Monday, October 25, 2021

MLB Playoffs: Pennant Winners

Our coverage of the MLB playoffs dropped off mainly because the drama simply disappeared.  In the American League, the Red Sox went up two games to one and took and early 2-0 lead in Game Four.  And then they pretty much stopped scoring.  Houston came back to win Game Four 9-2.  Then the Astros won Game Five 9-1.  Then they won Game Six 5-0.  So in the last 26 innings of the ALCS, the Red Sox were outscored 23-1.

The Dodgers had one final moment of glory, beating the Braves 11-2 behind three home runs from Chris Taylor to win the last game of the year at Dodger Stadium.  So the Braves led three games to two as the teams headed to Atlanta.  The Dodgers were hoping to use Max Scherzer in Game Six, but he turned up with a dead arm and could not pitch.  It didn't matter anyway, as the Dodgers couldn't do much on offense.  The Braves jumped out to an early lead and rolled home with a 4-2 victory that gave Atlanta its first National League pennant since 1999.  It is really hard to believe it's been that long.

So the World Series comes down to two teams from the old National League West, the best baseball division that ever was.  Folks on Twittter have suggested that Houston and Atlanta should wear their uniforms from the early 1980's.  I totally agree, and I really wish we could get Skip Caray, Ernie Johnson, and (of course) Pete Van Wieran to call the games.  Those guys were great.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

MaxPreps Top 20 for Kentucky High School Football

Here is the current top 20 in KHSAA football:

1.  Lou. Male:  7-0
2.  Lex. Christian:  8-0
3.  Lou. St. Xavier:  7-1
4.  Lex. Douglass:  8-0
5.  Boyle Co:  7-1
6.  S. Warren:  7-1
7.  Woodford Co:  8-0
8.  Lou. Trinity:  2-6
9.  Corbin:  8-0
10.  Lou. Manual:  6-2
11.  Owensboro:  7-1
12.  Madison Cent:  7-1
13.  Lex. Catholic:  6-2
14.  Ryle:  6-2
15.  Beechwood:  8-0
16.  Pikeville:  7-2
17.  Lex. Bryan Station:  7-1
18.  Lou. Christian Academy:  7-1
19.  Lou. Ballard:  5-3
20.  Johnson Cent:  6-1

Here are the top teams in our part of the Commonwealth:

27.  Mayfield:  8-0
31.  Graves Co:  6-2
42.  Union Co:  7-1
47.  Henderson Co:  5-3
61.  Hopkinsville:  4-4
65.  Paducah Tilghman:  3-4

MLB Playoffs, Day Thirteen

There's not too much to say about last night's games.  In the last day game of the year at Fenway Park, the Astros crushed the Red Sox 9-1.  (Here in the D.C. area, by the way, folks would say that they "boat-raced" the Red Sox.  I have no idea where that term comes from or why it indicates that one team crushed another.)  And then, in the nightcap, the Braves bounced back from their heartbreaking loss on Tuesday by burying the Dodgers 9-2.  The Dodgers seem to be running out of pitching -- they gave up two runs in Game One, five runs in Game Two, five runs in Game Three, and nine runs in Game Four.  That's not a good trend.

Anyway, tonight the Dodgers play what may be their last home game of the year, while Boston and Houston are on their way to Minute Maid Park, where they will play Game Six tomorrow.

Tonight's game:
7:08 P.M. Central:  Atlanta at Los Angeles (Atlanta leads 3-1).

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

NFL AP Poll and Survivor Pool

 Here is the top 10s in the AP's NFL Poll for this week:

1.  Arizona:  6-0
2.  Tampa Bay:  5-1
3.  Baltimore:  5-1
4.  Los Angeles:  5-1
5.  Dallas:  5-1
6.  Buffalo:  4-2
7.  Green Bay:  5-1
8.  San Diego:  4-2
9.  Tennessee:  4-2
10.  Kansas City:  3-3

Miami is Number 29.  The Football Team is Number 26.

Six teams on bye this week, and the only top-10 game is the noon Central game on Sunday in Nashville between Kansas City and the Titans.  That should be a very entertaining match-up.

Meanwhile, in Survivor Pool:

Week One:  Los Angeles 34 - 14 Chicago (survived)
Week Two:  Cleveland 31 - 21 Houston (survived)
Week Three:  Denver 26 - 0 New York Jets (survived)
Week Four:  Buffalo 40 - 0 Houston (survived)
Week Five:  Tampa Bay 45 - 17 Miami (survived)
Week Six:  Indianapolis 31 - 3 Houston (survived)

This week we have an obvious choice, as Houston travels to Arizona to face the undefeated Cardinals, who just crushed Cleveland on the road.  We will take Arizona and hope to survive for another week.

MLB Playoffs, Day Twelve

Well, my summary at the end of the Day Eleven posting did not turn out to be very accurate.  The Dodgers fought back from a 5-2 deficit in the bottom of the eighth, after looking absolutely hopeless for most of three hours.  They tied the game on a three-run homer by Cody Bellinger, and then got the winning run a few batters later on a two-out double by Mookie Betts.  So here are the Dodgers' last four games:

Thursday, October 14:  Los Angeles 2, San Francisco 1 (Dodgers scored the winning run in the top of the 9th)
Saturday, October 16:  Atlanta 3, Los Angeles 2 (Braves scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th)
Sunday, October 17:  Atlanta 5, Los Angeles 4 (Braves again scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th)
Tuesday, October 19:  Los Angeles 6, Atlanta 5 (Dodgers scored four runs in the bottom of the 8th for a come-from-behind victory)

You could not ask for more drama.  The Dodgers have played 36 innings in a row where every game was up for grabs.  And they play again tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in Boston, the Astros got the pitching that they needed.  They got one and one-third innings from Zach Greinke, then two thirds of an inning from Brooks Raley, three innings from Cristian Javier, one inning from Phil Maton, two innings from Kendall Graveman, and one inning from Ryan Pressly.  If you add it all together that's nine innings, and in those nine innings the previously red-hot Bostons only got five hits and two runs, and they struck out 10 times.  For hours, Boston clung grimly to the 2-1 lead it had enjoyed after the first inning, but the relentless Astros struck for one run in the 8th to tie the game -- and SEVEN in the 9th to win it by 9 to 2.

So in both series, the advantage has shifted toward a team that seemed to be in huge trouble just a few hours ago.  Atlanta still has both a 2-1 lead and home field advantage, but the Braves lost the chance to pretty much finish off the Dodgers this afternoon.  Houston is tied 2-2 with Games Six and Seven scheduled for Minute Maid Park, so the Astros will like their chances.

Here are tomorrow's games (potentially the last game of the year in Fenway):

4:08 P.M. Central:  Houston at Boston  (Fox Sports One) (series tied 2-2)
7:08 P.M. Central:  Atlanta at Los Angeles (TBS) (Atlanta leads 2-1)

Remember the other day when I talked about that great relaxed feeling you have at the beginning of a new seven-game series?  Well, that's all over now.  These are now four very anxious fan bases.