Dodgers take down Giants in low-scoring affair
There was only one Division Series across baseball that went the full five games, and while that’s not how MLB would have drew it up themselves, if they had to choose one series this would have been it. The Giants and Dodgers are not just huge rivals, but also the two best teams from the regular season. It doesn’t feel right that they had to play in the NLDS rather than the NLCS, but if they are going to play it should go the distance, and it did.
This was not an anti-climactic game either, as both offenses were shut down by the other side’s pitching, leading to a close and low-scoring evening out by the Bay. With the Dodgers opting for two relievers pitching an inning each before turning to Julio Urías, and the Giants rolling with a red-hot Logan Webb, the game was scoreless heading into the sixth when the Dodgers finally broke through on a Corey Seager RBI double to break the scoreless tie. And sure enough the Giants answered right back with a Darin Ruf solo homer, and we were tied once again.
That 1-1 tie held into the ninth, where Camilo Duval was pitching for the Giants after needing just one pitch to finish the eighth. He got a quick first out here as well, but then hit a batter and allowed two straight singles, the second of which was to Cody Bellinger. That one gave the Dodgers their second run of the game and the 2-1 lead. Kevin Gausman came on and finished the inning without any more damage, but now the Giants needed another answer.
Max Scherzer came out for the Dodgers to try and close it out after starting Game Three, and the Giants did get the tying run on base in that final inning on an error. But Scherzer came back with a strikeout to leave it up to Wilmer Flores. He’d also go down swinging according to the umpire on a check swing call, but replay showed it was almost certainly not a swing. It’s a tough way for a great series to end, but ultimately the Dodgers do move on to take on the Braves in the NLCS. This is the second straight year for this matchup.
Cardinals part ways with Mike Shildt
It is managerial musical chairs season, and on Thursday we got one of the bigger surprise firings, or parting of ways, or whatever they’re calling it, of the last few years. The Cardinals were the big story of baseball’s second half, at one point winning 17 in a row to help boost them into the postseason. Despite that, they have decided to make a change in the dugout, announcing the firing of Mike Shildt. They are saying it is due to what they’re referring to as philosophical differences, with no further explanation.
That is a fantastically curious phrasing, especially considering the timing. MLB really does not want this kind of news to break when postseason games are happening, especially before a highly-anticipated Game Five between rivals. St. Louis had to ask for special permission to release the news on Thursday, so for whatever reason they wanted this done with. There hasn’t been much word on what their next plan could be.
The Red Sox spin for this one is something we’ve talked about with other managerial jobs opening up, which is Will Venable. He’s been a hot future manager candidate for a few years now and was the number two in the dugout for a surprising Red Sox team. This is speculation, but if part of the philosophical difference is wanting a newer school thinker, Venable could be a good fit for that job, and should at least get an interview.
Yankees shaking up their coaching staff
Perhaps the most intriguing managerial question right now is in New York, where the Yankees have yet to make a decision about Aaron Boone. But that doesn’t mean they’re sitting around with their coaching staff. It was reported throughout the day on Thursday that they were parting with a few key coaches from Boone’s staff. While they have yet to make a decision on the manager, if he does return he will be with a staff that is being built for him rather than by him.
As Red Sox fans, it is good news to see the Yankees dugout in disarray right now, even if it’s likely to stabilize over the winter. They best news is probably that they are at least considering keeping Boone around. He’s probably not quite as bad as Yankees fans say because most fans tends to over-complain about their team’s manager, but at the same time it’s hard to believe they couldn’t find an upgrade. So if they do stick with him, that’s a win for Boston.
Arizona Fall League Update
It was not a big day for most of the Red Sox prospects down in the desert. Triston Casas started again but went 0-4 with a couple of strikeouts, while Kole Cottam also started and went 1-4 with a single, a run, and two strikeouts. Christian Koss, who’s taking the place of Connor Wong as the latter stays on the Red Sox taxi squad, drew a couple of walks and scoring a run. But the best day belonged to Jeter Downs, who made his first start down at the AFL and went 1-2 while also drawing three walks, scoring a run and knocking one in.