Gerrit Cole leads Astros to ALCS
The Astros and Rays played a decisive Game Five on Thursday with a trip to the ALCS to take on the Yankees on the line. It was billed as a phenomenal pitching matchup, and for good reason. Not only are Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow both former failed Pirates pitching projects, but they were also two of the most exciting pitchers in the game when healthy in 2019. Cole specifically has a very good chance of winning the Cy Young and put forth an all-time great performance in Game Two. These two faced off for all the marbles on Thursday, and Cole clearly came out ahead this time.
Glasnow was absolutely destroyed in the first inning, with the Astros jumping on everything he was offering and crushing it. The onslaught was significant enough that many believed he was tipping his pitches. After just one inning Houston had a 4-0 lead with Cole on the mound. That was, essentially, a wrap. The Astros righty was incredible once again, never really letting the Rays get going. Eric Sogard did hit a solo homer in the second, but that was all they’d get. In the end, Cole went eight innings with just the one run scoring on two hits, two walks and ten strikeouts. That’s twenty five strikeouts in his two postseason starts so far for those keeping track at home. The Astros ended up with a relatively easy 6-1 win, and they’ll host the Yankees on Saturday for the first game of the ALCS.
Sox Spin: Well, this is better than Yankees-Rays, but it’s still not great. As a theoretical neutral observer this is a great matchup between the two clear best teams in the American League. I am not a neutral observer, though, and will very clearly be rooting for the Astros here. As I’ve said before, the one reason it could be not the worst thing in the world if the Yankees win — and again, this is not a hope but rather just a silver lining in a potentially terrible situation — is that it could force the Red Sox to be reactionary and more aggressive this winter in keeping the best possible roster around.
Gabe Kapler fired by Phillies
In a somewhat bizarre situation, we’ve been waiting a couple weeks since the season ended to see if Gabe Kapler would keep his job in Philadelphia. The owners publicly discussed the process a bit before ultimately making the decision to fire him. A member of the 2004 Red Sox, Kapler spent two seasons at the helm of the Phillies. When he was first hired he was seen as an out-of-the-box, potentially risky candidate and in his first days on the job he made embarrassing mistakes. Kapler settled in, though, and I thought was fine managing a talented but flawed Phillies roster. From the outside, it seems like Kapler is the scapegoat for a disappointing season, which is unfair but also unfortunately part of being a uniformed coach in MLB.
Sox Spin: Kapler obviously has ties to the Red Sox as a former player who, as mentioned above, was indeed around for 2004. I’ve always been a Kapler fan and would love to say he should come to the Red Sox in some capacity, but I’m not sure what it would be. I’m sure he will land on his feet, though, as he’s always seemed to be well-respected around the game.