Playoff Recap – Tuesday 10/6

Happy faces for Braves, Astros, Rays, and Dodgers.

The four divisional rounds of the playoffs went full-go on Tuesday. Somewhere deep in the cavernous depths of MLB headquarters in New York, four executors donned their robes, descended into the subbasement, took their skeleton keys out from around their necks, and they unlocked playoff baseball.

Braves 9- Marlins 5

We finally got a little bit of a back-and-forth, classic postseason slug fest. There were home runs, rallies, some chirping from the dugouts, warnings issued to both sides, big plays from big stars and the biggest play of the game – in classic postseason fashion – from outside our list of usual suspects.

Ronald Acuña Jr. took center stage in this one, homering to lead off the game against Sandy Alcantara. Max Fried looked very sharp in the first, but devolved shortly after. In the third inning, Acuña came up again:

That smarts. Was their intention? Let’s ask the man with the bruise. Thoughts, Ron?

Fair enough. But I’ll eat my shoe if that was intentional. These guys know the stakes, and they’re used to pimped home runs. Alcantara isn’t some old-school granddad shooing young scoundrels off his lawn.

The real story is much less devious: Acuña happens to be friggin’ daunting at the plate, so it’s not shocking when a young guy like Alcantara misses his spot. What’s more, and Jimmy Rollins made this point, he’d rather hit him than leave a heater middle-in. That’s a philosophical approach, and the right approach. Just avoid the head, and if you can, do better? Yeah, do better. You got this, Sandy. Hit the glove, boi.

Of course, after all this hubbub and struttin’, Alcantara might hit him on purpose now.

Regardless, Acuña came around to score on a double by Marcell Ozuna, who then came around to score on a double from Travis d’Arnaud. Alcantara settled in after that: He struck out the side in the 4th, struck out two more in the 5th, and worked a perfect 6th.

In the 7th inning, the tide turned again.

Back-to-back singles to start the inning chased Alcantara after 95 pitches. Yimi Garcia got MVFree to force out Acuña at second, but Ozuna followed that up with another base hit to tie the game 4-4. With two on and one out…who did we say would come up with the biggest play of the night? Did you have d’Arnaud on your bingo card?

The inning fell apart further from there for the Marlins. Let’s leave this one with two final points:

  1. The Marlins have to be disheartened to have gotten to Fried, knocking him out after four innings, and still lose. Not only that, but after only 70 pitches, he should be good to go for a potential game 5.
  2. If there’s a Pyrrhic victory for the Marlins here, it’s that despite losing by four, the Braves still used their top two relievers – Chris Martin and Mark Melancon – for an inning apiece. Overuse is the name of the game in the playoffs – or a name of a game – and the Marlins at least made some progress in that regard.

On the other hand, the Braves got the W and looked darn impressive doing so.

Braves 1, Marlins 0

Astros 5- Athletics 2

George Springer doesn’t care what you think, it turns out. It’s fall, so he rakes. The impending free agent now has 17(!) postseason home runs. This was his first of two on Tuesday:

Springer’s second home run of the game was particularly crushing for the A’s, as he went back-to-back with Martin Maldonado despite a pitching change in between. He is engineered, it seems, to make everyone outside of Houston hate baseball.

As good as Springer was, give the game ball to Framber Valdez. The 26-year-old Dominican posted 7 innings, giving up 2 earned runs on 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4. Combined with the 5 innings of spotless relief he tossed to close out the Twins in game 1 of the wild card, and Valdez now owns a 1.50 ERA this postseason. Big time.

The Astros went up 5-2 in the 5th inning, and it never felt close after that.

For the A’s, Khris Davis homered for the 2nd time in the series, and Chad Pinder hit an absolute bomb the other way into the right center field bleachers. But those two homers accounted for 2 of their 7 baserunners. The A’s offense has lacked dynamism, and while that’s a tough quality to cultivate and quantify, when it’s not there it, it’s clear.

It’s not there for the A’s.

Astros 2, A’s 0

Rays 7- Yankees 5

I can’t get into Pete Fairbanks‘ head. I don’t know what he was thinking when D.J. LeMahieu singled home a run to bring Aaron Judge to plate as the potential go-ahead run.

But he did not look like a comfortable man.

Regardless, the Rays’ de facto closer held it together, got some help from the umpires, and induced Judge into a game-ending groundout to even this series at a game apiece.

To get them there, Tyler Glasnow set the pace on the hill.

As good as Glasnow was, he wasn’t spotless, and the Yankees made the most of their opportunities. Namely, by way of a three-run bomb from Giancarlo Stanton that still hasn’t landed. The Stanton homer brought the Yankees to within one, but the Rays kept adding on. They hit four homers in total, and then used Nick Anderson to shut the door. Anderson was lights out for two innings, bridging the gap to the 9th inning. In total, the Rays struck out 18 Yankees, the most ever in a 9-inning playoff game.

For the Yankees, 21-year-old Deivi Garcia got the start, becoming the youngest starter in Yankee postseason history. But manager Aaron Boone didn’t stick with Garcia long, ultimately using their young phenom as an opener for J.A. Happ.

Everyone loved the move.

And it totally worked.

See how I use italics to denote sarcasm there? Everyone loves italics.

Anyway, the Yankees had it going in the 9th, but our man Mr. Fairbanks couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. But he got a little encouragement from home plate umpire CB Bucknor, and he closed out the outing with 11 consecutive “strikes.”

Yankees 1, Rays 1

Dodgers 5- Padres 1

The Padres and Dodgers played an ugly game, but the beginning was defined by one man: Mike Clevinger. The Padres game one starter did not make it out of the second inning due to injury. Normally, this would be a ‘what-a-tough-break’ situation, but in this case, everyone knew he was injured coming into this game. That they started and removed him was either a failure on his part, or on the coaching staff, or both. Can the macho nonsense and do the right thing to help your team win. Now the Padres are backed into a corner. They can’t have a starter go on short rest in game 5, and they have to choose between putting Clevinger on the playoff IL, thus losing him for the NLCS, or playing down a man. Silly silly silly.

Walks are also silly. There was lots of silliness in this game. The Padres walked ten batters in total, helping the Dodgers to get a run across in the 5th inning – before they had a hit. The Dodgers are a great team, and they really don’t need the Padres help. Perhaps the pitching staff was tired, since every guy pitches in every game. The Padres really could have benefited from having a starter work into the, oh I don’t know, 3rd inning?

The Padres bullpen is not going to be able to keep this up for 5 consecutive days, and at some point, they need a starter to give them length. The pressure is on now for Zach Davies and Chris Paddack to pitch the game of their lives against the best team in the league. They can thank Clevinger for the extra pressure. Let’s check in with Jayce Tingler to see how he feels about the whole ordeal. What do you mean he’s not here?

The Dodgers didn’t play a great game, but they did enough to get the win. Walker Buehler walked 4 and only lasted through 4 innings, but he gave up just 2 hits and a single run. Dustin May followed him to get the win, and he was roasting.

It was a little surprising to see May in this game because the assumption was he’d get the start in one of the final 3 games of the series, if we get there. With these 2 innings, he could still come back to start game 5 on short rest, where the Dodgers might go with a similar formula that they used today: Buehler + May – Padres = Win. Padres took themselves out of this game, but Buehler and May definitely helped.

Dodgers 1, Padres 0

 

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

TC Zencka

TC Zencka contributes regularly to Pitcher List, and MLB Trade Rumors. Come say hi on Twitter.

2 responses to “Playoff Recap – Tuesday 10/6”

  1. Avatar Jake DuBois says:

    Great recap. Good work.

  2. Avatar theKraken says:

    Twitter analysis is the worst. Period. Nobody should ever write an article about Twitter reactions about anything and if you do, you need to call it Twitter reactions. This isn’t a recap of the actual baseball at all. This is a recap of reactions. The folks that are addicted to Twitter already know what is trending and the rest of us don’t care. You can leave the hateful undertones out of the analysis. I don’t care if that is what keeps people engaged with Twitter – the rest of us try to avoid the incessant hateful narratives. Baseball is just baseball – we don’t need to drag a bunch of stereotypes and negativity into it. I am critical of many of the transactions, but the social commentary is irrelevant.

    Nice ageism and general use of stereotypes on the HBP analysis. Those are the hateful undertones that underlie the worst of social media, in other words Twitter. So if a guy is over 25, then the HBP is intentional. I am not sure I follow, but I probably never will. If sportsmanship is only present in the elderly, then that is sad and we should mourn its loss, because that is what you are failing to recognize. All that nonsense has ever been about has been disrespect for your opponents – in other words, sportsmanship. In the bit of analysis that was actually discussed, I would argue that Will Smith is a top RP for ATL. His track record is the best by far and they have quite a few capable veterans. While ATL doesn’t have the household names in the bullpen, they actually have a host of capable arms.

    How is Deivi a phenom? He wasn’t great in the regular season nor was he tonight. That is far too low a bar for a phenom. In any case, I am glad to see this explode on NYY. I also am certain that Twitter would have said the move was brilliant if it worked. Long live the phenom, am I right?

    Clevinger did not cost the Padres that game by any stretch. He actually gave them a scoreless inning. Macho? There you go with gender stereotypes. He gave them what he could. Was Deivi Garcia a macho decision? Twitter is a cesspool and I am convinced that ideas like that come from there. I hate everyone that gets hurt too! What a bunch of macho jerks! If pitching a scoreless inning through one of the toughest parts of any order in baseball helps your team win, then he did that. I don’t understand where the failure occurred. You are “analyzing” that move like it cost them the game and it didn’t. What you seem to be doing is synthesizing Twitter reactions. Garret Richards should have been the guy in that start if you sit Clev and he lost the game anyways – granted it doesn’t exactly work like that. That didn’t cost them anything. They actually got a free transaction out of it the next day. I don’t see how it was a bad move at all. The fact is that SD is just screwed because they don’t have the SP at this point. Kudos for trying with Clev though. There is zero chance that they can win a WS with the arms that they have. Shocker – that was what people have said about SD for the past two years. They tried the only thing that could possibly work and it didn’t. Moving Richards to the bullpen down the stretch is the huge mistake SD made a while ago. They easily could have went straight to Richards in this one as they had to know this might happen, but they didn’t. They got caught with their pants down and somehow had a guy making his major league debut in a tied playoff game? I really think that Tingler seems like he doesn’t know the first thing about managing a team or a game. Worse moves were pulling the first 2 LAD pitchers as quickly as they did and burning up their bullpen in a non-save situation… which totally blew up on them in the next game. That is true nonsense – simply making moves and using players just because you can. Using May for only two innings was a huge mistake for LAD. He was blowing them away and I don’t know what they are saving him for. The could have ridden him to the finish and saved the pen. Instead they rode their only trusted guys in a meaningless situation. Overall, crazy slanted analysis towards SD which is representative of Twitter. No Clevinger means no WS for SD. They had to find out if he could be what they needed him to be. I imagine that SD should win game 3 as LAD is probably going to give the game away as HOU did in their game 3… but that is really representative of how SD is sitting – thanks Clevinger’s UCL. LAD will be simply saving resources for the last two games and they might stack up reasonably well with whatever SD has left pitching-wise.

    There is value in talking about the actual baseball. Each passing day there is less analysis and it is sad to see the decisions just getting worse. We have passed the point where the best players play the games. People can already watch the highlights and Twitter is the low level version of that. This is just a recap of highlights and it frustrates me. The biggest situations and moments are not always in the highlights.

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