An unorthodox smash hit in the Bronx

Even Frazier figured this one had no business traveling over the right field scoreboard . . .

Even Frazier figured this one had no business traveling over the right field scoreboard . . .

Of all the people watching when Todd Frazier connected off Astros starter Charlie Morton in the bottom of the second Monday night, there were two who were the most disbelieving: Frazier and Morton themselves.

Aaron Judge putting a dent in his postseason-long slump in the bottom of the fifth was believable enough to Yankee fans and too believable to the Astros. But Frazier looking like he was stumbling over a rolling oil drum as he swung with two out and two aboard wasn’t supposed to hang up a three-spot with that swing.

The replay that wasn’t abets the surreality that was

Francisco Lindor celebrates the grand slam he smashed after Yankee skipper Joe Girardi failed to challenge whether Lonnie Chisenhall, hitting ahead of him, really was hit by a pitch to load the pads . . .

Francisco Lindor celebrates the grand slam he smashed after Yankee skipper Joe Girardi failed to challenge whether Lonnie Chisenhall, hitting ahead of him, really was hit by a pitch to load the pads . . .

When the pros and cons of instant replay come under debate, as they still do even after it’s become entrenched, bet on it. Yankee manager Joe Girardi will be questioned for seasons to come over why he didn’t call for one in the bottom of the sixth Friday.

A sweep weekend for the Mets and the Red Sox

It wasn't exactly the Hanley Ramirez Show only for the weekend Red Sox, but don't tell CC Sabathia, who surrendered the three-run homer Ramirez has just hit here . . .

It wasn’t exactly the Hanley Ramirez Show only for the weekend Red Sox, but don’t tell CC Sabathia, who surrendered the three-run homer Ramirez has just hit here . . .

Thirty years ago, the Mets and the Red Sox locked in mortal baseball combat, in a World Series. It ended with the Mets on top of a baseball world that didn’t necessarily love that edition of the team, and the Red Sox having been kicked to the rocks below after having gotten close enough, yet again, to a Promised Land determined never to let them set foot upon it again, or so it seemed.

The two triumphs in Sabathia’s return

Sabathia doesn't let the bottle or the Detroit chill keep him down . . .

Sabathia doesn’t let the bottle or the Detroit chill keep him down . . .

On the regular season’s final day last fall, CC Sabathia awoke in Baltimore the day after the Yankees played a doubleheader and felt uncertain whether he would explode or implode. A weekend with the bottle alone in his hotel did that to him.

Hung over and mentally parched, Sabathia’s first top on arriving in Camden Yards that Sunday was manager Joe Girardi’s office. The big Yankee lefthander was going against his own wife’s advice. Amber Sabathia, according to the New York Daily News, urged her husband to wait.

Spring training is sprung . . .

. . . and what would be a little spring training without a few little controversies, actual or alleged, here and there?

Manfred

Manfred

■ THE CHANGELING—That would be new commissioner Rob Manfred, for whom it seems everything short of shortening the basepaths (oops! don’t give him any ideas!) is on the table, whether it’s outlawing defensive shifting, coming up with new rule adjustments to (it is alleged) speed up the game, or even returning baseball to the 154-game season. (The American League went to 162 games after its first expansion, beginning in 1961; the National League did likewise starting with its first expansion in 1962.)

The Tigers Finish a Mercy Killing

The Tigers put the Yankees in the tank . . .

CC Sabathia sat in the Yankee dugout gazing upon the field with a look, to an outsider, that seemed suspended between resignation and disbelief, moments after his day ended two thirds of the way through the bottom of the fourth. His Detroit counterpart, Max Scherzer, who had to get past late-season shoulder barking, would remain in the serious business of absolutely throttling a Yankee lineup for another inning and a third, doing to the Yankees what Sabathia once did to the other guys.