Alright folks, it’s October. That means playoffs and we got a lot of games in a short amount of time already. Let’s dive straight in, shall we?
AL Wild Card Play-In
The Houston Astros (yes, you read that right) beat the New York Yankees 3-0 to advance. Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, pitching on 3 days rest, threw 6 shut out innings. Sipp, Harris and Gregerson each went 1 to complete the shutout. The Astros move on to face Kansas City.
NL Wild Card Play-In
Cubs vs Pirates. Yup. Cubs vs Pirates. The Pirates never really had a chance here. Arrieta was dominant in a complete game shutout. 9 innings. 11 K’s. 5 hits. 0 walks. 0 runs. Thanks for coming. Cubs head to take on division rival St. Louis.
Astros vs Royals
Game 1 had a rain delay of close to an hour early on. A stoppage of that length will, many times, lead the manager to pull the pitcher. The Astros didn’t and it paid off. Collin McHugh tossed 6 solid innings, only giving up 2 runs. A couple of dingers from Rasmus and Springer powered the Astros to a 5-2 victory in Game 1.
Then in Game 2 the Stros jumped out to an early lead and after 3, were up 4-2. But the Royals bullpen held strong, refused to cede anymore ground, and the Royals battled back. They scored 2 in the 6th and 1 more in the 7th. Royals take Game 2, 5-4.
Rangers vs Blue Jays
Game 1 was injury laden. Both teams’ 3rd basemen didn’t last the game. Texas’ Adrian Beltre had to come out with a lower back strain. Toronto’s Josh Donaldson had to leave in the 5th when he felt lightheaded on the field after taking a knee to the head while sliding to break up a double play. He passed the concussion tests and ultimately the Rangers won the game 5-3.
Game 2 was longer than this post. 14 innings. Fourteen. Innings. Ouch. The Rangers extended the series lead to 2-0 on rookie Hanser Alberto’s single in the top of the 14th. Amusingly, Alberto was irritated with his performance at the plate and swapped out his bat for teammate Delino DeShields. DeShields then picked up the bat off the ground and immediately drove in the second run of the inning.
As of this writing, Game 3 is win or go home for the Jays.
Cubs vs Cardinals
Game 1 was two former teammates, Lackey and Lester, taking the hill for their respective teams. Lackey and the Cardinals did what Lackey and the Cardinals do. Win. A 1-0 game was opened up in the 8th with home runs from Pham and Piscotty and gave the Cards a 4-0 lead.
Game 2 started, and ultimately, ended quickly. The Cubs strung together hits and not one, but two squeeze plays to score 5 and take a 5-1 lead. They added a run in the 3rd and then pretty much put it in cruise control for the 6-3 victory.
Mets vs Dodgers
Game 1 saw deGrom vs Kershaw. And it completely lived up to the hype. deGrom struck out 13 in 7 scoreless innings. Yeah, he averaged almost two K’s per inning. Kershaw threw pretty well until getting touched up for a couple runs in the 7th. For Kershaw, this was his fifth straight postseason loss. Mets take Game 1, 3-1.
Game 2 is all about The Slide. Before that, let’s look at the actual game. Grienke gave up 2 in the 2nd, but that was it. The Dodgers scored 4 in the 7th and evened up the series with a 5-2 win. Now what everyone is talking about. In the midst of the Dodgers 4 run 7th inning, Chase Utley was on first and Howie Kendrick hit a ball up the middle. 2B Murphy fielded the ball behind the bag and threw to Tejada. Die to where Murphy fielded the ball, Tejada came across the bag with his back to first base, instead of facing first base like normal. Utley slid late and upended Tejada. The play resulted in Tejada leaving on a cart with what was ultimately determined to be a broken fibula.
Late of anger at Utley for a “dirty play.” Let me say, I’ve got 20 years of playing and coaching experience. It was not, in my opinion, a dirty play. A “dirty play”, to me, means that the player intended to hurt another player. I don’t see any thing that makes me think that Utley was intentionally trying to hurt Tejada. I think he was aggressively trying to break up a double play. He was not outside the base path. Look at the replay. His upper body was actually over the bag as he made contact.
Utley slid late. Very late. He slid hard. That play happens dozens of times a year in baseball. I don’t think it was dirty. I think Tejada got caught in an awkward spot where he couldn’t clear out of the path like he normally would. I think Utley was aggressively trying to break up a double play. Again, in my experience, I would not call this a “dirty play”. An unfortunate one, but not a dirty one. Your opinions are, of course, your own and likely to vary.
Sorry for the movie review. Hope you all are enjoying the postseason and I’ll catch you later for some more baseball talk.
Lifelong Dodgers fan here, and while I agree that it wasn’t a “dirty play,” I think that Utley took too great a risk in being aggressive. Yeah, collisions happen in baseball, but this was intentional and things got out of control. I don’t think it’s the MLB’s job to punish Utley, but Don Mattingly needs to do something before tonight’s game or the Mets will take things into their own hands.