10/14/19 – Weekend in Review: NLCS, ALCS, and.. Dragging Balls?

NLCS: Nationals/Cardinals

Game One: I already referenced this on Friday night, but for those of you that don’t keep up with obscure baseball blogs on a weekend night, I’ll recap what happened. Anibal Sanchez gave up just one hit during Game One of the NLCS. The hit was a single off of the bat of pinch-hitting Jose Martinez in the 8th inning. I 100% blame ESPN for jinxing his no-hitter after alerting us that he had one going. The Nats ended up stunning St. Louis in their own house on Friday with a score of 2-0.

Game Two: Frickin’ ESPN did it again. Max Scherzer also had a no-hitter going through six innings and then I see THIS pop up on my phone:

I took that screen grab, knowing FULL well I’d be bitching about it again because they always jinx no-no’s and perfect games. But I digress.

Scherzer pitched a beautiful seven shutout innings, and the Nationals stunned St. Louis for a second straight game to take a 2-0 lead in the NLCS. St. Louis got their lone run in the bottom of the eighth, off an RBI double from the aforementioned Jose Martinez. But that single run wasn’t enough to top the Nationals, who won it 3-0.

Game Three starts tonight at 7:38 Eastern (who comes up with these random times?) in Washington, DC. It’ll be curious to see if the Cardinals’ ace Jack Flaherty can out-duel Stephen Strasburg and take one back on the road.

ALCS: Astros/Yankees

Game One: I told you last week that Zack Greinke had fared pretty well against the Yankees over the regular season, giving up a total of three runs over two games against them. Greinke managed to give up three runs in this game, first off of an RBI double from Gleyber Torres in the fourth, and then solo shots from Torres and Giancarlo Stanton in the sixth. Torres got his third hit of the night in the seventh off of reliever Ryan Pressly, which brought in yet another two runs. Gio Urshela hit a solo home run in the ninth, and then Torres got his fifth RBI of the night when he grounded out but scored D.J. LeMahieu. Torres won this game for the Yankees 7-0 in Houston, and Greinke’s post season record for 2019 drops to 0-2. For those who might be curious, he’s never been particularly dominant in the post season:

Game Two: This game is the reason I am so tired today. It was a fairly close game for the regular nine innings. Carlos Correa got the game going for the Astros with an RBI double in the second. Aaron Judge got the Yankees on the board when he hit a two-run homer in the fourth. George Springer tied it up when he homered in the fifth, and the game remained knotted up, going into extra innings. I could barely stay awake anymore when finally, Carlos Correa blasted one out on the first pitch in the eleventh. Correa, the Astros, the Yankees, and the entire crowd all knew the game was over the second that ball left the bat:

The series now heads to New York with the series tied up at a game apiece. Game Three will start at 4:08 Eastern (again with the random times!) on Tuesday.

The Great Ball-Drag Debate

There’s been so much talk this season about the drag of the baseball, specifically the balls being juiced, and now “un-juiced” for the post season. The ball was flying out of the parks at record rates this season, with four teams shattering the previous home run record of 267, set by the Yankees just last year. (Those four being the four 100+ win teams of the Twins (307 HR), Yankees (306), Astros (288), and Dodgers) (279).)

The post season is seeing far fewer home runs being hit, and people are now suspecting that MLB has now increased the drag on the ball. Now, nobody is blaming the un-juiced balls for the home run smashing Dodgers and Twins getting knocked out of the NLDS and ALDS. Both of those teams managed to get a few moonshots in there. In fact, during the NLDS, the Dodgers got twelve of their twenty-two runs from home runs and the Twins got four of their seven runs in the ALDS from home runs. BUT. There were strikeouts galore. Errors. Missed opportunities. Double-plays. And plenty of other reasons that the four teams that got knocked out didn’t make the LCS. But for teams that depended on the long-ball as their main offensive attack, the slightly higher drag kept some balls in the park that would have been upper-deck moonshots during the regular season.

So I’m curious to your thoughts, readers… With the ball clearly not leaving the park like it did over the season:

What say you, readers? Leave a comment below.