The Astros rotation is silly good, and it is led by Justin Verlander, who has turned himself into a postseason legend. In an awesome matchup with Tyler Glasnow, it seemed like runs were going to be hard to come by all afternoon. That was indeed the case, with the score remaining scoreless until the bottom of the fifth. The Astros broke out there starting with a two-run shot for José Altuve before the Rays defense would cost them two more runs and it was 4-0 by the time the dust settled. Each team would get two runs in the later innings, but the end result was still a four-run win for the ‘Stros.
Sox Spin: It doesn’t seem fair that Justin Verlander appears ready to be doing this against American League clubs in the postseason for another half-century.
After losing the first game of this NLDS, the Braves suddenly found themselves in trouble. It’s not just that they were down 1-0 in a short, best-of-five series, which is bad enough. On top of that, they had to go up against Jack Flaherty, who is coming off one of the best second halves we’ve ever seen. Somewhat amazingly, though, Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz outpitched the Cardinals righty and the Braves won a 3-0 game. The Braves would score right away in the bottom of the first, and then relied on dominant pitching before Adam Duvall came on as a pinch hitter to smash a two-run shot in the seventh to open the game up a bit. So, this series is now tied at one and will resume on Sunday in St. Louis.
Sox Spin: Old friend Mark Melancon blew the first game of this series and was put right back out there on Friday in a three-run game in the ninth. He got himself into a bit of trouble yet again, putting two on and bringing the tying run to the plate with one out. This time he escaped with the win.
This Yankees-Twins series is a really interesting series from a recent history perspective. Minnesota, of course, has long been hopeless against the Yankees. It seems impossible to be as bad against New York as they have been, as you’d think you eventually win a game by accident. This is a different kind of Twins team, though, with big power that can certainly keep up with this Yankees lineup. They didn’t on Friday, though. Minnesota did jump out early with a first inning solo homer from Jorge Polanco, but the Yankees eventually answered back with a three-run third. The score was tied 3-3 into the bottom of the fifth, but New York scored a total of seven runs over the next three innings, and that was that. By the time it was all said and done it was a 10-4 win for the bad guys.
Sox Spin: It stinks!
Nationals even up the other NLDS
The best Division Series, at least in my eyes, was the one between the Dodgers and Nationals. L.A. was the clear favorite, of course, but Washington is loaded with talent including in the rotation, which gives them a real chance of winning any given game. That’s exactly what we saw on Friday. Stephen Strasburg got the start for this one, and while Max Scherzer is still Max Scherzer, Strasburg was the most consistently good starter in this Washington rotation in 2019. He showed why in this start. Behind six innings of one-run ball from Strasburg with ten strikeouts and no walks, the Nationals went on to win a 4-2 game out in California. They’ll now head back home with this series all knotted up and the aforementioned Scherzer set to take the ball on Sunday. Suddenly, they’re not in all that bad a position.
Sox Spin: Strasburg is phenomenal and the more he does this in the postseason the more likely he opts into free agency. As I’ve said before, the Red Sox aren’t going to spend for him but there’s a chance the Yankees could and I hate it a lot.