ALDS Recap, Sunday 10/10

Relaxing Sundays? Nah, playoff drama is what we are here for!

The American League Divisional Series took center stage on Sunday as the 2021 MLB playoffs continued to give us the thrills and spills that make postseason baseball one of the best viewing experiences in sports. We’re here to bring you the best, funniest, and most electric moments every day.

Going into today’s Game 3’s, the White Sox were aiming to stave off elimination after being completely outmatched in the first two games of the series with the Astros. The remarkable events in the contests between the Rays and the Red Sox over the past few days meant that the series between the two was evenly poised at 1-1.

What a day it was…

 

Astros 6, White Sox 12

 

The first playoff game on the South Side of Chicago in 13 years had the crowd inside Guaranteed Rate Field in a raucous mood knowing that a defeat to the American League West Champions, the Houston Astros, would see them eliminated from the postseason.

 

Dylan Cease, who struggled at times in the regular season despite a healthy 13-7 record with 226 strikeouts, got the nod to start the game up against Luis Garcia, who went 11-8 in the regular season with a 3.38 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 167 strikeouts.

Eloy Jiménez blasted a two-out RBI single back over Garcia’s head to give the White Sox an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. The crowd felt there was something special in the air right away.

 

Kyle Tucker answered back with a two-run double in the second inning off Cease to put the Astros ahead, however. The White Sox starter couldn’t get out of the inning and bright young thing Michael Kopech, who was exclusively used as a late-inning reliever in the regular season for the White Sox came on in relief.

 

Tucker then broke the hearts of many true believers inside the stadium when he dispatched a two-run homer off Kopech into the stands to extend the Astros’ lead to 5-1. A quiet stadium feared this was the beginning of the end.

 

Yasmani Grandal then gave the home crowd a glimmer of hope by taking Garcia deep for a two-run shot.

Back-to-back singles from Yoan Moncada and Gavin Sheets forced Dusty Baker into making a change. It was a unique one.

 

Veteran Leury García sensed the moment was nigh and mustered the energy from the crowd to fire a three-run homer to straightaway center field to tie the game off the third pitch from a beleaguered Yimi García. Suddenly the White Sox had jumped ahead, 6-5.

 

Like all good teams, the Astros immediately answered with Alex Bregman’s two-out RBI single to tie the game, 6-6. Trying to get out of the jam, the White Sox fans started to call upon magical powers to intervene.

 

There was more trouble for Yimi in the bottom of the fourth inning, however allowing two base runners before José Abreu drove in a run to regain the lead for Chicago.

That brought Zack Greinke in for his first-ever postseason appearance in a relief role with runners on the corners.

Then came the biggest and most contentious moment in the game. Grandal hit a grounder straight towards first baseman Yuli Gurriel and, expecting the throw to the plate, Grandal took a wide-angle when running towards first base. Gurriel’s throw deflected off Grandal’s arm and behind catcher Martín Maldonado. Luis Robert came in hot to the plate and trucked the home plate umpire. Despite the review, the call went with the White Sox and they extended their lead.

 

It was all a little too much for the younger fans in the crowd but the message was clear and the fans were up and about.

Jiménez added to his productive night with a dribbler down the third-base line to make it a three-run lead.

Rookie Andrew Vaughn then made his contribution with an RBI double. García and Tim Anderson both added RBIs in a three-run eighth inning to stretch the White Sox’s lead to six.

 

Big-money free-agent closer Liam Hendriks came in and recorded two nasty strikeouts to close it out for the White Sox on an electric night on the South Side. Check that emotion!

This series is alive and well going into today’s matchup. Tasty stuff.

 

Rays 4, Red Sox 6

 

If you thought the White Sox and Astros game was full of drama, the Rays and Red Sox would like you to hold their beers. In a remarkable night at Fenway, Boston just about outlasted Tampa Bay in a dramatic, epic 13 innings of amazing postseason baseball.

It all started with the Rays’ outfielder Austin Meadows destroying the seventh pitch from starter Nathan Eovaldi for a two-run homer in the top of the first inning.

Trade deadline recruit Kyle Schwarber answered the call with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning to send the Boston crowd into raptures. It was the first leadoff home run by a Red Sox player in the postseason since Dustin Pedroia in Game 1 of the 2007 World Series. Nice timing, Kyle.

Wander Franco made sure there was no further damage in the inning for the Rays with some phenomenal defense to turn the double play.

 

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Schwarber in the outfield, but at least he had fun in the process.

 

Eovaldi then turned up the nastiness with six consecutive strikeouts to stifle the Rays’ bats. Here is a wicked slider to fell Randy Arozarena.

Step up, Enrique Hernández. The first of his two impact plays in this game was a perfectly placed shot to bring home a run in the bottom of the third to tie the game.

 

Rafael Devers then joined the party with an RBI single off Josh Fleming to give the Red Sox the lead for the first time in the game.

 

Kiké then returned in the bottom of the fifth inning to take reliever Pete Fairbanks deep with a monster 424-foot home run, his seventh straight at-bat with a hit – what an amazing time to get hot.

The Rays should never be written off, especially late in games. They have a sensational 13-run differential from the seventh inning onwards through the 2021 season. Wander duly obliged in the top of the eighth with his first postseason home run to bring the Rays within one.

And who else but “Postseason Randy” then stepped up to tie the game with an RBI double.

 

 

Cue the drama! It shall forever be known as “The Kiermaier Incident” going forward. Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier looked to have given the Rays the lead with an RBI double.

 

However, the ball deflected back off outfielder Hunter Renfroe and over the wall for a ground role double. The umpires then decided to place the runner, Yandy Díaz, back at third base.

The Red Sox managed to escape the inning with no further damage thanks to a nasty sinker from Garrett Whitlock.

 

The game was tied going into extra innings and the Fenway crowd was reaching crazy levels of emotions and excitement.,

 

Boston had Nick Pivetta to thank for striking out seven across four scoreless innings of relief, in which he consistently kept the crowd going with his reactions coming off the mound. Here’s the 11th inning.

 

And, here’s the 12th…

 

…and we are all smiling by the end of the 13th.

 

All this emotion set up pinch hitter Christian Vázquez to smash a walk-off two-run home run off of youngster Luis Patiño’s slider on a 3-2 count.

 

A sensational day of baseball, and I am cooked! See you all later for another four games. Oh, my heart!

 

Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Benjamin Haller

A Yorkshireman living in Australia, loving Major League Baseball from afar. As I wait for my A's to build their new stadium, I spend my time coaching soccer, writing for sportbc.blog, and over-analyzing relief pitcher scoring in fantasy baseball. Follow me @benjaminhaller1 for thousands of retweets

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    Boston paying the idiot tax for having a lousy hitter in the leadoff spot. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a competent hitter with 1 out and a runner on second in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game? Also why is Verdugo not in RF? That has also cost them the game already. Verdugo’s moronic baserunning didn’t help either – never make the first or third out at third. Lucky for the sox, TB has a guy playing 3B that doesn’t belong there either. Yes, I just turned on the game… MLB baseball is hard to watch!

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