Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve’s sudden case of the yips led to a Tampa Bay Rays rally in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series that has the Rays one win away from capturing the pennant.
Altuve committed his fourth throwing error of the postseason and third of the ALCS, as the Rays stormed back to a 5-2 victory in Game 2 on Tuesday.
“It was a nightmare inning,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said, according to ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle. “We’re giving him all the support that we can,” Baker said. “Nobody feels worse than Jose. He takes it very seriously, and he takes it to heart. He’s one of ours, and we’ve all been through this before. Maybe not in the spotlight like this. It hurts us all to see him hurting.”
Baker was directly asked about the infamous “yips”, and if Altuve was subjected to the dreaded baseball funk.
“I don’t know,” Baker said. “I really don’t know. It is tough to see this happening to such a great player and such a great guy. I don’t know what it is called. But you can go in a defensive slump the same way you go in an offensive slump, and then the physical turns mental.
“We certainly have to get past this.”
Altuve, a former Gold Glover, has the support and confidence of his teammates.
“Altuve is a great player,” Astros slugger Carlos Correa said. “He’s going to be a Hall of Famer when his career is done. These games have been tough, but he’s going to bounce back like he’s done before when he’s struggled. I think he will be fine.”
Despite Altuve’s struggles, and his costly mistakes, Baker is not considering making any changes.
“That’s without a doubt,” Baker said. “[Moving Altuve] isn’t helping us, and it would certainly kill him.”