HOUSTON — The Astros did not sound thrilled before ALCS Game 2 Thursday that the roof at Minute Maid Park would be open.
By the end of the night, though, it may have worked out in their favor.
With the wind blowing from right to left field for most of the game, the Astros took advantage with Alex Bregman’s three-run homer to left before Aaron Judge’s late attempt to go deep to right fell just short in the Yankees’ 3-2 loss.
Just about everybody in the Yankees dugout seemed to think Judge’s ball was going to be a home run.
“Who would have thought, I think the roof open kind of killed us,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I think it’s a 390[-foot] ball. … I did n’t think he smoked it like a no-doubter, but it felt like his homers to right. ”
On a beautiful night, the roof was open for just the second time this season at Minute Maid Park — which in the postseason is a decision MLB makes in consultation with the home team and the umpire crew chief. Astros manager Dusty Baker said before the game that having the roof open would be “different,” noting in part that the crowd noise (part of their home-field advantage) would not be as loud.
In the eighth inning, Judge hit his ball 106.3 mph off the bat and 345 feet to right field, where Kyle Tucker caught it with a slight leap at the wall to make sure it didn’t get out or at least go for extra bases. Judge may have been the only Yankee not surprised to see it not go out.
“Not with the way the wind was playing,” Judge said. “It was blowing pretty hard out to left field, so I kind of hit it to the wrong part of the park, that’s for sure.”
According to Statcast, the only park in which Judge’s fly ball would have been a home run was Yankee Stadium.
Bregman’s three-run homer, which came in the third inning off Luis Severino, was only 91.8 mph off the bat but traveled an estimated 360 feet to left field.
“I know the wind was blowing,” Severino said. “That was the only reason that ball got out. I made a good pitch in that situation.”
Asked if the ball played differently with the roof open, Severino said with a chuckle, “For their advantage, yes, actually.”
Judge, who said he felt the wind “howling” when playing right field, was more diplomatic when asked the same question.
“You don’t notice it too much except for a couple fly balls,” Judge said. “I saw Sevy’s feet dancing a little bit on the one pop-up he had to catch. But that was the only thing.”