American League takes Sunday Off; Dodgers and Brewers hope to Break out Champagne

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Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Sunday, October 7. The Yankees and Red Sox now find their series tied at a game apiece while the Astros lead the Indians 2 games to None. Those two series will resume tomorrow. Meantime, the two series in the NL could wrap up by Midnight tonight.
After J.A. Happ’s shocking performance on Friday night, Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankee offense leveled the series at a game apiece last night. Gary Sanchez hit two home runs while Aaron Judge hit another, leading the Bronx Bombers to a 6-2 win against David Price. Both in his time with the Rays and now in Boston, Price has been a pitcher the Yankees have hit particularly well over the years. While offense alone wouldn’t have been enough, the Yankees got the kind of performance from Masahiro Tanaka which they desperately needed. His only small mistake was a 4th-inning solo home run ball. Sanchez more than made up for that by drilling one almost 500 feet with 2 playmates aboard in the visiting 7th inning. Tanaka lasted 5, with the usual suspects-Dellin Betances, Zach Britton and Aroldis Chapman putting the potent Red Sox offense out of commission the rest of the way. The series heads to the Bronx on Monday, a day on which as many as 4 games could be played if neither the Brewers nor the Dodgers end their series tonight.
In the other American League series, Gerrit Cole struck out a dozen Indians as the Astros claimed a narrow 3–1 win in game 2. As a result they lead their series 2 games to None as they head to Cleveland. Cole was known as “The Cole Train” when he played for Pittsburgh and he flattened the Indians like so much litter thrown mindlessly on the train tracks. In a postseason known for starters being removed quickly, Cole lasted 7 innings while being as ruthless as a 1930’s brakeman turning away so many hobos. Like Tanaka later in the evening, Cole made just one minor mistake. He gave up a solo home run to Francisco Lindor which staked the Indians to a lead in the third inning. But the Indians did no more on offense. In the home sixth, one of the Astros who spent time injured during September began their rally. Jose Altuve tapped a grounder that might have gone foul if left on its own. Rather than waiting to find out, the Indians’ third baseman Josh Donaldson picked it up and air-mailed it down the right field line. A hobbling Altuve could only make first base but the Astros had a foot in the door. Indians’ starter Carlos Carrasco then walked his first man and gave up a sharp liner which, though it was caught, caused his manager to bring out the hook for his starter. Terry Francona summoned Andrew Miller from his bull pen. Marwin Gonzalez greeted Miller with a double good for two runs and for the first time in all of the 2018 playoffs a lead changed hands during a game. It was one of 4 hits Gonzalez would collect during the game. Cole walked nobody in his first playoff appearance since 2015 when he was with the Pirates. He gave up 2 home runs as the Buccos lost that game 8–0. Cole came within 2 strikeouts of the Astros’ record of 14, done by Mike Scott in 1986. Alex Bregman provided an ounce of insurance with a 7th-inning home run.
While the Brewers and Rockies have already begun their game in Denver, the Dodgers and Braves prepare to meet just after 8 in the suburbs north of Atlanta. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Clayton Kershaw pitched as he has for almost a decade, carrying his team to a win in game 2. Now, in the first playoff game played at the new park in Atlanta, two men start who have never started a playoff game before. The Dodgers turn to Walker Buehler, Monday’s choice in the division-winning game on Monday. The Braves put their faith in Sean Newcomb. The one time he faced the Dodgers in Atlanta earlier this season, he kept them hitless until there were two out in the 9th.

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