Wednesday, October 9, 2013

MLB Playoffs, Day Six

Two more pulsating games last night:

Detroit 8, Oakland 6:  This game had a little bit of everything:  a disputed, game-tying home run in the seventh that counted (in my opinion) only because some Tiger fans reached out and grabbed the ball before it could be caught; a relief appearance by Detroit ace Max Scherzer in which he pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam -- and the long-delayed breakout of the Tigers' formidable offense, which had been hamstrung for most of the series before putting up 8 runs from the 5th through the 8th innings.  The Tigers have to go back to Oakland for Game Five, but they will have A's-killer Justin Verlander ready to go.  He shut out the A's in Oakland last year in Game Five; can he do the same thing again?  On the other hand, consider this record in the ALDS:

2000:  New York 3, Oakland 2
2001:  New York 3, Oakland 2
2002:  Minnesota 3, Oakland 2
2003:  Boston 3, Oakland 2
2006:  Oakland 3, Minnesota 0
2012:  Detroit 3, Oakland 2

That's five Game Fives under Billy Beane, and the A's are 0-5 in those match-ups.  Surely the A's will someday win one of these games.

Boston 3, Tampa Bay 1:  Facing elimination, the Devil Rays tried Eric's plan of changing pitchers almost every inning.  In fact, they changed pitchers after the first, second, fourth, and sixth innings -- and ended up using nine pitchers in all.  It basically worked -- the high-flying Red Sox offense, which had pounded Tampa Bay in the first two games of the series, was held to only three runs.  But the Devil Rays were let down by their own offense, which could manage only one run off of Jake Peavy and a trio of Boston relievers.  So the Devil Rays have been eliminated in the ALDS for the third time in the last four years, and the Bostons are headed to the ALCS for the first time since 2008.

So here's where we stand:

National League Divisional Series (Best-of-Five):
Los Angeles beat Atlanta 3-1
St. Louis and Pittsburgh are tied 2-2

American League Divisional Series (Best-of-Five):
Boston beat Tampa Bay 3-1
Oakland and Detroit are tied 2-2

Tonight's game will get a lot of attention in western Kentucky, as folks juggle their interest in the Cardinals with Wednesday night services:

Pittsburgh at St. Louis (7 P.M. Central) (on TBS)

The A's and Tigers will finish their series on Thursday night.

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