Let’s set the scene. Yankees vs. The Astros in a rematch of the 2017 ALCS. The Astros won Game 1 of this series the previous night. In Game 2, it was Justin Verlander vs. The Yankees Bullpen. Verlander went 8 innings, no earned runs and struck out 14 (!) batters. After Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery left the game in the first inning, the Yanks bullpen went 7 innings without giving up a run.
0-0 game, top of the 9th inning, and the reliever Ken Giles is on the mound for the Astros. Giles is in a bit of trouble, as the Yanks have runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out and Gary Sanchez up to bat. The Astros decided to not walk Sanchez.
Spoiler alert: Sanchez won the battle.
Some would say pitching to Sanchez was a mistake! However, it was May 1 and mistakes happen. The Astros are still really good. No big deal, right? To Ken Giles, it was life or death and it was time to punish himself.
I’ve seen pitchers lose their cool in the dugouts and take it out on a bat or a water cooler. I think this is the first time I saw someone take it out on themselves. I hate bringing this up, but when I saw Giles punch himself in the face, all I thought about was when Billy unloaded on himself in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Very sad scene!
Next time Giles gives up a big home run, someone get the man a pair of Sock’em Boppers. When punching yourself in the face, safety first, kids.