José Altuve’s problems in the field have helped put Astros in a deep ALCS hole

It was the second game in a row in which one of his throwing errors opened the lock gates. In Game 2, a three-run homer followed the first of his two incorrect throws to first base with three runs in the first inning and the Astros lost 4-2. The Astros led in Game 3 when his throw at second base was off in the sixth inning . The Rays scored five runs in the inning and won 5-2.

Astros manager Dusty Baker couldn’t explain how Altuve could assume a regular, if shortened season, in which he had no throwing error.

“I don’t know. I really don’t know,” Baker said. “It’s hard to see this happening to such a great player and such a great guy, you know? I don’t know what it’s called. You can in Going a defensive break-in, just like you can go into an offensive break-in. And then physical becomes mental. We definitely have to overcome that. “

Altuve’s problems extended to his ninth inning at-bat when the Astros put the tie run on the plate after one-off walks to Abraham Toro and George Springer. Altuve took a third shot that looked like he had checked his swing. Michael Brantley followed with a flyout to end the game. If nothing goes right, nothing goes right.

“His confidence is shot. You can see that when he has to throw the Yips, ”said Jimmy Rollins, analyst and former shortstop, on TBS’s post-game show (via the Houston Chronicle). “It happened to the best of us. It happened to me. It happened to everyone who has ever played this game. You can get the yips, and there is no really solid way to get rid of them. “

Steve Sax, a former second baseman who suffered an infamous case of Yips during the 1983 Los Angeles Dodgers season, agreed.

“I can feel for José,” Sax told ESPN’s Pedro Gomez. “There is nothing worse in the world. It’s the loneliest place. It’s embarrassing. It’s just awful. I hope he can understand that as soon as possible because this thing is very simple. It’s right in front of him. So many people will say, “Oh, José, you have a mental block.” He does not do it. He has a temporary loss of confidence. It has nothing to do with his mental state. Something made him question his abilities. That’s why he does it. When he gets his trust, it will go away. “

Sometimes when this happens in sports, not everyone is compassionate. Especially when the team it happens to is the Astros who committed an ugly sign-theft scandal that occurred during the 2017 regular season and playoffs that ended in a World Series win, and for at least part of the season Lasted in 2018.

Without question, it hurts to fail on a big postseason stage.

“We’re giving him all the support we can,” said Baker. “Nobody feels worse than José because he takes it very seriously and takes it to heart. He is one of us. We’ve all been through this before – [maybe] not in this spotlight like that. It hurts us all to see him hurt. We will give him the support he needs. “