Quick note before we get started. On Monday I said this would be a mostly daily feature, and then didn’t do it the next two days! On Tuesday it was because nothing happened on Monday. But yesterday I just straight-up forgot. My bad! Still trying to get into the offseason rhythm, I suppose. We’ll do better moving forward. That is my promise to you.
Braves squeak by for 1-0 series lead
The first game of the day ended up being the longest and not even the first to finish. It wasn’t exactly a slog of a game with both pitchers (Trevor Bauer for the Reds and Max Fried for the Braves) coming through with phenomenal outings to help send the game to extra innings with no runs scored. There were still no runs on the board — remember, there is no runner on second to start extra innings in the postseason — heading into the bottom of the 13th, when Atlanta finally came through with some offense. The game-winner ended up coming in the form of a Freddie Freeman single to give Atlanta the 1-0 win and 1-0 series lead. They’ll go for the series win Thursday at 12:08 PM ET.
Astros move on to the ALDS
After dropping Game One to the Astros on Tuesday, the Twins came into Wednesday’s do-or-die Game Two having lost each of their last 17 postseason games. It’s an unfathomable streak, and they were looking to snap it here and force a decisive Game Three. The pitching, led by starter José Berríos, was very good, but they didn’t get the necessary run support. The game was tied up at one apiece heading into the seventh and Carlos Correa broke the tie for the Astros with a solo shot. They’d get some insurance in the ninth, too, and the eventual 3-1 victory allowed Houston to become the first team this year to advance to the Division Series. They’ll take on the winner of the Athletics-White Sox series.
Marlins take Game One
Miami was certainly the most surprising team in the postseason and were facing off against a team in the Cubs with plenty of starting pitching and plenty of postseason experience. And while Kyle Hendricks was far from sharp, he kept the Marlins off the board for the first six innings. And in the bottom of the fifth, Ian Happ gave Chicago a 1-0 lead with a solo homer. But Hendricks’s lack of command started to catch up to him in the seventh and he gave up a three-run homer to Garrett Cooper before being removed from the game. Later in the inning, Jesús Aguilar hit a two-run shot, and that was enough for Miami to take the series lead with a 5-1 victory. They’ll look for a sweep on Thursday at 2:08 PM ET.
Athletics force winner-take-all Game Three
After Chicago flexed their muscles and powered their way to a decisive Game One victory, the Athletics had their backs against the wall looking to extend this opening series to three games. Oakland came out firing right away, using an error from White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal to get two in the first and a Marcus Semien homer to put two more on the board in the second. They ended up being up 5-0 heading into eighth, but Chicago didn’t make it easy late. The A’s had to work around a bases loaded jam in the ninth up only 5-3, but the snuck by to force a decisive Game Three Thursday afternoon at 3:10 PM ET.
Rays easily advance to the ALDS
The Rays were the top seed in the American League side of the bracket, and they made that clear in this series against the Blue Jays. The first game wasn’t exactly a romp, but Tampa didn’t make it difficult on themselves in Game Two. The Rays jumped out early against Blue Jays ace Hyun-Jin Ryu, taking an 8-1 lead through three innings. Behind the early offense and a great start from Tyler Glasnow, Tampa cruised to an 8-2 win to advance to the ALDS, taking on the winner of the Indians-Yankees series.
The darlings of the postseason for most fans is probably the Padres, who became a trendy team to root for all summer thanks in large part to dynamic shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr. The Cardinals were the team to jump out early, though, with a big four-run first. The Padres didn’t lie down, scoring a run in each of the first three innings, but St. Louis was too much. On the back of a 13-hit day, they scored six runs in the first three innings and shut down the Padres offense late in the game, coming through with a 7-4 win. San Diego will look to force a Game Three on Thursday at 7:08 PM ET.
Yankees win a thriller to take series
The best game of the day was not the 13-inning game, strangely enough. Instead, it was between the Yankees and Indians after New York handily took Game One. This one started strangely with a rain delay right off the bat in the bottom of the first, but it stayed dry the rest of the way. It was a back-and-forth affair with Cleveland trailing 8-6 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Jordan Luplow came through with a huge two-out, two-run double to tie the game, and in the eighth it was Cesar Hernández with an RBI single to give them the lead. They just needed to get through one more inning. Brad Hand, the Indians closer, didn’t have it though. He put the first three batters on in the ninth, and New York would tie it up on a sacrifice fly before DJ LeMahieu put New York in front with a single. Aroldis Chapman shut the door in the bottom of the ninth, and the Yankees head to the bubble to take on the Rays in the ALDS.
Dodgers take Game One
No team was more heavily favored in their opening series than the Dodgers, who were the best team in baseball taking on a Brewers team that spent zero days above .500. On top of that, Milwaukee is missing their top starter and top reliever. Brent Suter, the Brewers Game One starter, struggled mightily with control and allowed the Dodgers to take an early 2-0 lead in the first, and they added a third run in the second. Milwaukee was halt the Dodgers offense for a bit there in the middle, while the Brewers got a two-run homers from Orlando Arcía in the fourth to bring them to within one. That was all they’d manage in the game, though, and the Dodgers took the 1-0 series lead by a score of 4-2. They’ll look to finish things off on Thursday at 10:08 PM ET.
Fans being allowed
In non-game news, the league announced on Wednesday that they planned to have fans in the stands in both the NLCS and the World Series. There are a few issues I take with this, none of which have to do with the part where fans are sitting in the stands. Being outside, once fans are in their seats they should be able to be spread out enough for that to be less than a major concern, at least. However, first of all, there is still the issue of coming in and out of the park as well as bathrooms and concessions. Those are all going to be very crowded even with crowds limited to 11,500 (28% capacity in the Rangers new ballpark, which is where the World Series and NLCS will be played).
Secondly, they’re no longer allowed to call this a bubble. It’s not a bubble if fans are being brought in. Thirdly, and most importantly, this is inviting fans from all across the country to fly in and not only interact at the park but surely interact with communities at bars and restaurants for the duration of the series. Sure, there will be fans from the Dallas area who want to go just to go, but a significant portion of the tickets will be bought by out-of-town fans who want to see their team in the World Series, who will eventually return home. This is just a bad idea, though not at all a surprising one.