DETROIT -- Still miffed from Sunday's controversial play at the plate in Boston -- in which an out call on Jose Altuve at the plate wasn't overturned following instant replay review despite at least one camera angle showed Altuve's hand touching the plate before the tag -- Astros manager AJ
DETROIT -- Still miffed from Sunday's controversial play at the plate in Boston -- in which an out call on Jose Altuve at the plate wasn't overturned following instant replay review despite at least one camera angle showed Altuve's hand touching the plate before the tag -- Astros manager AJ Hinch spoke on the phone with officials from Major League Baseball on Monday seeking an explanation.
Hinch said MLB told him it was going to do a "thorough review" of the play and the replay process on that call, though that's not going to help the Astros swallow a 6-5 loss to the Red Sox in Sunday's series finale between American League titans at Fenway Park any easier.
"I still think they got it wrong, and I think it's unfortunate because the dynamic of the game changes a little bit," Hinch said. "It might not have changed the outcome. There's still plenty of game left. To get an out/safe call wrong is one thing; to get one that takes the run off the board is a killer.
"They've assured me they're going to look at the process, how it all went down, why it took so long and ultimately and why the decision was made. I need clear and convincing evidence to be able to trust the system."
With the game tied at 5 in the seventh inning, Altuve tried to score from third base on a grounder to Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, whose throw home to catcher Sandy Leon was high. Altuve was called out and the call stood following a review of about four minutes.
"There were other scenarios in the game that could have played out differently, too," Hinch said. "The [players will] be mad, they'll be vocal, they'll be frustrated like we all were, but then they need to get past it because we've got plenty of baseball left to play."
James impresses in relief
Hard-throwing rookie Josh James, who threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief Saturday in Boston, throwing 31 of 41 pitches for strikes and touched 100 mph, could be available out of the Astros' bullpen beginning Tuesday. Hinch hasn't ruled out James getting another start at some point this season, but his performance against the Red Sox opened some eyes.
"He looked like a reliver. He looked like a guy who could be relied on to face a really good lineup in really big innings," Hinch said. "That kind of strike-throwing and that kind of demeanor and poise, he looked like a weapon. I'm not giving up hope he might start a game down the stretch. As much as you want to save the power for a big inning, maybe five or six innings down the stretch is something that we need."
Hinch hinted that James, who was called up from Triple-A on Sept. 1 and struck out nine batters in his Major League debut, could be a factor in October.
"The intriguing part is how velocity plays in September and potentially October," Hinch said. "The plus secondary pitch and the [cool and calm] demeanor is what I was looking for when you're going to face arguably the best offense in the league."
Hinch confident in Sipp
The resurgence of lefty reliever Tony Sipp continues to be a big storyline for the Astros this season and gives Hinch another bullpen weapon he didn't have last year. Sipp, who struggled the past two years and was left off the playoff roster last year, struck out a pair of batters on eight pitches with the bases loaded Sunday night in Boston.
Sipp entered Monday having allowed 12.1 percent of his inherited runners to score this season, second in the AL behind the Indians' Oliver Perez (7.9 percent). Only four of the 33 runners Sipp inherited have scored through his 47 appearances this season, and 22 of his past 25 outings have been scoreless.
"I think he's got his fastball-split combo down, and he's very confident he's going to throw strikes," Hinch said. "The velocity's been up a little bit, and he's getting the chases on his split at a level that he was in '15 when he was a leverage reliever.
"He's good at throwing strikes. We do rely on him throwing strikes. It's key to have some chase pitches. I do trust him with guys on base and trust him with matchup. [Sunday] night when we had the right-handed hitters, he's equally as dominant on those guys. He's a valuable piece."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.