Ozuna Abused by Sox Bats; Dodgers Even Series in 13 innings

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Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Wednesday, Oct. 17. Roberto Osuna may have had worse days and nights in 2018 but none were more public than his 8th-inning implosion against the Red Sox. They now lead the Astros 2 games to 1 after an 8-2 demolition for which Osuna has to take much of the heat. Meantime, nearly everything good and bad about baseball was crammed into a 13-inning marathon which the Dodgers won, 2-1. Their series with the Brewers is now square at 2 games apiece.
For most of the early game in Houston, the star was the Red Sox’ starter Nathan Eovaldi, who like Ivan Nova the Yankees unloaded a couple of seasons back. In Eovaldi’s case, it was a case of a team not wanting to take a chance following Tommy John surgery. Some pitchers bounce back like the crafty lefty for whom the surgery is named. Some like Matt Harvey don’t. Eovaldi showed that a man with a patchwork elbow can hit 100 MPH on the biggest stage. He and Nolan Ryan both hail from Alvin, Texas and Ryan was on hand last night as Eovaldi left the Astros searching for answers.
As good as Eovaldi was, he only had a 3-2 lead as the Red Sox stepped to the plate in their half of the 8th. He had already left the game after 6 innings hoping the Red Sox’ bull pen would hold things together. Steve Pearce had given Boston a 3-2 lead with a home run in the visitors’ half of the 6th. With Boston seeking insurance in the 8th, Enter the Astros’ controversial closer Roberto Osuna. With the bases full he hit Mitch Moreland, his second hit batsman in a row to make it 4–2. That brought Jackie Bradley JR. to the dish. The guy who once was only known for superlative fielding launched a grand slam, effectively ending the game. Boston had 2 grand slams in the 2013 ALCS, one by David Ortiz and one by Shane Victorino. That year they went on to take the World Series. They’re the late game tonight as they play game 4 against the Astros. Boston will turn to Rick Porcello who won game 4 against the Yankees. The Astros go with Charlie Morton who didn’t work during their 3-game sweep over the Rockies.
The only thing last night’s late game in Los Angeles lacked was offense. The tension of a pitching duel was there and it grew as the innings mounted and the hours passed. There was an outstanding outfield catch by the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger. The sad fact is, a 2–1 game should end in less than 4 hours even if it takes 13 innings. This one lasted over 5 hours and started at a ridiculously late time, 9 PM Eastern. As a result most of the country didn’t catch the excitement as it happened. Another negative was that the Brewers’ starter Gio Gonzalez sprained his ankle in the second inning. He may be done for the postseason. In spite of that fact and in spite of all the work they’ve gotten with a couple of “bull pen games” during the postseason, the Brewers didn’t give up a run between the second and the 13th innings. On the down side, the Brewers only scored one run all night, in their half of the fifth.
Both teams used every position player they had. Not considering that fact, Manny Machado caused a situation which would have been that much worse if he or any other position player had been ejected. In the home 10th he grounded to shortstop, but rather than heading for the dugout after being thrown out he clearly dragged his foot over the foot of the Brewers’ Jesus Aguilar at first base. This wasn’t a main-event quality fight like Pete Rose decking Bud Harrelson in the 1973 NLCS but my head was going there when the Brewers’ broadcasters described the benches emptying. No punches were thrown. Had they been, ejections would have been warranted no matter that it was the postseason. At last, Cody Bellinger singled home Manny Machado with a hit off Junior Guerra to give the Dodgers a 2–1 win. An exhausted Guerra was in his 4th inning from the pen. He gave up Machado’s first hit of the night, then a wild pitch setting the stage for Bellinger’s walk-off single. On the hill for the Dodgers, Rich Hill went 5 and 8 relievers took the ball from there. Kenley Jansen was the only one to go multiple innings as he pitched two. Julio Urias got the win by working the top of the 13th. The last NLCS game to go 13 happened 5 years ago as the Dodgers and Cardinals held a 13-inning marathon which the Cardinals won 3-2 on their way to the World Series. In game 5 which is today’s early game (5 PM Eastern) the Dodgers turn to Clayton Kershaw. After using all their relievers they absolutely need length from him. They didn’t get it in game 1, as he was gone before the 4th inning was over. The Brewers turn to Wade Miley, their game 2 starter working on short rest.

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