It may be a good thing I’m sick today because it was a great excuse to sit and watch essentially 12 hours of baseball. That and basically munch on ball park food all day. And it’s one of the longest days in baseball, at least for me, because it’s the only day so far of guaranteed 4 games to watch. While Monday is technically scheduled for 4 games, the ALDS ones (Game 4) are tentatively scheduled “as needed” because of the best-of-5 situation (meaning you need 3 to win and advance, so Games 4 and 5 may never come).
First game tonight was ALDS Game 2 of Detroit at Baltimore. I can honestly say that I really assumed that the Tigers were going to win this game because of how they played their 4th inning, and in part due to their starting pitcher. Baltimore really struggled with their pitching staff, their starter not getting out of the 4th inning, due to the Tigers getting 5 runs in that inning alone (an RBI single, a 3-run home run, and a solo home run in three consecutive batters). The Orioles, especially in front of their home crowd, weren’t about to give up at just their 3 runs. But both teams struggled with their pitching staff today, none more so than the Tigers and that dreadful 8th inning.
Going into the bottom of the 8th, the Tigers led 6-3 over the O’s. An RBI single sparked the flame, but loading the bases and then a 3-RBI double just fanned the flames and pushed the O’s up and over the Tigers 7-6. Which is where they settled. It was so close for the Tigers until the same guys they brought on last night repeated their performance and handed the game away. This to me says that the Tigers biggest weakness is their bullpen, but it’s not like the Orioles’ pitching staff was much better. It will be interesting to see if “home field advantage” works in this situation.
ALDS Game 2a — Orioles over Tigers 7-6
The next game was NLDS Game 1 of San Francisco at Washington. And honestly, it was the most interesting game to watch all day because it wasn’t a result of sloppy play, but rather good old-fashioned hard-working baseball game. Technically, both starters were pretty evenly matched going into the game, and I’d say it was a pretty tight game for those two. But what won out the day in favor of the Giants was that their pitcher was just a little bit better. That and the Giants really like to hit the ball. They got 12 total hits over their 9 innings.
The Giants led 2-0 going into the 7th, adding to their lead an extra run when the lead-off triple scored on a single. But then 2 separate solo home runs by the Nationals put them within 1 run, but the Giants weren’t going anywhere. And in an act of solidarity, they never let the Nats do anything else, keeping the lead and winning Game 1 for themselves. Both teams played with such gusto and passion that even the mundane plays seem to push them to be better.
NLDS Game 1a — Giants over Nationals 3-2
Then it was over to the West Coast for the NLDS Game 1 of St. Louis Cardinals at LA Dodgers. The Cards took an early lead with a solo home run in the 1st inning, but the Dodgers came back getting 2 runs in each of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings. The Cards got one of those runs back in the 6th. Look, the Dodgers starting pitcher is a former Cy Young award winner, and he’s honestly very, very good. It’s not surprising that while he was on the mound, the Dodgers were winning, and it’s sad for him they couldn’t hold onto it.
But in the 7th inning, all that just changed as the Dodgers were already into the bullpen. Here’s the messy 7th inning: single, single, single to load the bases, RBI single, strikeout, RBI single, strikeout, 3-RBI double, (pitching change), walk, 2-run home run, and finally groundout. By the end of the inning, the Cards were up 10-6 over the Dodgers. The Dodgers got to work chipping away on that lead. They got a 2-run home run in the 8th and an RBI groundout in the 9th, but couldn’t get the magic number of 10 to send it into extra innings and have a chance to win it back.
NLDS Game 1b — Cardinals over Dodgers 10-9
And finally, to cap off the day was the ALDS Game 2 of Kansas City at LA Angels. And because they’re apparently very evil (not a big fan of extra innings in the postseason), the Royals love to push their postseason games into extra innings games. Tonight was no exception, making it the 3rd consecutive extra innings postseason game for the Royals. This time into 11 innings. Kansas City displayed probably their best pitching staff for tonight’s game, their starter giving up just 5 hits and 1 run over his 7 innings. The Royals jumped ahead early with an RBI single in the 2nd, but the Angels came back with their own RBI single in the 6th to tie up the game.
And the battle began. Back and forth, eventually pushing the Royals into their 3rd extra innings game. Then in the top of the 11th, the Royals put a runner on base with a single who ended up scoring on the next batter’s 2-run home run. An RBI single later in the same inning added yet another run to the Royals’ score, one they were able to maintain to win the game over the Angels.
ALCS Game 2b — Royals over Angels 4-1
I find it funny that all four games played today were centered in two areas — the Baltimore-DC area and the LA area. In fact, to point out some even weirder coincidences, the teams playing the LA-based teams are both from Missouri and a predominantly blue team is playing against a predominantly red team. And the winning team of the Baltimore-Detroit series will be wearing orange and black. Maybe it’s just me being weird, but I like looking for oddities. Hey, I just watched 12 hours of straight baseball and not one Yankees game, give me a break!
Speaking of Yankees… there is no Yankee news. At least no active Yankees news. Jeter is promoting his new ventures in digital and print publishing, and talks remain in progress for the GM and coaching staff for next year’s season. Yes, that’s it.