Wednesday, October 12, 2016

MLB Division Series

Seems like they were in a hurry over in the American League, where both division series ended in sweeps. But neither National League series was a one-sided affair.
I'm not surprised by anything that happens when the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers face off, though I wouldn't have predicted a sweep. The Jays offense came to play, jumping out to big leads in both of the first two games, which is not an easy task against Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. Toronto was down in the third game but again the offense came through, forcing extra innings. Some shaky Texas defense and good Toronto baserunning led to the walkoff, series-clinching win.

Three losses in a row for Boston, on the other hand, was a major surprise. Most of the year, the Red Sox were scoring ridiculous numbers of runs and pitching fairly well. I kept expecting them to struggle at some point, and it just didn't happen. Well, now it has, at the worst possible time for them. Worked out well for the Indians, though. Two close wins and one big shutout has Cleveland in the championship series.

The Cubs just barely won their first game against the Giants, just a single run scored in a great pitching duel between John Lackey and Johnny Cueto. In game two, Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks was injured by a line drive (fortunately no broken bones) and had to come out. Travis Wood came in and did a solid job in relief, and provided some offense with a home run in another Cubs win. But then the Giants won game 3 in San Francisco, despite Jake Arrieta driving in more runs (3-run homer) than he allowed (2). The Chicago bullpen blew the lead in the 8th and then allowed a walk-off score in the 13th. But in game 4, the Giants bullpen returned the favor by blowing a 3-run lead in the 9th, sending the Cubs on to their second championship series in a row.

I didn't watch much of the Dodgers-Nationals series, but I did see game four. The Nationals won two of the first three, so it was an elimination game for Los Angeles. Clayton Kershaw started on short rest and was pretty impressive after a shaky first inning. He had a 5-2 lead in the 7th, but couldn't quite finish off that inning, and after he left the Nationals tied the game. So the Dodgers had to rally late to win and force a fifth game in Washington, which I'll likely be watching Thursday night.

Regardless of who wins that fifth game in Washington and both championship series, some team is going to break a fairly long World Series drought. Most baseball fans know the Cubs last won in 1908, but it's been a long time for the Indians also - the last Cleveland title was in 1948. It's been since 1988 for the Dodgers, Toronto hasn't won since 1993, and the Nationals franchise hasn't even played in a World Series (in either Washington or Montreal). Some team's fans are going to get a celebration that hasn't been seen in at least a generation.

No comments:

Post a Comment