10/7/19 – Weekend in Review: NLDS & ALDS

As the LDS games are upon us, things are shaking out in the way that many people assumed they would, with very few surprises. This isn’t to say that it’s over just yet for any of the teams vying for a LCS spot, rather it could be setting up the scene for some really exciting baseball over the next couple of days. Let’s sum it all up, shall we?

NLDS: Braves/Cardinals

Game One, Thursday: Played in the scorching 90º+ heat, this game was a nail-biter throughout the entire stretch of nine innings. The Braves, behind pitcher Dallas Keuchel held on to a 1-0 lead through the first four, and the Cards finally got on the board with a run in the top of the 5th. Going into the 9th, both teams had 3 runs, and the Cardinals scored 4 in the top of the 9th. Atlanta managed to get 3 of those runs back, but fell short, being stunned by St. Louis on their own turf, 7-6.

Game Two, Friday: Still melting in the 95º heat, the Braves were not going to let the Cardinals steal two from them in their own house. The Braves got a brilliant 7-inning outing by pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, where he only gave up three hits and struck out 7. When the Braves finally decided to pull Foltynewicz, they put in Adam Duvall to pinch hit for their pitcher, and he belted a 2-run shot. The Cardinals were shut out 3-0. It should be noted that the Cards’ starting pitcher Jack Flaherty also lasted 7 innings, and fanned 8 batters, but he took the loss, earning all three of the Braves’ runs.

Game Three, Sunday: After a day of rest and cooling off from the blistering heat, the series moved to St. Louis. The Cardinals started veteran Adam Wainwright on the mound. He lasted 7 2/3, giving up just four hits and two walks, while striking out 8. Atlanta’s starter, Mike Soroka gave up a measly 2 hits and no walks over 7 innings, just one run, and struck out 7. But the Braves remembered the top of the 9th in game one, and decided to beat up on closer Carlos Martinez, and took him for 3 runs to steal back the game the Cardinals won in Atlanta. 3-1, Braves.

Both of these teams are good, but the Braves just had a better season. The Cardinals had to battle the Brewers for the NL Central title up until the very end of the season and have had very little down time to regroup before the LDS started. The Braves locked it up a lot earlier and were able to rest some of their guys before the post season, and they are in a better spot to take the series, and they are NOT messing around. They plan to start their ace, Dallas Keuchel, on very little rest this afternoon to try to lock it up and beat the Cards in their own house. I, for one, am excited to see how this series plays out, because it’s been a really good match up so far.

NLDS: Dodgers/Nationals

Game One, Thursday: In probably the least surprising outcome of the entire LDS for either league thus far, the Dodgers easily defeated the Nationals on Thursday. Honestly, the biggest surprise for me was that the Dodgers didn’t start their ace, Clayton Kershaw. As it turned out, they were completely fine giving their best pitcher the day off, as the Dodgers still managed to shut the Nats out 6-0. Patrick Corbin, the Nationals’ starter, walked in a run in the first inning, but calmed down and lasted 6 innings. Washington’s first baseman, Howie Kendrick, struggled and had two errors – one resulting in a run in the 5th. The Dodgers got a few solo pinch hit home runs in the 8th from Gavin Lux and Joe Pederson.

Game Two, Friday: THIS game was a surprise. I only watched bits and pieces, as it was played at about the same time as the Twins/Yankees game (more on that shit-show later.) The Nationals beat the Dodgers at Dodger stadium and Clayton Kershaw took the loss. The Nats knew if they were to have any shot whatsoever of beating the 106-win Dodgers, they had to take one of the games in LA. They pulled no punches, as they used Stephen Strasburg for 6 innings and put in the normally starting Max Scherzer on short rest to strike out 3 in the 8th inning. The Nationals stole the game 4-2.

Game Three, Sunday: The first 5 innings of this game seemed to be going the way of the Nationals, who scored with a 2-run blast from WC game winner Juan Soto. The Dodgers answered in the 5th with a solo shot by Max Muncy, and then broke it open in the 6th, beating up on the loser of game one, Patrick Corbin. Catcher Russell Martin got the lead for LA with a 2-run double, and then a pinch hit double from Enrique Hernandez brought in two more runs. The final nail in the 6th-inning coffin came from Justin Turner, who hit a 3 Run home run. The Nationals answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, but that was all they came up with. Russell Martin hit a 2-run homer in the 9th to really add insult to injury. Final score, 10-4, Dodgers.

Game four begins in a few hours, and the Dodgers have the chance to end the Nationals’ season tonight. Rich Hill will take the mound for LA, and Max Scherzer will start for the home team. The Nats could surprise everyone and tie up the series behind their ace, as Hill will likely only go a couple of innings depending on his questionable left knee. Will the Dodgers do it? Or will the Nationals stun the entire baseball world and steal this series from them?

ALDS: Astros/Rays

Game One, Friday: To nobody’s surprise, the Astros easily beat the Rays behind the ever-dominant Justin Verlander. Verlander lasted 7 innings, walking three, giving up just one hit, and fanning 8. Reliever Ryan Pressly gave up the Rays only two runs in the 8th. The Rays’ starter, Tyler Glasnow, lasted just 4 1/3, giving up 4 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, but managing to strike out 5. Jose Altuve got it going and hit a 2 run shot in the top of the 5th, and the Astros took game one 6-2.

Game Two, Saturday: Houston fans were treated to an absolutely remarkable game behind Gerrit Cole. The Rays didn’t stand a chance against him, as he struck out FIFTEEN batters over 7 2/3 innings. The relieving Roberto Osuna gave up a couple of hits and one run in the bottom of the 8th, but that’s all the Rays could muster. Alex Bregman hit a solo homer in the 4th, Martin Maldonado scorched a one-run double in the 7th, and Carlos Correa drove in a run, but that was it for the Astros runs. Astros take it, 3-1.

Game Three is currently underway as I write this, and Zack Greinke has given up 5 runs to the Rays so far. It’s 8-1, and the Rays are NOT going to roll over and die quietly. However, it’s just the 5th inning, and there’s a lot of baseball left to play in Tampa Bay this afternoon, so I can’t call this game just yet. Selfishly, I’d like to see the Rays take it, just to extend the ALDS to as many games as possible.

ALDS: Twins/Yankees

Game One, Friday: In an ironic twist of assholery, the Yankees, the Evil Empire themselves, started out this game by playing the Star Wars Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme) to introduce the Twins, while playing the main Star Wars Theme – for the good guys – during their own introductions. But I digress.

All baseball media keeps reminding everyone that the Yankees absolutely own the Twins during post season, and Friday proved to be no exception. The Twins’ Bomba Squad, who beat the Yankees for the regular season home run record with 307, got things started with a solo shot from Jorge Polanco, and another by Nelson Cruz in the top of the 3rd – making it a 2-0 game. The Yankees then started to rough up Jose Berrios, who had started (and lost) the ALWC game against them in 2017. Edwin Encarnacion hit an RBI double in the 3rd, and thus started the never-ending hit parade for the Yankees. The Twins kept giving up walks and hits, and despite one more bomba from Miguel Sano in the 6th, the Twins handed the Yankees game one of this series 10-4.

Game Two, Saturday: This game started at 4:07, and my mom was getting married at 5:00. I’m not going to lie… as happy as I am for my mom and her new husband (congratulations, you two!), I was (shamefully.. but then again not entirely sorry) more concerned about the Twins game for a bit there. In the moments leading up to my mom coming down the aisle, I had the game playing silently on my phone. Once the wedding began, I turned the game off, but kept looking down at my phone and ESPN’s gamecast… until Didi Gregorius hit a grand-effing-slam in the 3rd. The Twins managed to eek out two runs in this game, but they hit zero homeruns. The Yankees pummel the Twins 8-2.

You guys, this shit is downright painful to watch. It’s cringeworthy to hear the national media mocking my team. Game Two’s starter, Randy Dobnak was driving an Uber last year to supplement his income until he made it – and the Yankee fans, in all their douche-baggery, taunted him with chants of “Uber! Uber!” For a team that won 101 games, and set the all time home run record, and had 5 guys with 30+ bombs, they’re playing like the meek, scared kids that the national media is making them out to be.

I have tickets for game four of this series at Target Field for tomorrow night, and I REALLY want to be able to go. Hopefully Jake Odorizzi can shut down talks of the ‘curse’ plaguing the Twins in the post season, and I get to enjoy my tickets. And even if the Twins get swept right out of the post season after tonight, I’m so proud of my boys. (But for realsies, hit all the fucking bombas tonight, ok Minnesota??)

What say you, readers? Leave a comment below.