DS Recap – Monday, 10/11

50% of the ALCS field is set.

We got two 1-1 games yesterday, and somehow in some way they almost feel tenser than win-or-go-home 2-1 games. Both teams are up there on the tightrope knife fighting each other just for the chance to do it again with even higher stakes. So I guess the elimination games always feel tenser when I put it that way, but there’s something about the possibilities that a 1-1 game presents…

 

Atlanta 3, Brewers 0

 

Ah, a 1-1 series, so much possibility. But it’s an NLDS game so we will get another pitcher’s duel. It was ol’ Locomotive Breath himself, Ian Anderson, on the mound for the home club, with Freddy Peralta representing the Brew Crew for the afternoon. Things got spicy pretty quickly, starting with this embarrassing error from a Hall of Fame infielder in the top of the second inning:

 

 

Yep, that’s Chipper himself taking in the game, with Andruw Jones sitting in the box with him. And to quote our friend Ben Brown: That’s why you always bring a glove to the game.

But lest you think the excitement was going to be contained to the stands or top of the inning, we take you to the bottom of the second, (on the same number pitch as the above clip) with runners on the corners and one out. Travis d’Arnaud hits a high fly ball into left field, easily playable but easily deep enough to score the run from third, unless…

 

 

I’m not sure how Austin Riley didn’t get to the plate before Adam Duvall got thrown out at second, but it’s hard to be upset with Riley given the whole situation at second that made it into something we had to think about at all. At the end of the day, the Brewers get their F7-4 double play and we’re still all tied up at zero.

The bottom of the fourth brought some more tension as Adam Duvall tripled on a fly ball that was in Lorenzo Cain’s mitt but came loose when he bounced off of the outfield wall:

 

 

I mean, he had the ball until he hit the ground, that’s incredible. Despite looking like he was in considerable pain, Cain was able to stay in the game, and Peralta struck out Eddie Rosario to strand the runner at third.

Then, in the top of the fifth, Craig Counsell made a fateful decision. Luis Urías had opened the inning with an HBP, Omar Narváez doubled to move him to third, and Lorenzo Cain grounded out to put runners on second and third with one out and the pitcher’s spot up in the order. Counsell made a choice that I can’t fault aesthetically and pinch-hit Daniel Vogelbach, ending Peralta’s day with only 57 pitches thrown. But the Brewers haven’t been a real surfeit of offense so far this series… and he grounded into a fielder’s choice out at home. Kolten Wong absolutely scorches a line drive off the bat at 100.8 mph with a .700 xBA—directly at Freddie Freeman, ending the inning and bringing Adrian Houser out from Milwaukee’s bullpen. Such is the way one ends up in the Good Process, Bad Outcome square.

Atlanta wasted no time, hitting a pair of singles before giving Houser a rude reminder that it’s Joctober:

 

 

That’s right, another pinch-hit Joc Jam from Joc Pederson, pearls and all.

 

 

Eduardo Escobar hit a double to start off the top of the seventh, but that would be the only Brewer in scoring position for the rest of the game following the home run thanks to a stifling five-inning outing from Anderson, who is assembling quite the post-season resume:

 

 

The Brewers starting pitching has been up to the task so far in the division series, but their bats have been cold…

 

 

And now Atlanta looks to finish the job tomorrow and avoid a trip back to Cream City.

Series Score: Atlanta 2 – 1 Brewers

 

Red Sox 6, Rays 5

 

Oh, did you think Boston got all the drama out of their system last night? Instead of a pair of potential ALCS clinchers, a rainout left us with just the one up in Beantown, and it was a doozy. The Rays came into the night with a plan, beginning with Collin McHugh as the opener, with hopes for two innings from him. And two innings Tampa got—with McHugh needing just 18 pitches, striking out none but only giving up a single hit.

Much like in Atlanta, it was the first call to the bullpen that spelled trouble, though. Shane McClanahan came in from the pen on short rest and giving up a single to last night’s hero Christian Vázquez. A Kyle Schwarber walk sandwiched between two flyouts looked like Tampa might be able to get out of the inning without any issue… until Rafael Devers ambushed a first-pitch fastball and sent it in the stands:

 

 

That wasn’t all, though, as the dinger was followed up by a Xander Bogaerts single, an Alex Verdugo double, and a J.D. Martinez single to set the score at 5-0. JT Chargois struck out Vazquez to end the inning, but the damage was done.

 

Or was it?!

 

The Rays managed to scratch across a run in the top of the fifth on an Austin Meadows groundout, but then chased Eduardo Rodriguez from the game in the top of the sixth following a Kevin Kiermaier double to open the inning. Boston was hoping for 15 outs from E-Rod, and they ended up getting just that, with six strikeouts to boot. Enter Tanner Houck, who induced a flyout from Randy Arozarena. He got another flyball from Wander Franco, but this one traveled a little further:

 

 

That would be all the Rays could get back in the inning, however. The score held for another two innings until Mike Zunino and Kevin Keirmaier hit back-to-back doubles off of Ryan Brasier to open the top of the eighth, bringing the game within one. Randy Arozarena (who else?) then singled in the tying run.

 

 

Alex Cora had seen enough, and pulled Brasier for Garrett Whitlock, who was able to get three outs in a row to hold Tampa at 5.

Boston threatened again in the bottom half of the frame, until another fly ball double play saw Verdugo making the final out at third base on what looked like a questionable review which upheld the call on the field:

 

 

Whitlock worked a quick 1-2-3 top of the ninth, and the Rays turned to J.P. Feyereisen to take them into extras. Again it was Christian Vázquez at the plate, and he kicked things off with a single, followed by a Christian Arroyo sac bunt to move him to second. Travis Shaw came in to pinch-hit and singled, putting runners on the corners for the inimitable Enrique Hernández and well, cue the hype video:

 

 

Series Score: Red Sox advance to ALCS.
(Side note, I desperately want Arozarena to get a pair of cowboy boots fitted with spikes and to wear them during a game.)

 

Giants 1, Dodgers 0

 

You knew things were going to be interesting in LA even before the first pitch was thrown:

 

And things didn’t settle down when the pitches were actually being thrown.

 

 

This game also gave us the most Classic WLB Moment of the postseason so far, thanks to Mookie Betts:

 

 

We’re back in the NL, so it’s time for another pitcher’s duel! And this one was serious. Max Scherzer and Alex Wood went blow for blow, exchanging goose eggs and barely dealing with any traffic on the bases while they were at it. Until the top of the fifth. The 2021 Giants are the story of veteran resurgences, so with the hitless Evan Longoria up at the plate, you could have probably guessed he would fall behind in the count 0-2, foul off two pitches, and then send a fastball through the wind and into the bleachers:

 

 

Wood’s night would end in the bottom of the fifth, with 4.2 IP, but Scherzer would carry on for another pair, finishing with 7.0 IP and 10 strikeouts, and just the one ER. But the single run was all it took, as the Giants rode the razor-thin margin to a win on the back of some very fancy defensive work by Brandon Crawford to end the seventh and strand runners on first and second :

 

 

In addition, there was the general hostility of the physical environment to LA hitting:

 

 

San Francisco turned to Camilo Doval for a two-inning save, and he came through, although the final out of the game came on an utter bullet of a line drive that hung up and turned into an easy out:

 

 

In summation:

 

 

Series Score: Giants 2 – 1 Dodgers

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Asher Dratel

Asher hails from Brooklyn, wears a 2008 Joba Chamberlain jersey to every Yankees game he attends, and pronounces BABIP funny. Appreciator of Beefy Lad dingers and beers.

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