Thursday, October 15, 2015

MLB Playoffs: Day 7

Thanks to Eric for the comments on the last two days of baseball.  It's exciting to know that I'm not the only person watching these games.

OK, so yesterday was Game Five day in the American League, as four teams that most baseball fans generally ignore had their day in the spotlight.

In Toronto, Texas took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 7th on a bizarre play where the return throw from Toronto's catcher to the pitcher bounced off the bat of the Texas batter.  The ball bounced away, and Rougned Odor scampered home with the lead run.  After further review, the umpires decided that the catcher, Russell Martin, had indeed committed and error -- and the run stood.  The Canadians -- who spend most of their time telling us how much more polite they are than Americans -- went absolutely berserk, screaming and throwing their drinks, and generally making Philadelphia look good.

But Toronto's rage turned to joy in the bottom of the seventh, as the Rangers suddenly forgot how to field.  Here's what happened:

1.  Russell Martin reaches on a fielding error by shortstop Elvis Andrus
2.  Kevin Pillar hit a grounder to first, but Mitch Moreland committed an error trying to get the force at second.  Runners on first and second, no out.
3.  Ryan Goins hit a grounder to third, but Andrus dropped the throw to second.  Everyone's safe.  Bases loaded, no one out.  That's THREE ERRORS IN A ROW by the Texas infield.
4.  Ben Revere hit a grounder to first, and this time Texas managed to get the force at home -- although this required another umpire review.  Bases loaded, one out.

At this point, Texas decided to replace Cole Hamels -- who hadn't given up a hit in the inning -- with Sam Dyson.  Let's see how that works out.

5.  Josh Donaldson hits into a force out at second, but Pillar scores from third.  Runners on first and third.  Two outs.  Score tied at three.
6.  Jose Bautista CRUSHES A THREE-RUN HOMER TO LEFT CENTER FIELD, topped off by an epic bat flip.  Everyone scores.  Blue Jays lead 6-3.

And that's how it ended.  Toronto beat Texas 6-3 to win the series.

In Kansas City, the Royals and Astros hooked up in their own Game Five.  You will recall that in Game Four, the Astros led 6-2 after seven innings and appeared to be on their way to closing out the series.  But the Astros gave up seven runs in the last two innings, and lost the game 9-6.  Gave Five was a less dramatic version of the same story.  The Astros seized an early 2-0 lead, but simply ran out of pitching.  The Royals put up one run in the fourth, three in the fifth, and three in the eighth for a 7-2 victory.

So in the end, the two best teams in the American League -- the Royals and the Blue Jays -- managed to survive the bumper-car test known as the Divisional Series.  Both Texas and Houston had great chances to close out their opponents -- only to let those chances get away.  For most teams, losses like the Rangers and Astros suffered would be regarded as heartbreaking.  But it's football season in Texas, so I'm sure they'll find something else to do down there.

As for the rest of us, we get a rematch of the 1985 ALCS between Kansas City and Toronto.  Is Exhibition Stadium still available?

National League Divisional Series:
Chicago beat St. Louis 3-1
Los Angeles and New York are tied 2-2

American League Divisional Series:
Kansas City beat Houston 3-2
Toronto beat Texas 3-2


  1. I was on a conference call yesterday afternoon with a guy in Dallas, and he didn't care a lick about either the Astros or Rangers. "If it's not college football, I really don't pay attention," he said.