Clayton Kershaw as human and the Dodgers' bullpen imploded, but Los Angeles still forced a Game 5.
Dave Roberts had a decision to make. The Dodgers found themselves in a win-or-go-home Game 4 and Kenta Maeda had given a poor, three-inning effort in Game 3 which burned a total of seven bullpen arms. Julio Urias, the talented but still raw rookie lefty was slated to start Game 4, but Roberts took a gamble and decided to start Clayton Kershaw on short rest.
Must-win home games for the Dodgers and the Giants.
The Nationals moved up 2-1 on the Dodgers with Monday’s decisive 8-3 victory. To celebrate, both teams have decided to make my life a living hell and put off announcing their Game 4 starters until well after my deadline. Seriously, we don’t know which of Best Pitcher in the World Clayton Kershaw or Wunderkind Julio Urias will be taking the ball for Game 4, nor do we know if Dusty Baker will line up Joe Ross or Reynaldo Lopez to face L.A. We don’t know anything, other than that the Dodgers are in the hot seat.
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Jake Arrieta and Kris Bryant provided big homers, but the Giants found a way to keep the NLDS alive.
It was supposed to be a pitchers’ duel, and at the very beginning, there was a hint of that sheen. Game 3 looked early on like the sort of tight contest that perhaps would cause you to squint hard, watching for tiny hairline cracks to appear in each ace’s performance.
Cleveland swept Boston out of the playoffs in David Ortiz's final game.
It's not hard to see that the postseason magnifies every little thing, including your mistakes. Sure, it glorifies your successes, but for every pitch that kinda sorta seems down the middle, you'll get a thousand exasperated sighs in response, and unless you're an all-time great, people will remember your mistakes, your missteps, and your blunders. To this end, baseball is not a fair game.
Washington grabbed a 2-1 series lead as the two managers handled Game 3 much differently.
The final score hardly told the full story, and yet it was far more representative of the game as a whole. A four-run ninth turned what was a tense, belabored slog into a laugher. The Dodgers got off to a quick start, as for the third straight game their starting pitcher struck out Trea Turner in his first at-bat and, for the third straight game, Corey Seager drove in a run in his first at-bat. It was downhill from there, though, as the Nationals worked counts, driving Kenta Maeda’s pitch count up.
The team with the AL's best record was sunk by a great offensive team and a narrative they couldn't escape.
If there’s one annoying thing about being a baseball fan, in my experience, it’s dealing with the expectation of narratives. Baseball, especially over a long 162-game season, has such a granular quality that defining any team with a sentence or two glosses over so much as to be barely descriptive. You get the feeling, as a fan, that the way the media, other fans, heck even your own family understands your local team is so detached from reality as to be barely recognizable. You’re telling me the team I’ve lived and died with since April chokes in big spots, or doesn’t have the pitching they need for October, or needs more pop to really succeed in a short series? Hoo boy, we’re going to have to settle in for a long talk about how wrong you are!
Washington evened the NLDS at 1-1 thanks to Los Angeles repeatedly failing with the bases loaded.
As Game 2 between the Nationals and Dodgers got underway Sunday, it would’ve been reasonable to believe that Los Angeles was feeling good about themselves and their chances of going back to the West Coast with a 2-0 lead. After all, they’d managed to snatch a victory in Game 1 when the Battle of the Aces fizzled into a bullpen duel. So, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when the Dodgers stormed out of the blocks early against Tanner Roark and Washington.
Gio Gonzalez vs. Kenta Maeda in Los Angeles, Josh Tomlin vs. Clay Buchholz in Boston, and Jake Arrieta vs. Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco.
The first two games of this series have been long and somewhat messy, but they’ve both been close and competitive. The starting pitchers haven’t been so dominant as to choke off the action of the game. Neither game has seemed to get away from either team. The depth of each team, in the lineup and on the mound, has been on display. That’s why this series is tighter than any of the other three Division Series have been through two games. Now both sides will have their depth tested even further, having traveled across the country without a day off, and having used six pitchers apiece on Sunday.
Chicago's pitchers at the plate played unlikely Game 2 stars.
For the observer, to be traded away from a team on the cusp of success after miring for years in their rebuild seems the stuff of Langston Hughes. But we are usually not privy to these private thoughts of baseball players, and it's possible that Jeff Samardzija doesn't care.
Josh Tomlin vs. Clay Buchholz in Boston and Colby Lewis vs. Aaron Sanchez in Toronto.
After getting blown out in Game 2, the Red Sox head home with their season hanging by a thread. Obviously the first two games didn’t go well for Boston, but Cleveland’s short-handed staff gives the Red Sox a chance to get back in the series.
Rich Hill vs. Tanner Roark in Washington and Jeff Samardzija vs. Kyle Hendricks in Chicago.
The Nationals, with Tanner Roark taking the mound, look to even the series in Game 2 after their Game 1 comeback came up one run short. Rich Hill, previously disabled by blisters, will take the mound for the Dodgers.
Toronto takes a 2-0 lead over Texas as the ALDS heads to Canada.
Here’s the thing: The Texas Rangers are a good team. Maybe they’re a good team that was helped a little by whatever luck or deity-type-thing you prefer in the regular season, but they’re a good team. The Toronto Blue Jays are also a good team. Their luck was maybe a little more confined to simple human err in a one-game playoff, but luck it still was, and so they found themselves in Arlington these last two games, riding on a wave of momentum that seemed like it could take on any day’s pitcher.