Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MLB Playoffs: Day 4

Both the Tigers and the Reds went into tonight's games feeling pretty good about themselves, as both enjoyed 2-0 leads over the A's and Giants, respectively.  And Detroit and Cincinnati both got great pitching performances tonight.  But they both lost.

In Cincinnati, Homer Bailey (13-10, 3.68 ERA) put on an amazing performance -- 7 innings pitched, 1 hit, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts.  And the Reds jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning.  But in the third, San Francisco scored thanks to a hit batsman, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly.  And that was it for a long, long time.  No one could score, and the teams were still tied at 1 going into the 10th.  By this time Jonathan Broxton was pitching for Cincy.  Then San Francisco generated another run -- only its fourth in three NLDS games.  Here's how they did it:

1.  Buster Posey, SF's only grave offensive threat, singled (this was only SF's second hit of the game).

2.  Hunter Pence singled to put men on first and second.

3.  Brandon Belt struck out.

4.  Xavier Nady struck out.

5.  And then, just as it looked as though the Reds would get out of the jam, disaster struck.  A passed ball allowed the runners to advance to second and third.  And then Reds' 3B Scott Rolen bobbled a grounder from Joaquin Arias that would have ended the inning.  Posey scored from third on the error, and soon afterward the Giants had the win they needed.

In Oakland, Detroit pitchers gave up only two runs on five hits.  But Brett Anderson (4-2, 2.57 ERA), who threw only 35 innings for the A's all year due to an injury, was tremendous in his first start since September 19.  He allowed no runs and only two hits in six innings, and then the A's excellent bullpen slammed the door down the stretch.  When it was all over, the A's had a 2-0 victory, and they were also still alive.

So now all eight playoff contenders have at least one win and at least one loss:

Washington and St. Louis are tied 1-1
Cincinnati leads San Francisco 2-1

New York and Baltimore are tied 1-1
Detroit leads Oakland 2-1

Tomorrow will be another wild day, with all four series in action.  Here's the schedule (home teams listed first):

Washington v. St. Louis (1 PM EDT, MLB Network)
Cincinnati v. San Francisco (4 PM EDT, TBS)
New York v. Baltimore (7:30 PM EDT, TBS)
Oakland v. Texas (9:30 PM EDT, TNT)

I would be more excited if I weren't so nervous about the first post-season game in Washington since 1933.