The playoffs roll on today, a day most people will be flipping back and forth between college football and playoff baseball. (And Hallmark movies where a busy CEO suddenly finds herself the owner of a rundown B&B just in time for the big harvest festival...no? Just me? Okay.) In case you missed it, here’s what happened yesterday:
- In the Rays/Astros ALDS, the Astros opened up with a win over the Rays, 6-2. The Rays didn’t help themselves when a pop-up fell between two young players, Brandon Lowe and Austin Meadows, allowing two runs to score. Lowe said later it was deafeningly loud inside Minute Maid Park, and it impacted player communication. Justin Verlander went seven innings, striking out eight and allowing just one hit. Rays manager Kevin Cash said simply after the game: “We got Verlander’d.” Not fun, is it, Rays?
- The Yankees/Twins game was high-scoring, as you might expect. The Twins hung tough with the Yankees over the first four innings, trailing just 3-2 thanks in part to a Nelson Cruz bomba off James Paxton (conflicting feelings!), but the bullpen wasn’t able to continue Jose Berrios’s strong start, surrendering a combined seven runs. The Twins were able to scrape another couple runs off the Yankees bullpen, but it wasn’t enough to match a four-RBI day from DJ LeMahieu plus a key two-run double from Gleyber Torres.
- In the NLDS, the Nationals were able to tie up the series with the Dodgers by jumping on Clayton Kershaw early for three runs in the first two innings. They’d add an insurance run in the 8th off rookie Dustin May, also known as “Gingergaard” for his flowing red lettuce and last seen in the Texas League tormenting Arkansas Travelers batters. The real story here though was the Nationals’ pitching, which neutralized a powerful Dodgers offense. Stephen Strasburg dominated through six innings, striking out 10, and Max Scherzer pitched the eighth inning, striking out the side.
- The Braves tied up the series with the Cardinals thanks to a dominant pitching performance from Mike Foltynewicz, who went seven innings and allowed three hits, no walks, and struck out seven. Manager Brian Snitker lifted him for pinch hitter Adam Duvall in the bottom of the seventh with Atlanta clinging to a 1-0 advantage, a risky move that paid off when Duvall blasted a two-run homer off Jack Flaherty—who was otherwise excellent, going seven innings and allowing just one other run in addition to the homer while striking out eight—to give Atlanta some insurance. Max Fried and Mark Melancon, redeeming himself from a poor performance the other day, shut things down with two scoreless innings and four Ks between them.
Twins at Yankees, 2:07 PT, FS1
|Max Kepler - CF||DJ LeMahieu - 1B|
|Jorge Polanco - SS||Aaron Judge - RF|
|Nelson Cruz - DH||Brett Gardner - CF|
|Eddie Rosario - RF||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Mitch Garver - C||Giancarlo Stanton - LF|
|Luis Arraez - 2B||Gleyber Torres - 2B|
|Miguel Sano - 3B||Gary Sanchez - C|
|Marwin Gonzalez - 1B||Didi Gregorius - SS|
|Jake Cave - LF||Gio Urshela - 3B|
The Yankees are running out the same lineup as they did last night, while the Twins are shuffling things around some, promoting Max Kepler to the leadoff spot and pushing Mitch Garver and Miguel Sano down. The Twins are also opting to start rookie Randy Dobnak instead of Jake Odorizzi. Best of luck, R-Dobs. The Yankees will start Masahiro Tanaka.
Rays at Astros, 6:07 PT, FS1
These games are both on FS1 so hopefully the Yankees game doesn’t take the full four hours. (I want the ESPN NerdCast back. Stupid football.) Gerrit Cole will get the start for the Astros, and Blake Snell will start for the Rays. It will be interesting to see how Cole fares after Verlander’s performance yesterday with regards to the Cy Young race. Verlander has been very good, but I think Cole has been the more dominant of the two. If I had a Cy Young vote, I would vote Cole.
Here’s how the Rays lineup shakes out:
No Astros lineup yet, but assume it to look similar to what they ran out in Game 1 with some minor tweaks with a lefty up on the hill in Snell.