tracking the ball the whole way, right up until he appears to realize he’s overrun it, and slumps in defeat.
“That’s my ball all the way,” Hosmer said. “… I tried to run in and make up some ground. By the time I looked up, it was past me. It’s on me. That’s my ball.”
I think that’s what you’re supposed to say, but it’s hard to watch Ellis and Maton cede responsibility for the catch to a guy who had to cover more than twice as much ground to get under it and not feel like Hosmer is falling on his sword, here. Ellis, to his credit, would seem to agree:
“It was in that no-man’s land,” he said. “… In hindsight, I should have more aggressively went for it and gave us another option out there. I put Hos in a bad position having to run full speed. Definitely something I should have went for, been out there in the mix. No excuse. You catch the ball. You’ve got to go want to catch the ball right there.”
But even with the benefit of hindsight, confusion reigns:
Said Hosmer: “No, that’s too tough for a catcher to turn around and try to make that play.”
I’m not sure what Hosmer means by “turn around.” I guess Ellis wouldn’t want to be facing away from home plate when he made the catch? I’m not sure why Maton didn’t take three steps forward and wave everyone off. On the other hand, I’m quite sure you will not see a funnier loss the whole rest of this baseball season. Bravo, everyone.