Dodgers win NLCS
After the first two rounds of this expanded postseason saw a lot of relatively short series, we were treated to a pair of LCS’s that each went the distance. On the American League side, the Rays took an early lead and never relented. The National League side was more back and forth, with the Braves striking early. The Dodgers went with an opener in Dustin May to start this game, and he did so with eight straight balls followed by a to put the first three men on. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Atlanta had a chance to open up a relatively big, early lead. Instead, Travis d’Arnaud grounded into a huge double play and the Braves managed just one run in the inning. Dansby Swanson then led off the second with a solo homer, making it a 2-0 game.
Ian Anderson got the start for the Braves, with the rookie having yet to allow an earned run in this postseason coming into this game. That changed in the third. With his team up 2-0, Anderson had a chance at a perfect inning but issued a big two-out walk to keep the frame going. Justin Turner followed it up with a double before Will Smith came through with a big two-run single, and just like that we were all tied up.
The tie score wouldn’t last long as the Braves got going again in the fourth, but this was another opportunity for a big inning that they did not come through on. Just like in the first they had the first three men reach including one coming around to score and make it a 3-2 game, but then their baserunning betrayed them. Swanson was off on contact on a ground ball to Turner at this base, who was playing medium depth. Swanson was caught in a rundown and eventually tagged out. To make matters even worse, Austin Riley, who was at second, was caught in no-man’s land and he was also thrown out trying to get to third after Swanson was tagged out. It was a disaster of a double play, and ruined any chance at a crooked inning.
From here, the Dodgers pitching was lights out, and their offense did just enough. Kiké Hernández came in to pinch hit to lead off the sixth and smacked a solo shot to tie the game up at three runs apiece. After Julio Urías tossed the first of three straight perfect innings to close it out, Cody Bellinger played hero. He came up with two down and nobody on, and put up a great at bat against Chris Martin. After fouling off a couple of tough two-strike pitches, Bellinger got ahold of one and sent it way out to right field for the go-ahead homer. It would prove to be the game-winner after Urías officially closed it out in the ninth, and that was that.
The Dodgers advance to their third World Series in four years, looking for their first title since 1988. They’ll play the Rays in a matchup featuring the top seed from each league. Game One is set for Tuesday night.
Marlins don’t bring back Michael Hill
Before any baseball was played on Sunday, the Marlins made a surprising decision in their front office. Michael Hill had been in Miami since 2002 and became the GM back in 2007, with a promotion to President of Baseball Operations in 2013. That run ended on Sunday as the team announced he would not be coming back. Miami has obviously had some rough years over the last decade-plus, but they also appear to be on the upswing and just had the most surprising playoff run in all of baseball. It was not the news most expected to see on Sunday morning. Derek Jeter and the new ownership group opted to keep him when they took over control of the franchise a few years ago, but now have apparently decided to move on. It should be mentioned this was not technically a firing, as Hill’s contract was up.
Miami now becomes a fairly desirable landing spot for a GM candidate. The young talent and upside with this roster was apparent all year, but there is the looming shadow of this franchise’s history, even with a new ownership group. You never know if or when you’ll be asked to tear down your work. On the other side, it’s already being speculated that Hill could head to Cincinnati, who has an opening in their front office. Hill is originally from Cincinnati.