Playoff Recap – Monday, 10/12

The Rays take a commanding lead, while Atlanta strikes first in Texas.

The Championship Series are officially underway as the National League joined the fun on Monday. Here’s everything you missed from yesterday’s big playoff matchups:

 

Tampa Bay 4, Houston 2

 

The second game of the ALCS was another tight bout, with the Rays overcoming on the strength of their bullpen in the later innings. Tampa Bay starter Charlie Morton was tested early, when the Astros got runners on first and third with one out in the opening frame. Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker were then retired to end the inning. Houston was plagued by RISP struggles all evening, bringing their line to 3-for-16 when threatening in the series.

The Rays broke through to open the scoring in the bottom of the first, on a three-run home run by Petco Park alum Manny Margot.

 

 

The score held until the sixth inning, largely on account of the sparking Rays defense. Manny Margot stole the show once again, with this stunning catch in the bottom of the second that sent him tumbling into over the wall in foul ground.

 

 

On the other side of the field… there was José Altuve. Yikes.

 

 

After home runs by Carlos Correa and Mike Zunino, the Rays took a 4-1 lead into the top of the ninth. The Astros loaded the bases with no outs for George Springer, who represented the go-ahead run. Instead of any late-game heroics however, reliever Nick Anderson got Springer to bounce into a double play, before getting Alex Bregman to fly out two batters later to seal the win. The Rays will look to come within one win of a World Series appearance if they can win again today and take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

 

Atlanta 5, Los Angeles 1

 

On the National League side, the Dodgers and Braves kicked off the first game of the NLDS. Walker Buehler and Max Fried took the mound, and were successful early, with the only damage of the game coming off of solo home runs by MVP candidate Freddie Freeman and tight pants pioneer Kike Hernández.

 

 

Speaking of tight pants…

 

 

The two pitchers dueled into the sixth, when Buehler was forced to exit with Atlanta threatening and just one out. Dave Roberts called upon the young fireballer Brusdar Graterol, who rewarded his faith with two clutch outs to tightrope out of the inning. Atlanta threatened again in the top of the eighth, when Dustin May hit pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval to load the bases with two away. This time it was Victor González who answered the call, and he got Charlie Culberson to once again strand runners in scoring position.

Atlanta was 1-for-12 with RISP on the evening, but it ultimately didn’t matter as in the end, they were simply able to outslug L.A., knocking a pair of home runs despite playing in the expansive Globe Life Park. Their second home run came in the top of the ninth off of the bat of Austin Riley, breaking a 1-1 deadlock and putting the Braves up for good.

 

 

They tacked on an insurance run in the later in the inning on a bloop single by Marcell Ozuna, and then extended their lead to 5-1 on another home run by Ozzie Albies. The Dodgers went down without much of a fight in the bottom of the inning, and were handed their first loss of the 2o20 postseason. The Braves, meanwhile, improved their gleaming October to a lofty 6-0 mark, remaining undefeated in the playoffs. Their run has been supported by their stingy pitching staff, which has given up one or fewer runs in five of their six games. Tonight, the Dodgers are looking to bounce back and break up their dominant streak, and will need to wake up their offense after having only hit two home runs in their first four games at Globe Life Park. Be sure to check out our NLCS preview here for everything you need to know heading into the series.

Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Noah Scott

Noah Scott is a long-suffering baseball writer and knuckleball connoisseur. If you want to talk old timey baseball names, traffic on the 405, or lukewarm hip-hop opinions you can find him on Twitter @noahascott6

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