Early this Postseason, Tuning out Early Can Cost You

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  Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball this Thursday, October 3.  While the Rays’ win over Oakland was a yawner, the first 2 National League games have been games you wouldn’t want to tune out before the last pitch.

 With the bad quality of relief pitching we’ve seen in recent years, we increasingly see games that start slowly, then have a way of surprising us in the late innings.  Tuesday night’s game in Milwaukee was one thing.  With the bases loaded and the Washington Nationals down 3-1 in the 8th, pinch-hitter Juan Soto launched one which  reserve Brewers outfielder Trent Grisham overran, allowing 3 runs to score.  That gave the Nats a 4–3 win.

 The early game today in Atlanta was another matter.  With 7 innings gone, it looked like a carbon copy of last night’s boring game in Oakland.  The Braves had a 3–1 lead on the Cardinals.  Before the smoke had cleared, the visiting Cardinals owned not only a 7–6 win, but a 1 game to None lead on the Braves in the series. 

  Like most offensive onslaughts nowadays, the Cardinals’ comeback began with a home run, what the players call an “ungodly shot” of 446 feet from Paul Goldschmidt. His belt off the Braves’ Luke Jackson made it 3–2.  Paul DeJong and Colton Wong singled bringing Matt Carpenter to the dish. He singled home DeJong and would have given the Cardinals the lead if Wong hadn’t been nailed at the plate by left fielder Adam Duvall, ending the inning.    Even that misfortune wasn’t enough to stop the Cardinals in their tracks. In the 9th, Marcell Ozuna slammed a bases-loaded double, good for two runs.  Wong followed that with another two-run two-bagger. 

  Even that wasn’t enough to take the heart out of the Braves. Ronald Acuna JR. started the fun with a 2-run home run to make it 7–5. The blast was his third hit of the game.  The next batter, Ozzie Albies nearly turned the game on its ear. He hit a sharp shot to second.  Wong fielded it and fired to Goldschmidt, barely nipping Albies and drawing the loudest chorus of boos heard in Atlanta since General Sherman’s team went undefeated through there. Even a request for review didn’t reverse the umpire’s decision, upholding my belief that the review system is nothing but a waste of time.  With Albies safely on the bench, Freddie Freeman unleashed another home run, drawing the Braves to within 7–6.  That’s as close as they got. 

  I don’t understand the way pitchers are used today.  7 Cardinals’ pitchers were needed to sew up this win, although the last 3 runs and the game’s only 2 Braves’ home runs were hit off the winning pitcher, Carlos Martinez. 3 of them each worked a grand total of 1/3 of an inning. Across the battle lines, Atlanta’s Dallas Keuchel didn’t go long enough to earn a win even if his team could have managed it.  He was in the showers before the fifth inning was completed. While he only gave up a run, he gave up 5 hits and 3 walks, which in today’s game is enough to end a starter’s evening early. 7 more Braves’ pitchers took to the hill, with only Jackson and Mark Melancon taking serious damage.  Melancon in fact gave up the 4 runs to the Cardinals in the 9th. The Braves walked 6 men along with surrendering 14 hits to the Red Birds. From here, the Cardinals hope they can lean on Jack Flaherty to bring them home with a 2 games to None lead in the best 3 out of 5 series.                 

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