The Tuesday Takeaway
What if they just made the whole season out of Dodgers-Rockies?
The NL West heavyweights continued their final head-to-head series of the season in Los Angeles and it did not disappoint. A battle of aces (yeah, Kyle Freeland is an ace. Fight me), nasty late-inning bullpen work, and a good ol’ fashioned walk-off job to boot.
The Dodgers won despite what could be most kindly described as a workmanlike effort from Clayton Kershaw. The ace allowed just an earned run in seven innings of work but walked five against just three strikeouts. And the one run he allowed… well, was a bomb by Charlie Blackmon.
Freeland was similarly erratic for Colorado despite allowing just two earned runs in six innings. He walked four and his bouts of command issues cost him in the first and fifth innings.
Once the game was turned over to the bullpens. the bats went silent during the later innings. Someone: Ask Kenta Maeda if this is a big series or not.
The Dodgers’ lead in the NL West is 1 ½ games, with one more matchup with the Rox yet to play in L.A. (plus, ya know, the rest of the season for everyone). It was a tough loss for the Rockies, but they’ve been resilient all season long.
Let’s see how they answer.
Quick Hits From Tuesday
The Boston Red Sox have 103 wins on Sept. 19 but have yet to clinch the AL East title. The reason? Well, the Yankees are pretty good, too.
That division is still a foregone conclusion, of course, but Neil Walker made certain the celebration was delayed by at least one night as he spoiled six shutout innings from Nathan Eovaldi. It also overshadowed what was an otherwise unremarkable return to the lineup by Aaron Judge, who went 0 for 4 with a strikeout.
The Cubs received some unfortunate news when it was announced closer Brandon Morrow wouldn’t pitch again this season because of a bone bruise that has yet to heal. Couple that with the injury to Yu Darvish and Pedro Strop’s uncertain health and the Cubs will enter October with a precarious pitching situation.
One guy who could help? Mike Montgomery. The starting pitcher more would than likely come out of the bullpen once the postseason comes around and he showed, in driving another nail in the Diamondbacks’ coffin, why he’s been so valuable to a team that’s suffered its share of pitching ailments.
Montgomery struck out eight in six innings of work. The 9-1 win increased Chicago’s division lead to 3 ½ games with 11 to play. Oh, and the MVP candidate Javier Baez did his thing.
Cleveland doesn’t have a whole lot to play for the last two weeks of the season as they’re pretty well locked into their playoff spot. But they are on the verge of making a bit of history as Corey Kluber became the third member of the rotation with 200 strikeouts in a win over the White Sox, making them just the fourth team ever to achieve that feat (the Astros are likely to join them).
Almost assuredly they’ll become the first team in major league history to feature four 200-strikeout pitchers come Friday, when Mike Clevinger takes the mound needing only four more strikeouts. Cleveland also got some good news on the injury front as one of those 200-strikeout guys, Trevor Bauer, threw to live hitters in his quest to return to the team in time for the postseason.
Crazier things have happened, sure, but Oakland’s odds of catching Houston in the AL West are starting to dwindle. The Athletics’ odds of catching the Yankees for home-field advantage in the Wild Card game are decreasing, too, and Kaleb Cowart — he of the .123/.229/.192 line entering the day — made sure of that.
One of the Cardinals, Rockies, and Dodgers is going to miss the playoffs, and the Cardinals seem hellbent on assuring it’s not going to be them.
After Paul DeJong put the Cardinals ahead with a two-run homer in the eighth, they made a tight game a blowout late with six runs in the final two innings in a win over the Braves. They lead Colorado by 2 ½ games in the NL Wild Card and are now 1 ½ behind Milwaukee for home-field advantage.
Defensive Play of the Day
Let’s go back to Los Angeles, where Justin Turner kept the score tied with this sterling play, setting the stage for Taylor’s late-game heroics.
What To Watch On Wednesday
Dodgers-Rockies—duh. Game 2 of the series in L.A. is another late starter for the non-West Coasters out there. Walker Buehler takes on Tyler Anderson. In other playoff-relevant games, Cubs and Diamondbacks features Cole Hamels vs. Robbie Ray; Cardinals-Braves gives us a nifty little pitching matchup of Jack Flaherty vs. Touki Toussaint; the Brewers send Gio Gonzalez to the mound against the Reds and Matt Harvey. And finally, the Red Sox will look to clinch the AL East title with David Price taking on Luis Severino.
[Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post mistakenly called the Rockies-Dodgers game the first of the series. It was the second, and related corrections have been made.]
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