Back in 2017, the Houston Astros played the New York Yankees in the ALCS and dropped the first game of the series at home.
Justin Verlander started Game 2 and threw a complete game, carrying a tie to the bottom of the ninth inning for the Astros. Jose Altuve singled to lead off that frame and then Carlos Correa hit a walk-off double to tie the series.
Now two years later, in a game that Verlander happened to start as well, Correa once again came up to the plate with a chance to win a game for his team.
This time, the shortstop delivered the second postseason walk-off hit of his career in grand fashion, drilling an opposite field home run in the 11th inning.
That home run was just the finishing touch to an amazing game by Correa.
In the second inning, Correa drove in the first run of the game with an RBI double that brought Alex Bregman home.
Verlander was excellent for the Astros, pitching against a very tough Yankees lineup. He threw 6 2/3 innings, yielding just five hits and two runs, with seven strikeouts.
The runs he allowed came on a two-run homer off the bat of Aaron Judge in the fourth inning.
While the Yankees took a 2-1 lead on Judge’s home run, George Springer hit a home run of his own in the fifth inning to tie the game.
Another turning point came in the sixth inning, when the Yankees were rallying against Verlander.
With two runners on, Brett Gardner ripped a base hit that ricocheted off of Jose Altuve, falling in no-man’s land up the middle.
The Yankees sent D.J. LeMahieu around to try to score on the play, but Correa once again came through in the clutch, making a heads-up play and gunning down the runner at the plate.
The game would remain tied until the 11th inning, with the Astros bullpen using five pitchers to get 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Then came Correa’s walk-off in the bottom of the 11th and the series is now all tied up as it heads to New York City for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Hopefully we are in for a long series, as this really might be a matchup of the two best teams in baseball.
Mike Shildt and Rocco Baldelli Named 2019 Managers of the Year
On Tuesday night, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced the two Managers of the Year for the 2019 season.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt took home the award for the National League and Rocco Baldelli won for the American League.
Both managers were in their first full season with their respective clubs, as Shildt was the Cardinals interim manager in 2018, after Mike Matheny was fired in the middle of the season.
Shildt has managed the Cardinals to a 135-95 record over his season and a half at the helm and guided them to the NL Central title in 2019.
Baldelli was a rookie manager with the Minnesota Twins, getting his first managerial gig at just 38 years old. He joins a long line of successful managers for the Twins, who have done well in winning this particular award.
Baldelli won 101 games in his first season, as his Twins’ offense led all of baseball in home runs. Minnesota won their first division crown since 2010 under Baldelli.
Unlike Baldelli, Shildt was not a former player, at least not at the professional ranks. With the great tradition of former player becoming managers, Shildt has definitely taken the road less traveled.
In doing so, he becomes the first person to ever be named Manager of the Year without playing professional baseball.
Now it is up to both of these managers to continue their success next season, as they each look to repeat as the winners of their respective Central Divisions.
Pete Alonso Named National League Rookie of the Year
Pete Alonso just completed one of the best rookie seasons in MLB history, bursting onto the scene as one of the top sluggers in the game in his first year with the New York Mets.
Alonso hit an MLB rookie record 53 home runs, breaking the mark that Aaron Judge set with the crosstown rival New York Yankees in 2017.
Because of his incredible season, Alonso has been named the National League Rookie of the Year for the 2019 season.
Alonso set single-season franchise records for home runs (53), extra-base hits (85) and total bases (348), along with countless franchise rookie records.
He was the Home Run Derby champ during the All-Star Break and lead the MLB in home runs overall.
Alonso becomes the second Mets position player to ever win the award, joining Darryl Strawberry who took home the honors in 1983.
The 24-year-old first baseman has quickly become the face of the franchise for the Mets, as he is well-spoken and respected, making him an absolute fan-favorite.
The New York Mets have a bright future with Alonso leading the charge, as he hopes to deliver their first World Series title since 1986.
Yordan Alvarez Wins AL Rookie of the Year Award
The Houston Astros struck gold when they promoted rookie Yordan Alvarez on June 9th.
The Cuban slugger took no time to get adjusted to the big league level, as he quickly became the first Astro to ever homer in both of his first two games. Then he just kept on slugging, quickly becoming the Astros top power hitter.
Now it has been announced that Alvarez has won the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Alvarez started the year playing for the Round Rock Express in Triple-A, before earning his promotion to the Astros. In 56 games at Triple-A, Alvarez hit .343 with 23 home runs and had 71 RBIs.
After playing at such an elite level, Houston called Alvarez up to the show, where he continued to rake. Playing in just 87 games, Alvarez hit .313/.412/.655, with 27 home runs and 78 RBIs.
Alvarez received all 30 first-place votes for Rookie of the Year, becoming the 11th American League player to ever win the award unanimously.
While the Astros just lost the World Series, they are sure to clean up in winning awards, as they have a real chance to sweep all of the significant awards.
Alvarez is the Rookie of the Year, Gerrit Cole is expected to win the Cy Young and Alex Bregman is one of the finalists for MVP.
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