Playoff Recap – Monday, 10/5

The first games of the ALDS are in the books!

The American League half of the Division Series officially kicked off on Monday, beginning the first of four intradivision series to determine who would be vying for the pennant next week. What followed was chaotic, heartbreaking, edge-of-your-seat playoff baseball. And we’re only just getting started.

Here’s what happened in yesterday’s games.

 

Houston 10, Oakland 5

 

Oakland became the latest team to get their chance at retribution against the increasingly popular Houston Astros when the two AL West leaders squared up in the first game of the ALDS Monday. At this point, rehashing the entire Astros cheating saga seems unnecessary, so we will stick to the parts that are Oakland specific. In addition to being competitors at the top of the AL West for the last few years and the natural rivalry that stems from that, we can’t forget about the dustup that Oakland’s Ramón Laureano and Astros hitting coach Alex Cintrón got into earlier this year, which resulted in Laureano being suspended for four games and Cintrón suspended for 20. So there was a fair amount of history heading into the series.

Oakland came out of the gates swinging against starter Lance McCullers Jr., and got out to a quick lead thanks to home runs from Khris Davis and Sean Murphy. Houston struck back, however, when Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman both connected for home runs off of Chris Bassitt in the fourth, cutting Oakland’s lead to two.

 

 

The teams battled into the sixth inning, locked in step despite lackluster performances from their starters. That’s when a ground ball off of the bat of the struggling Josh Reddick got the best of Marcus Semien:

 

 

The Astros rallied to score four unanswered runs in the inning following the error, and took the lead for good. There was plenty of blame to go around for the Athletics, as they suffered a rough showing by their bullpen as well. After Oakland coughed up the lead in the sixth, Lou Trivino served up Carlos Correa‘s second home run of the day in the seventh. Jordan Weems was called upon to pitch the top of the ninth, but failed to record an out after the Astros piled on two more runs before closing out the game in the bottom half of the inning.

Now 3-0 in the postseason, the Astros will look to continue their positive momentum going into today’s game. It will be Sean Manaea taking on Framber Valdez at 4:37 PM ET on TBS. Read more about the series in our playoff preview.

 

New York 9, Tampa Bay 3

 

Much like the game between Houston and Oakland, the other ALDS matchup between the Rays and Yankees was actually a lot closer than its final score would indicate. It was a back-and-forth slugfest, through and through, despite the headliner of Blake Snell vs. Gerrit Cole. It started in the first inning, when Aaron Hicks drove in DJ LeMahieu on a sacrifice fly. It was one of only two runs not scored on a home run in the contest, with the other being an RBI single in the ninth, also from Hicks. The shelling then began in the bottom of the inning, when Randy Arozarena teed off on Gerrit Cole for a solo shot to knot the score at 1-1.

 

 

The game didn’t stay tied for very long, and Clint Frazier connected on an absolute tank against Snell in the third.

 

 

Believe it or not, this was neither the longest or hardest hit home run of the evening. It was still impressive at a 105 mph exit velocity and 418-foot distance, but the real fireworks were only starting. The electric Ji-Man Choi evaporated a Cole fastball 429 feet to left-center to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth, once again scoring Arozarena, who was the Rays’ best hitter in Game 1, going three-for-three with that homer off of Cole earlier in the game.

 

 

Cole’s own imperfection seemed to infuriate him as the game progressed, as did the inconsistent strike zone of home plate umpire, Mark Carlson. To the delight of the viewer, Cole’s frustrations worked themselves out as some absolutely filthy pitches as the game went on.

 

 

That’s not a strike? Just you wait.

 

 

The Yankees held their slim lead over the Rays going into the top of the ninth, when they looked to break through for some insurance runs against the stingy Rays bullpen. John Curtiss came on in relief for Tampa Bay, but things quickly unraveled when he gave up an RBI single to Hicks and walked Tyler Wade to load the bases for, you guessed it, Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton then proceeded to do exactly what he was born to do, and mashed a slider 411 feet to dead center for a grand slam.

 

 

Just like that, the Yankees were on top 9-3. The home crowd was silent. The Rays then went down quietly in the ninth to put the Yankees up 1-0 in the series. There was somewhat of a silver lining however, when rookie pitcher Shane McClanahan made his MLB debut in a cleanup role. He was able to pitch out of the bases-loaded jam by getting AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu to bounce out to the mound. I’m sure it wasn’t quite how McClanahan had envisioned his debut to go, but it was an exciting night nonetheless. Oh, and then there was this:

 

 

Yikes. Yeah, he’s not forgetting that one anytime soon. Welcome to the big leagues, Rook.

The Yankees and Rays will face each other again tonight as Tampa Bay will attempt to even the series at a game apiece. The action starts at 8:00 PM ET on TBS, and will feature Tyler Glasnow taking on the rookie Deivi Garcia. Also, be sure to check out our series preview to get up to speed on everything you need to know about the ALDS matchup.

 

That’s just about it for Monday’s games. The division series will be in full swing today with the first divisional games between the Dodgers and Padres, and Braves and Marlins beginning later this afternoon. Have a fantastic playoff Tuesday, and be sure to check back in tomorrow for a recap of all of today’s excitement.

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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