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.
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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.
Chicago took Game 1 behind the Jon Lester-David Ross battery and Javier Baez's power.
David Ross doesn’t play all that often these days, what with Miguel Montero and Willson Contreras penciled in above him on the Cubs’ catching depth chart, but when he does—almost always every fifth day, when Jon Lester is pitching—he takes to the task with enormous seriousness of purpose. In his final big-league season, it’s his only chance to contribute to what has been a charmed season. As the league became increasingly aware that Lester—for whatever reason—doesn’t like to throw over to first, and so became increasingly enamored of taking the big lead and getting the early jump when Lester was pitching, Ross decided to take what had been a weakness and turn it into a strength.
Clayton Kershaw vs. Max Scherzer in Washington and Johnny Cueto vs. Jon Lester in Chicago.
On Wednesday night, the Giants did what they have done in every even year of Barack Obama’s presidency: win a do-or-die game in the playoffs. Now, the Giants head to Wrigley Field with the unenviable task of trying to knock off the 103-win Cubs.
J.A. Happ vs. Yu Darvish in Texas and David Price vs. Corey Kluber in Cleveland.
Texas looks to bounce back from a Game 1 shellacking with their second ace, right-hander Yu Darvish, on the mound. Toronto looks to bring a commanding 2-0 lead back home and try to finish the series Sunday.
Terry Francona went to his big bullpen guns early and the Indians took a 1-0 lead over the Red Sox.
It's easy to make too much of a single move in a postseason game. Taking a pitcher out one batter too late or sending a runner home on a long fly can have huge consequences. But if we step back and breathe deeply, we know a baseball game is too long, with too many moving parts, to ever truly be decided by any single event. Still, Thursday evening’s Red Sox-Indians game, the first of a five-game set, offered an easily graspable handle for those looking to turn that narrative crank.