Archive for the 'MLB' Category

Arcia and Chacin Lead Brewers to Win

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Two names that are not normally linked to greatness. Last year Orlano Arcia showed some slugging ability with 15 homeruns. The 2018 season saw him digress with only three homeruns and a .307 slugging percentage. The poor hitting saw him relegated to the minor leagues twice last season. Last night he hit his third homerun of the playoffs, a two run shot in the seventh inning to seal the Brewers 4-0 win over the Dodgers, matching his entire output of the regular season. Now that is an unlikely hero.

When the name Jhoulys Chacin comes up your first thought isn’t of an ace in your rotation. Chacin has pitched for six different teams, but this year he shined with the Brewers for a career high 15 wins and a 3.50 ERA. That shine continues through the playoffs as he went 5.1 shutout innings allowing just three hits and striking out six. For Chacin that is his second consecutive shutout start. Based on his last outing against the Dodgers this was totally unexpected. The last time Cchacin faced the Dodgers on August 2 they assaulted him for nine runs in 4.1 innings smashing three homeruns.

When you mention Travis Shaw you usually think of a slugging third baseman now second baseman who carries balls over the fence. His lack of speed does not have you thinking about triples. In his four major league seasons he has three triples. Add one more for the playoffs. Shaw tripled in the sixth and then continued to use his legs to race home on a wild pitch.

Jeremy Jeffress added some stress in the ninth by loading the bases with just one out. With luck back on his side he was able to strike out Yasmani Grandal and Brian Dozier to preserve the shutout. With the struggles of Jeffress many were hoping that Josh Hader would come out to finish the ninth.

Yasmani Grandal heard some boos from the LA crowd. He continues to have too many balls travel to the back stop. Last night he had one passed ball and a wild pitch. His strikeout with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and with runners on second and third in the second, both with one out, did not sit well with LA fans. My bet is that Austin Barnes catches tonight.

Red Sox Even Series

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Jackie Bradley is not noted for his bat. His major league career batting average is .236. There has only been one season in which he has hit over .250 and slugged more than 20 homeruns and that was in 2016. The Red Sox rely on him for his defense.

Last night his bat came up clutch with a bases clearing three run double in the third inning that gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. They went on to win the game 7-5. He is the winner of myworld’s most unlikely hero.

David Price went on to have another ineffective outing giving up four runs in his 4.2 innings of work. He walked four and coughed up five hits. Marwin Gonzalez tagged him for a two run shot in the third inning. He has yet to win a playoff start, but this is the first time his team has won in a playoff game he started. Because he pitched only 4.2 innings he was not eligible to take the win.

Gerritt Cole lasted six innings but he was assaulted by the Red Sox bats, allowing five runs on six hits. Lance MuCullers allowed a run to the Red Sox in the seventh without allowing a hit. He walked Mookie Betts, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on back to back passed balls that squirted behind Astros catcher Martin Maldanado.

Rick Porcello again pitched an inning of shutout ball in an eighth inning setup role. Craig Kimbrel came on to make Red Sox fans sweat, giving up a George Springer double and a Jose Altuve RBI single to put the tying run at the plate in Alex Bregman with two out. Bregman hit a high pop that carried to the edge of the green monster, but was caught a foot in front of the wall to end the game. Kimbrel is 4 for 4 in playoff save opportunities, but he has yet to retire the side in order in those playoff appearances.

Dodgers Even Series; Astros Strike First Against Red Sox

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Dodgers 4 Brewers 3

Normally myworld would not consider Justin Turner an unlikely hero, but after the game last night when he struck out to end the game with the tying run on third, one of his four strikeouts in five at bats, we had to reconsider. He was the hero last night with a two run homer off Brewer closer Jeremy Jeffress in the top of the eighth to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead. The bullpen was able to secure the victory, with Kenley Jansen pitching the ninth to get the save.

The Brewers had jumped out to a 3-0 lead with Wade Miley throwing 5.2 shutout innings but the Brewers bullpen coughed up two in the seventh and two in the eighth to take the loss.

Myworld has a saying - forget the past, focus on the present because that will impact your future. Turner forgot about his ineptness last night, focused on his current at bat and won the game.

The probable MVP of the National League, Christian Yelich came up with the tying run on second and grounded out to end the game. Perhaps he will be the hero in game three.

Astros 7 Red Sox 2

Yulieski Gurriel was a big time player in Cuba. He is a solid hitter in the major leagues, but doesn’t really hit for the power teams expect from their first baseman. That power comes in spurts and last night he had one of his spurts. His three run homerun in the ninth inning sealed the win for the Astros, turning the Red Sox seats empty as they won the opening game in their American League championship series. Josh Reddick had opened the inning with a homerun, turning a 3-2 lead into 4-2. The two homeruns in the ninth extended the Astros streak of homeruns in playoff games to 13, becoming the second team in history to accomplish that feat.

Carlos Correa provided the game winning hit with a broken bat single off a 100 mile per hour fastball delivered by Joe Kelly. Chris Sale lasted just four innings, walking four and hitting one batter. The Astros were only able to collect five hits, but 10 walks and three hit batsmen gave them the opportunities they needed to score runs.

Brewers Hang on Against Stumbling Dodgers

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

The Brewers took advantage of some poor fielding plays and a homerun from a most unlikely source to beat the Dodgers 6-5 in their opener. It truly was a most unexpected person that was the difference in this game in our continued quest to identify the most unlikely heroes.

Rookie Brandon Woodruff took over for Gio Gonzalez after he could go only two innings by design. The Brewers only wanted Gio to go through the order once and let the bullpen do the rest. Enter Woodruff who worked two perfect innings, striking out four to get credit for the win. But it was not his arm that won the game. It was his bat. In the bottom of the third, against Clayton Kershaw, Woodruff went deep with a blast measured at just over 400 feet. It is the first time in post season play that a pitcher hitting lefthanded has hit a homerun against a lefthanded pitcher. It is not the first time that Clayton Kershaw has pitched poorly, as his disappointing playoff appearances continue.

That tied the game at 1-1. Nothing could go right after that for the Dodgers in the next two innings. A single and walk put two runners on when Yasmani Grandal had a nightmare inning. A passed ball advance the runners to second and third and a catcher’s interference loaded the bases. Hernan Perez hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1 but Grandal allowed the throw home to get by him allowing the other runners to advance. Fortunately the last error did not hurt.

The poor fielding continued in the fourth when Chris Taylor allowed a single to get by him to put runners on second and third. Santana singled to score both runners. With one out Santana stole second but was originally called out. Replay reversed the call and the Brewers took advantage with a Ryan Braun single to score Santana. That made the score 5-1.

Josh Hader was extended three innings, keeping the Dodgers at one run going into the eighth. With a 6-1 the Dodgers fought back with three in the eighth. Chris Taylor hit an RBI triple in the ninth to make it 6-5 but Corey Knebel was able to strike out Justin Turner to win the game. For poor Justin it was his fourth whiff in five at bats.

Red Sox Eliminate Yankees

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

The cycle king Brock Holt did not play. The man who normally plays his position Ian Kinsler did play. He was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels at the trade deadline when the Red Sox recognized they would have to go through the 2018 season without Dustin Pedroia. Kinsler drove in the second run with an RBI double over the head of the leftfielder.

A 2017 acquisition from the Giants, Edwin Nunez ripped a single to left field to up the score to 3-0. Nunez also made the final out on a slow grounder, just nipping Gleyber Torres at first base. Steve Pearce a late season acquisition from the Blue Jays was able to make a nice stretch at first base to nip Torres. The Yankees challenged the call but the replay confirmed the out.

Chris Sale got a relief outing in the eighth, retiring the side in order. Craig Kimbrel struggled in the ninth, walking two, hitting a batter and giving up a single. Gary Sanchez came within feet of hitting a walk off grand slam off Kimbrel, but the ball was caught at the warning track.

Now the two best teams in the American League face off against each other.

Holt and Red Sox Embarrass Yankees

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Not a lot of close games as the Dodgers and Astros advance. The Red Sox embarrassed the Yankees in New York.

Boston Red Sox 16 Yankees 1

The utility player Brock Holt became the first player ever to hit for the cycle in a post season game in the Red Sox 16-1 rout over the Yankees. He finished the cycle with a two run homerun in the ninth inning off Yankee catcher Austin Romine. The first two games of the series saw him sit the bench.

Nathan Eovoldi was making his post season debut. At one time Eovoldi had pitched for the Yankees with minimal success. He had started the season with the Rays but was traded to the Red Sox in July. He has also pitched for the Dodgers and Marlins, missing the 2017 season because of Tommy John surgery. Yesterday he saved the Red Sox bullpen working seven innings and allowing just one run to get his post season win, lighting up the radar gun with a half dozen pitches that hit triple digits.

The Red Sox blew the game away with a seven run fourth inning, Holt capping the inning with his hardest hit, a two run triple.

Houston Astros 11 Cleveland Indians 3

The Astros completed their sweep against the Indians. The Indians had a 2-1 lead after five. The Astros battered the Indians bullpen for 10 runs in the next three innings, a six run eighth putting the game out of reach. Collin McHugh got the win with his two innings of shutout ball. McHugh was bumped to the bullpen because he did not make the starting rotation after spring training. He shined with the shorter role.

George Springer went deep with two solo shots and Carlos Correa blasted a three run homer in the six run eighth. Marwin Gonzalez got the big hit for the Astros with a two run double to break a 2-2 tie.

Los Angeles Dodgers 6 Atlanta Braves 2

David Freese has been a clutch post season performer. In 2011 he slugged five homeruns and drove in 21 in 18 post season games. This year the Dodgers acquired Freese from the Pirates to be a role player. The role he was asked to play last night was as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning with the Braves ahead 2-1. Freese put the Dodgers back on top with his two run single. Machado clinched the post season series with his three run homer in the seventh. Neither player was on the Dodgers roster when the season started.

The Dodgers will now face the Brewers in the National League championship series. Kershaw and not Ryu will get the opening nod start for the Dodgers.

Brewers Sweep Rockies; Braves Stay Alive

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Last year Wade Miley had trouble getting anyone out. The opposition hit him at a .287 clip while he was pitching for the Orioles, finishing with an 8-15 record with a 5.61 ERA. It was his second straight season with an ERA over 5, spanning a career where his ERA rose every year starting with the 2012 season.

This year Miley had a career year, starting the season in the minor leagues, getting a call up in May but missing a couple months with an oblique injury. When he pitched he was exceptional, limiting the opposition to a career low .237 batting average while going 5-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 16 starts.

Last night the Brewers called on him to continue the magic and he threw zeroes for 4.2 innings to lead the Brewers to a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies, extending their winning streak to 11 games. It was the second consecutive game in which the Rockies were shutout.

The Brewers got homeruns from some unexpected players in this game, when you considered the season they had or the season they were expected to have. The great fielding shortstop Orlando Arcia, who only hit .233 during the regular season bashed a solo shot in the ninth. Keon Broxton, who spent much of his 2018 season in the minor leagues made it back to back with a pinch hit homer. Jesus Aguilar, who was not the starting first baseman when the season started but hit 35 homeruns after injuries and homeruns put him in the starting lineup hit a solo shot in the fourth, his first career post season hit. The 38 year old catcher Erik Kratz also contributed with three hits and is now hitting .625 for his post season debut.

The Braves kept their series alive getting a grand slam homerun from rookie Ronald Acuna to take a 5-0 lead. Acuna became the youngest player since Mickey Mantle to hit a grand slam homerun. Mickey who? After the Dodgers came back to tie the game at 5-5 it came upon the longest tenured Brave, veteran Freddie Freeman to break the tie with a solo homerun in the sixth.

The Braves called on their young pitching staff to keep the victory alive, rookies Touki Touissant and A.J. Minter each tossing an inning of shutout ball, before Arodys Vizcaino closed out the ninth to pick up the save, striking out Muncy, Machado and Dozier with two runners on. Viz knows how to increase the gray hairs of all those who watched the game.

Sanchez Leads Yankees; Astros Dominate Indians

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Only two games today. Hard to find obscure players who made an impact in the games from yesterday.

Gary Sanchez has struggled with his 2018 season. The homeruns have come (18) but the batting average has suffered (.186). He has also been limited to just 89 games because of injury. Last year he slugged 33 homeruns while hitting .278 in his sophomore season.

Last night Sanchez looked more like the 2017 version than the 2.0 of 2018. He hit a solo homerun in the second and a three run job in the seventh to lead the Yankees to a 6-2 win over the Red Sox. The Yankees seem to have David Price number and last night he did not survive past the second inning. He also gave up a solo homerun to Aaron Judge in the first inning. For Gary Sanchez his homerun off Price was his sixth off him in just 14 career at bats. Talk about owning a pitcher.

While Price wilted, falling to 2-9 with a 5.28 ERA in playoff games, Masahiro Tanaka looked strong. He allowed just one Red Sox run in his five innings of work, a Xander Boegarts solo shot in the fourth. Tanaka was a big game pitcher in the playoffs in Japan and he is proving that in the United States, going 3-2 with a 1.50 ERA in five starts.

The win evens up the series between the Yankees and the Red Sox at one game apiece.

Marwin Gonzalez was originally a Chicago Cub. He was picked up by the Red Sox on waivers in 2011 and then traded to the Astros for Marco Antonio Duarte. The utility player who is actually a starter, it just depends on what position he plays that day, went a perfect 4 for 4 playing left field to lead the Astros over the Indians 3-1. It was Gonzalez two run double in the sixth inning that gave the Astros a 2-1 lead.

Gerritt Cole, who was originally drafted by the Yankees as a first round pick, but failed to sign, dominated the Indians with 12 whiffs in seven innings. Francisco Lindor blasted a homerun off him in third inning for the only blemish in his game.

The Astros now lead their series against the Indians two games to zero.

Unsung Heroes in this Foursome of Playoff Games

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Myworld continues to look at some of the unsung heroes in these playoff games. Those players who were not really expected to contribute, especially when you looked at their career path before the 2018 season started.

Houston Astros 7 Cleveland Indians 2

The usual suspects in George Springer, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve went deep in the Astros win. An unusual suspect also went deep in Martin Maldonado, a seventh inning shot that turned the momentum on the Indians. The Indians had scored two in the sixth to cut the lead to 4-2 but Maldonado’s solo shot in the seventh tamed their celebratory mood. Prior to the season Maldonado was an Angel. The Astros acquired him after an injury to Brian McCann. They liked his defense. Yesterday they liked his offense as well. To many Astro fans he has become an angel.

Justin Verlander did not allow a hit through the first five innings. When he got in trouble in the sixth, giving up two runs the Astros called on Ryan Pressly, not a usual choice in the Astros pen. Pressly also started his 2018 season with another team (the Minnesota Twins) stitching together an ERA north of 3 in his six years with Minnesota. Since being acquired from the Twins Pressly has appeared in 26 games with the Astros, limiting the opposition to a 0.77 ERA and a .136 opposition average. He retired all five hitters he faced, striking out Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning, though he did allow both inherited runners to score on a wild pitch and a ground out.

Boston Red Sox 5 New York Yankees 4

J.D. Martinez slugged a three run homer for the Red Sox. There were no unsung heroes unless you want to tout the defensive play of Sandy Leon behind the plate, stopping many balls from crashing into the back stop.

Milwaukee Brewers 4 Colorado Rockies 0

The Brewers went up 2-0 on the Rockies. The pitching staff shut down the Rockies offense, but it was the usual suspects quieting the bats. For the Brewers it was their tenth straight win.

Myworld has to go to our third catcher named as an unsung hero, the 38 year old Erik Kratz, who was appearing in his first playoff game in his career, a career that has always found him as the back up catcher for the seven or so major league teams he has played for since 2010. He started this year as the back up catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting only .236 during the regular season, which was above his .211 career average. Yesterday, besides calling a good game that did not allow the Rockies a run, he also got a clutch hit in the eighth inning, a two run single that turned a 2-0 game into a 4-0 game. It has been since 1905 when a position player older than Erik Kratz started his first playoff game, that player being the equally non-descript Lave Cross, a third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Asked if that was the biggest hit of his career Kratz remarked that he did hit a homerun in a AAA playoff game. Come on Erik. I’d take a two run single in a major league playoff game over a homerun in AAA.

Los Angeles Dodgers 3 Atlanta Braves 0

The Braves bats have certainly had a power outage. After being shutout by Ryu the day before they were also shutout by Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw pitched 8 innings of shutout ball, striking out three. Manny Machado swatted a two run homer in the first and Yasmani Grandal hit a solo shot in the fifth. This game was absent unsung heroes, but in the playoffs Kershaw has always struggled. Coming into this playoff game his playoff ERA sat at 4.35. The eight shutout innings lowered his ERA to 4.05. That still falls far short of his career regular season ERA of 2.39.

Ryu Leads Dodgers to Game One Playoff Win; Two Rookies Shine for Brewers

Friday, October 5th, 2018

If you had to choose between Clayton Kershaw or Hyun-Jin Ryu for your opening day playoff pitcher which one would you choose? Most would say Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers chose Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Ryu has been having a solid year with a 1.97 ERA, which would get him Cy Young consideration if he had more than 15 starts. Ryu has had difficulty staying healthy this year with a three month battle with a groin issue. After coming over from Korea in 2013 he pitched two good seasons for the Dodgers. He missed all of 2015 and all except for one start of the 2016 season because of a shoulder injury that required surgery. In 2017 he got 24 starts but they were rather blah starts, failing to get him on the Dodgers post season roster. He was always a big game pitcher in Korea so the Dodgers chose him to start game one against the Braves.

All Ryu did was pitch seven innings of shutout ball, giving up four hits and striking out eight while walking none, proving his big game exploits are not just limited to Korea. The Braves had no chance against Ryu. Next they will have to deal with Kershaw.

Another unsung hero was Max Muncy. Last year everyone’s surprise team for making the playoffs the Oakland Athletics released Max Muncy. They had too many corner infielders and did not have enough room for him on their roster. He had played for them a little bit in 2015 and 2016 but struggled to stay above the Mendoza line, failing to get his OPS above .600. He did not play in the major leagues in 2017 spending all his time in the minor leagues.

The Dodgers picked him up even though they had rookie of the year Cody Bellinger to play first base. By mid-season Muncy had won the starting first base job, his 35 homeruns almost equaling that of Bellinger last year (39). The Dodgers decided to make an outfielder out of Bellinger, giving the first base job to Muncy.

He made that look good last night with a three run homer off Mike Foltynewicz to give the Dodgers an early 4-0 lead. It was his first official post season at bat. He had walked in the first inning in his first post season at bat. With Ryu tossing zeroes the Dodgers were the easy winner 7-0 in the opener and Ryu and Muncy share the spotlight of unsung heroes becoming heroes in these playoff rounds.

The Milwaukee Brewers had a couple rookies become unsung heroes in these playoff games. Rookie Brandon Woodruff, the Brewers top pitching prospect entering the 2018 season was given the opportunity to start the opening playoff game against the Rockies. This despite the fact he had only made four major league starts during the regular season. Most of his appearances had come in relief.

He almost pitched a perfect three innings against the Rockies. He walked one, but that was okay because that runner was caught trying to steal second base.

He was followed by another rookie prospect Corbin Burnes. He had made 30 relief appearances during the regular season, vulturing a 7-0 record during those 30 games. He pitched two shutout innings, striking out two and giving up one hit. Unfortunately, he could not vulture another win after being given a 2-0 lead on a Christian Yelich two run homer in the third because Brewer closer Jeremy Jeffress coughed up the lead in the ninth.

No worries. In the 10th the Brewers got a walk from Christian Yelich and a walk off single from Mike Moustakas, who was a Kansas City Royal at the start of the season, to win the game 3-2.