Thursday, October 1, 2020

Wild Card Series' Day 2: A Heaping Platter of Baseball

...damn you Manfred. 

Can you believe it, an MLB commissioner that won't actually punish a cheating team, aside from like...executives and shit. The Astros, in a normal year, would sit out the playoffs, but Manfred HAD to insist on an 8-team playoff circuit, so that SOMEHOW the Astros would just be the 8th-worst team in the AL, therefore the 8th best, and weasel its way in.

And then they beat the Twins, an actual good team, in the playoffs and because it's a 3 game series, the Astros somehow wind up in the next stage of the playoffs. Manfred could have made it Top 6 with a team getting a bye in the second round, but he had to do this and continue to reward the team he's supposed to be punishing.

...It shouldn't be this simple for the Astros to make the playoffs. They were under .500 this season, a lot of their core underperformed, and they were technically a bad team...and yet they got momentum and kicked the Twins' ass for two games, and now they get to move on. Kyle Tucker and George Springer play amazingly, and they're deeper into it.

I...I....ah god...

And the thing is...the Twins weren't a bad team this year. They ended up 1st in the AL Central despite trailing Chicago and Cleveland for most of September, overcame injuries to Josh Donaldson and Jake Odorizzi and rode on awesome seasons from Kenta Maeda and Byron Buxton. But...this team had nowhere near the amount of firepower as the 2019 team, and they knew it. The Twins may have won the division, but the White Sox were the best team in that division this year, and their playoff numbers show it. 

It's still sad to see them go this early, as they had some promise, and deserved it more than Houston, know...BS rules..

 Anyway, happier news. After a 13-inning game, and some of the best material of Trevor Bauer's career, Freddie Freeman got to Amir Garrett and walked off for the Braves. It was the kind of outcome I saw coming [Cincy has the better pitching, but Atlanta's the better clutch team], but it was still cool to see Freeman do it. Tomorrow will be interesting, because I want the Reds to stay in it, but I also know how unbeatable the Braves seem this year.

In terms of David-Goliath battles, the Miami Marlins won a playoff game against the 1st place Chicago Cubs. Sandy Alcantara pitched a better game than Kyle Hendricks. Jesus Aguilar and Corey Dickerson had RBIs. This is a phenomenal statement from one of the most unlikely playoff teams in the bunch. I'm not saying they're the best team out there right now, but they might be the most dangerous. 

As a response to Lucas Giolito's gem yesterday, Chris Bassitt sprung into action for Oakland, allowing only 1 run over 7 innings with 5 strikeouts. Tommy La Stella, Marcus Semien and Khris Davis helped him out with run support, and despite some White Sox batters getting to Liam Hendriks late, the A's stayed alive to play one more game. Exciting to see who wins this series, as these are two likable teams and I really don't want to lose either of them.

Meanwhile, the 1 seeded Rays continued to bring out more surprises, including a second consecutive run-scoring showing for Randy Arozarena, the guy the Cardinals traded to Tampa along with Jose Martinez, who's now got a lot more starting time and is coming into his own. Arozarena had 3 hits today, including 2 doubles, and is having a very promising postseason. Also, your standard guys like Tyler Glasnow, Manny Margot and Hunter Renfroe impressed for Tampa as well. 

And as for the team they beat... cool as it was to watch this team get hot, this outcome was kind of inevitable. The Jays were fun, and young, and scrappy, but they were never gonna be better than the Rays, and...thanks to subpar starts from Matt Shoemaker and Hyun-Jin Ryu, never really got going. It'll be fun to see the second act next year, and how they recover from the pitching woes of the second half.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals rallied behind the old-timers like Yadier Molina, Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter, and let Kwang-Hyun Kim stay on for a bit, to beat the Padres. If you know me, you know I'm not exactly rooting for the Cardinals, and the Padres are the more fun team in this scenario. But...the Cardinals have been known to do better in the postseason, and have more momentum, it seems...and more pitching. Tomorrow the Padres are starting Zach Davies, and hopefully he'll keep runs down. was close, but thanks to some late heroics from DJ LeMahieu and GARY SANCHEZ OF ALL PEOPLE, the Yankees squeezed past the Indians to move onto the next round and play the Rays. This is still a flawed team that let too many runs go by, but we still out hit the most dangerous clutch team in baseball, and we should be proud of that. I have no idea how the Rays series is gonna go, and I'm very worried considering our track record against Tampa this year, but I'm happy we won against Cleveland.

And even if they didn't advance, the Indians fought. They fought until the last out, and they kept putting more runs on the board. Josh Naylor was playing beautifully, Cesar Hernandez and Jose Ramirez were solid, Carlos Carrasco was a steady starter this game, and this was still a good team that just got beat out by a slightly better one. I do think they have a future next year if they keep the right people around.

And finally, this guy led a barrage of old postseason heroes for the Dodgers, including Corey Seager, Max Muncy and Walker Buehler, in shutting down the Brewers for Game 1. AJ Pollock, Will Smith and Mookie Betts had the big RBIs, Seager had a homer, Buehler pitched well enough [Arcia homer notwithstanding], and the team looked pretty great polishing off a solid 1-8 bracket matchup. I hope their luck continues, and I hope they continue to look this nice this postseason.

1 comment:

  1. MVFree! Freddie killed it this season and of course was the hero yesterday in one of the lowest scoring games in playoff history. Good post and can't wait for another day filled with games.