One Down, Two Could Go Tonight; Game of the Series Propels Jays

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, Oct. 10.

The command “Brooms up” used to be given only to the World Famous  Lawn Rangers of Amazing Arcola, Illinois when they pushed their lawn mowers and did broom drill team exercises in the town’s annual parade.  The defunct Lawn Rangers hopefully were watching as the Blue Jays broke out the brooms, sweeping the Texas Rangers in their ALDS.  Two more fan bases will have their  brooms at the ready today, as the Cubs and Indians hope to sweep away the Giants and Red Sox respectively.  In a series tied at a game apiece the Dodgers and Nats will meet in game 3.  Their game yesterday, which the Nats won 5–2 was followed by a cross-country flight and today’s  game will be contested in the early afternoon Pacific Time.

The Jays’ 10-inning 7-6 win over the Rangers was easily the best game of the series.  The visitors  had stomped the Rangers 10–1 in game 1 and taken a 5-3 win in game 2.  This time it was a

back-and-forth battle through the early innings in Toronto. Neither starter brought much to the table in this game, but the Texas starter Colby Lewis, with his team down 2 games to None  didn’t get a man out in  the third inning. With the Rangers ahead 1-0, Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run home run followed by a blast from catcher Russell Martin, whose bat had been quiet up to then. But as John Sterling said when he was a  Yankee, “Russell shows  the Muscle,” and he did, making it 3-1 Jays. They had 5 on the board by the time Lewis left.  With home runs from Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus, and a 2-run double in the 6th by Mitch Moreland the Rangers bailed out their starter and all too briefly held a 6-5 lead. The Jays tied it in the 6th and the bull pens took it from there.  In the home 10th, Josh Donaldson doubled and scored on a bad throw from Rangers’ second baseman Rougned Odor trying to turn an inning-ending double play. Edwin Encarnacion who had walked slid into second breaking up the DP on the ground ball hit by Russell Martin.

With the sweep, the Jays get rest while the Indians and Red Sox continue their series which the Indians could win with a victory at 6 PM in Boston. They would have played yesterday except for bad weather that not only hit Boston but much of the east coast.  My trip to church was done in high winds and some rain while the trip home was made in a full-bore downpour. Before a playoff game starts, the decision to play or  postpone rests with major league baseball, where in the regular season the home team makes the decision before the game starts. The Indians haven’t gotten to the ALCS since 2007, while Boston won a World Series as recently as 2013. If Boston should win tonight, Rick Porcello and David Price would be available for games 4 and 5 thanks to the rainout.  To win tonight the Red Sox turn to Clay  Buchholz who was scheduled to start yesterday.  The Indians also will go with yesterday’s scheduled starter Josh Tomlin.

The late game tonight also has sweeping implications.  The Cubs are ahead 2 games to None, and starting at 9:38 Eastern will be a matchup made in baseball heaven. The Cubs’ Jake Arrieta, he of two no-hitters and a Cy Young award, faces Madison Bumgarner, he of the amazing October performances. Tomorrow’s column will be extremely late, as I can’t resist this matchup any more than I can resist a stuffed-crust pizza.  Arrieta is 18-8 this year, and his respectable 3.10 ERA was trumped by his teammate Kyle Hendricks who led all of MLB in that category. Bumgarner was  15–9 in the regular season but he’s the Reggie Jackson of pitchers, Mr. October. He hasn’t been scored on in 23 postseason innings.

The earliest game is at 4 PM, 1 PM on the west coast where the Dodgers face the Nationals. It wasn’t Rich Hill’s blisters that undid him yesterday.  It was an unlikely home run from catcher Jose Lobaton, who wouldn’t be in the lineup but for regular catcher Wilson Ramos having torn his ACL in late September.                       No Ramos? No problema, since Lobaton crushed a 3-run home run turning a 2-0 Dodgers lead into a lead Washington would never surrender. The light-hitting Lobaton had but one hit against a southpaw all year long but his second was a game changer. Hill did his bit, striking out 7 of the first 9 outs the Nationals made. Corey Seager homered and Josh Reddick singled home a run to make it 2-0 in the third but the lead did not stand. The Dodgers kept the bases as crowded as the Beltway at rush hour, leaving a dozen men on base and not scoring 3 separate times when they had the bases jammed. Going forward, Kenta Maeda makes the start today.  While the Japanese import has 16 wins against 11 losses  leading all rookies in wins,  his last start was dreadful against the Giants. The Nationals turn to Gio Gonzalez, who hasn’t done well this season putting up a 4.57 ERA though his record was even at 11-11. His last 3 starts were every bit as bad as Maeda’s last one was.

The first two  of today’s birthday men could be in the playoffs if a few balls had bounced the right way, and the third is_ in the playoffs for Toronto.   The Cardinals’ Colton Wong is 26. A little guy at five-eight and 175, Wong hails from Hawaii and was the Cardinals’ first pick in the 2011 draft, following a college career at the University of Hawaii.  In just two years he was in the show. He got a hit in his only atbat in the World Series, but in another game where he was a pinch-runner he was picked off for the final out-something that had never happened in a Fall Classic. He hit a walk-off home run in game 2 of the 2014 NLDS against the Giants, though the Cards eventually lost the series.

The Mets’ Jeurys Familia is 27. He made his debut as a late call-up in 2012. He already has 100 saves, but he will be remembered for failures in the last World Series and in this year’s NL wild card game. with the score  0-0 in the 9th he gave up a 3-run home run to the Giants’ Conor Gillaspie for the win. He had been an All-Star this year and led his league in saves but what happens in the postseason is what is remembered, particularly in New York. He has the Mets’ saves record for a season with 51. He and John Franco are the only two Mets to lead their league in saves. Since reaching the majors he has paid for surgery on an injury to his father’s leg that had plagued the elder Familia for decades.  Jeurys has also bought a new house for his parents.

The Blue Jays’ Troy Tulowitzki is 32. He was the first draft choice of the Rockies in 2005. The Santa Clara native was in the show only 15 months after being drafted. He has a .292 average after nearly a decade in the game and is adored by Toronto Fans yelling “Tu—LO” rhythmically when he’s up. He’s only been a Blue Jay since the 2015 trading deadline when the Rockies let him go. He’s been an All-Star 5 times, all with the Rockies. He managed an unassisted tripple play in April 2007. As a collegiate he played for the Long Beach State 49Ers.

Gene Tenace is 70 today. His birth certificate says “Fiore Gino Tennaci.”  He was taken in the first draft, in 1965 in round 20 by what were then the Kansas City Athletics. By the time he reached the show in May 1969 they had fled the heartland for the East Bay and become the Oakland Athletics. He lasted in the game through the 1983 season. He was on all 3 Oakland World Series winners and won MVP of the 1972 World Series. To do this he had 8 out of 23, 4 home runs, 9 RBIs.    He was an All-Star in 1975. He played with the St. Louis Cardinals’ World Series winner in 1982 and was a coach on the Toronto teams that won it all in 1992 and 1993.



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