A Chance to Exhale; OK, Who Said I Understood this Game?

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, Oct. 7.

After the craziness of the two wild card games, the baseball world got a much-needed breather yesterday with two games that weren’t won on the last atbat.  For starters there was the early game in Texas.  Yesterday in this space I opined that John Gibbons, the Blue Jays manager was making an odd choice sending out 9-9 Marco Estrada instead of his ace, J.A. Happ.  Well, following a 10-1 Jays win, leaving Happ set to go today, who’s wearing the pointy hat? Not the ex-Met catcher who now manages north of the border. By the third inning of the early game yesterday in Arlington, the Jays’ had a 7-0 lead and Rangers’ starter Cole Hamels had been removed, bruised and battered by the bbeastly bats of the Blue Jays. Troy Tulowitzki hit a 3-run tripple as a highlight of their 5-run third inning that drove Hamels to an early shower. Later on Jose Bautista launched a 3-run home run to put an exclamation point on the Jays’ hitting assault.     Estrada meantime gave a potent Rangers’ lineup all of 4 hits before leaving with one gone in the 9th.  No Jays’ starter had gone that far in a postseason game and the Jays needed it more yesterday than ever, considering they were using their  bull pen in the 5th inning of Tuesday’s game which they finally won in 11.  Add to that the injury to  Roberto Ozuna and Gibbons’ boys were that much more desperate to get a long start from their game 1 hurler. In spite of their two World Series appearances, the Rangers are but 1–10 at home during the LDS.  Their only winner was in 2011 against the Rays. The Jays and Rangers play today’s first of 4 LDS games.  Theirs starts at 1 PM Eastern, Noon Central, and yes 8 AM in Hawaii.  Breakfast and baseball, always a winning combination. The Rangers go with Yu Darvish hoping the bats can bouce back against the Jays’ J.A. Happ, their lefty 20-game winner.

In last night’s later game, the Red Sox’ Rick Porcello threw in a rare clunker.  He gave up home runs to the Indians’ Roberto Perez, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor, all of which came in the third inning as the Tribe won 5-4. Trevor Bauer didn’t last the requisite 5 innings to get the win. It went to Andrew Miller who the Tribe raided from the Yankees for essentially nothing. The Red Sox had knocked  the Indians out of the postseason in both 1999 and 2007. The two teams meet again at 4:30 today, with the Red Sox sending lefty David Price against the Indians’ Corey Kluber.

Meantime the two NLDS will begin.  In the early one at 5:30, the Nats’ Max Scherzer faces the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in the best matchup outside of Arrieta v. Bumgarner. The Cubs and Giants face off at 9 PM in Chicago. Kershaw, who has 3 Cy Young awards to his name should have a full tank, since he spent two months on the DL. When he could pitch he won 12, losing 4 and putting up a 1.69 ERA. While he’s 2–6 in postseason, neither the Mets nor the Cardinals who have bedeviled him in years past are on hand.   Scherzer finished 20–7 because of  a 10-1 streak after  the break. The 9 PM start features two near 20-game winners in Johnny Cueto (18–5,) and John Lester (19–5) for the Lovable Losers of the past, the Cubs.

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