A few weeks back, Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman grabbed a few headlines for shaving his mustache in the middle of a game against the Kansas City Royals. Afterwards, when some suggested it was a superstitious move to break out of a slump (Bregman had nine hits in his previous 37 at-bats), the World Series Game 5 hero said "he just shaved it."
Whatever his motive was, it's worked, as Bregman has gone 24-for-64 since, jumping his batting average from .259 to .282. During that span he's hit eight home runs, collected 16 RBI and produced multiple walk-off hits, including perhaps the most bizarre one you'll see all season on Tuesday night. With one out in the bottom of the 11th and two runners on base, Bregman stepped to the plate in a 5-5 game against the Oakland Athletics, looking to be a hero once again. After getting behind in the count, he appeared to fight one off into foul territory, only for it to trickle back in play for what should have been an easy tag out for A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy. That was hardly the case:
Even after fumbling the ball off the umpire, Lucroy still could have made a routine throw to first for the second out, but he wound up hitting Bregman in the helmet, causing the ball to ricochet into foul territory and the winning run to score. Wild sequence, and one Lucroy hopes to forget.
"That was just a big mess, a big zoo behind the plate there. Hopefully I never have to see that again. That's the first time that's ever happened in my eight years. Hopefully it's the last time," said Lucroy.
As for Bregman, who just made his first All Star team, the man can do no wrong. This 5-footer was his second walk-off in the last 13 games, and it came on a night when he already hit two homers. He now has 19 on the season, matching his total for all of last year. It the Astros seventh win in their last eight games, keeping them in striking distance of the Boston Red Sox, who own the best record in the MLB. Meanwhile, my New York Yankees can't beat the pitiful Baltimore Orioles. Going to go cry now.