Saturday, October 8, 2016

MLB Playoffs: Day 2

All four Divisional Series -- or, as Todd Hollandsworth called it on the radio the other day -- "DS's" -- were in action yesterday, and the nation's baseball fans saw a fair amount of drama.

In Arlington, Tex., the Rangers needed a win to even the series.  But the Blue Jays jumped out to an early 5-1 leads, and cruised home with a 5-3 victory that puts them up two games to zero with the next two games in Canada.  Of course, the Rangers will remember that last year they would the first two games in Toronto -- only to see the Blue Jays roar back to win the last three.  Now Texas will have to do the same, or their season will be over.

In Cleveland, David Price -- who went 17-9 for Boston in the regular season -- continued his tradition of poor pitching in the playoffs.  The Tribe jumped all over him for 4 runs in the second inning, and then Indian pitcher Corey Kluber and two relievers held the Bostons to only three hits.  Cleveland had an easy 6-0 win and a 2-game lead as the teams head for the Fens.  Price is now 1-7 in DS play for his career, with a lifetime E.R.A. of 6.04 (!) in those games.

In Washington, the Nats and the Dodgers both showed why they have struggled in the post-season.  Each team started its ace -- Max Scherzer for Natstown and Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers.  But both aces struggled.  Scherzer gave up two home runs and four earned runs in six innings of pitching.  Kershaw was in trouble in almost every inning, and finally left after throwing 100 pitches through five innings.  But Kershaw managed to avoid the Big Fly, and that's most of the battle with Natstown -- a team that depends heavily on home runs, and struggles to hit with men in scoring position.  Kershaw left with a 4-3 lead after five, and that was how the game ended, as the Nats batted a meager .100 with runners in scoring position.  Today, on a gray, gloomy, rainy day from a Poe story, the Nats will play what may be their last home game of the year.

Finally, the big kids played the nightcap in Chicago.  Johnny Cueto (18-5) for the Giants, and Jon Lester (19-5) for the Cubs, showed America what a real pitching duel looks like, as they dominated two of the better lineups in the National League.  Through seven innings, the Cubs had only two hits; the Giants had only five; neither team had scored.  Finally, in the bottom of the 8th, Javier Baez hit Cueto's 108th pitch of the day on a high parabola to left field -- the ball barely cleared the fence in left, and the almost 40,000 Northsiders in attendance when berserk with joy.  The Cubs sent out closer Aroldis Chapman to protect their 1-0 lead, and with two outs Buster Posey drilled a shot to left that sounded like it would tie the game.  But it wasn't hit quite hard enough, and it bounded off the wall for a double.   It was a heroic effort by Posey, but Chapman, undaunted, got the next batter to ground out, and the Cubs had a 1-0 victory.  This was an outstanding baseball game, and I'm already looking forward to Game Two.

Texas 3 - 5 Toronto
Cleveland 6 - 0 Boston
Washington 3 - 4 Los Angeles
Chicago 1 - 0 San Francisco 

National League:
Chicago leads San Francisco 1-0
Los Angeles leads Washington 1-0

American League:
Toronto leads Texas 2-0
Cleveland leads Boston 2-0

1 comment:

  1. I'm rooting for Chicago, Washington, Toronto and Cleveland.