ALDS Recap – Thursday, 10/7

Is that October Randy's music??

Folks, it is HERE: the 2021 MLB playoffs divisional round has officially tipped off. We’re here to bring you the best, funniest, and most electric moments from every day that ends in Y, beginning with Thursday night’s American League action. Let’s get right to it.

The 2021 ALDS started with the Astros and White Sox, followed by Rays-Red Sox in the nightcap. Spoiler warning: it did not go well for either Sox. The home team took each matchup, and neither game was particularly close. That said, there was no shortage of delightful moments, and the internet did not miss a beat. Here’s one well-surmised rundown of the day’s events:

Neat stuff. Now that you mention it, I could go for some orange juice. But there’s no time for that! Get your juice out of my face. Let’s talk game.

 

Astros 6, White Sox 1

 

The anticipation for Game 1 in this contest of division winners started early. For Chicago, it started back in February, according to this hype video:

The Astros saw this, and raised them with a video of their own narrated by Bun B:

That’s pretty fierce, but the Sox were unfazed. The key? Staying loose, baby.

The game itself was headlined by a high-profile pitching matchup, as Lance Lynn faced off against Lance McCullers Jr. They got things rolling with some nasty offerings in the opening frame:

However, the 0-0 tie didn’t last long. In the bottom of the second, Yordan Álvarez led off with a walk and he came around to score the first run of the ALDS. Shouts to rookie Jake Meyers for getting it done with two outs!

The ‘Stros got right back to work against Lynn in the third, capitalizing on a walk, bunt, wild pitch, and fielder’s choice to score another run. But the real story was this slide by Jose Altuve:

That was followed by an RBI double from Álvarez, and after another quick inning by McCullers, Lynn was thrown right back into the fire. The Astros got three more hits in the fourth, highlighted by this RBI knock from Michael Brantley. Just like that, the home team led 5-0.

This knock also proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Lynn, who finished with a line of 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K. Not ideal for your Game One Guy. But you know who was happy? This baby. Rock on, man.

The Astros would tack on a sixth run in the fifth, as Reynaldo López made the critical mistake of throwing Álvarez a breaking pitch in the vicinity of the strike zone. We all know how this one ends.

Meanwhile, the White Sox bats were stymied by McCullers, who held them scoreless through 6+. One of his few mistakes came on this pitch, which rode inside on Luis Robert, giving us all a bit of a scare:

Thankfully, Robert seems to be okay. The same probably can’t be said for Yoán Moncada after just missing on this one:

By the time McCullers exited in the seventh, he’d racked up a stalwart 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. His effort did not go unappreciated:

The Sox would get one back in the eighth, but that was all. They’ll have to hope for better luck in Game 2 today, as Lucas Giolito and Framber Valdez face off in the 2:00 E.T. early game. Get your coffee ready!

 

Rays 5, Red Sox 0

 

For all interdivisional intrigue of the first game, the nightcap between the AL East Champion Rays and Wild Card winner Red Sox brought with it a little something extra, given the proximity of these two teams in the standings all year. This screengrab tells the story pretty well:

But first, we have to talk about pre-game prep. While the Red Sox are a well-run, professional organization in their own right, I have to think they were unprepared to face Randy Arozarena and his cowboy boots:

Nor, it would seem, were they ready for Brett Phillips and his infallible gameplan:

Whatever the strategy, it didn’t seem to matter much once Shane McClanahan started doing things like this out there:

Big Mac went full cheesy goodness in the opening frame, striking out the side and topping out at 100 mph. And it didn’t take long for the Rays to give him some run support, either. After a leadoff walk to Arozarena, Wander Franco seized the opportunity in his first postseason at-bat, sending Eduardo Rodriguez’s eighth pitch into the left-center gap for an RBI. Look at the wheels from Randy here!

The Rays would tack on another run on a Yandy Diaz RBI hit, forcing Rodriguez to throw 21 pitches just to get out of the inning. By the time Arozarena came back up in the second, he was already done. Big oof for Boston’s pitching plans, but a wonderful sight for the Rays faithful, which — side note, here — included good ol’ Dickie V!

It also includes Arozarena, who spoke to all of us at this particular moment.

It ended up being Nick Pivetta who drew the bulk of the middle innings for the Red Sox, which unfortunately included this pitch to Nelson Cruz that went a long, long way (up, at least). Where it hit, we’re not sure, but it counts for a run.

Fast forward to the fifth, and we see Randy taking Pivetta deep as well. Yeah, must be October. But can we talk about the swag?

Hey you, WAIT — don’t even think about scrolling without listening to the Spanish home run call.

And then, just when you think he can’t do anything more heroic, he one-ups himself. That’s right, I’m talking about the play. The big one. I certainly hope you’ve seen it by now, but if not… here you go. Seventh inning, two on, two out:

WHAT! IS THAT ALLOWED? I mean I know it is, but is it? Incredible. The man is a well-oiled piece of postseason machinery. For context:

The Red Sox did threaten in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs thanks to a fluke rafters hit, but the Rays bullpen put it away like they always do. So instead of showing that, I’m gonna give you one last piece of Randy content, then call it a night.

You love to see it. Let’s do it again tomorrow — same place, 7:00 ET. It’s Sale v. Baz. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this.

 

Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Wynn McDonald

Born a Kentuckian, much like Dan Uggla. Braves fan by choice, unlike Dan Uggla. I enjoy long walks on the Brandon Beachy. @twynstagram

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