During MLB’s busy league division series, we’ll keep you updated on results, must-see moments and what’s next in each matchup.
NLDS Game 1: Los Angeles Dodgers 5, San Diego Padres 1
What happened? The first five innings of the National League Division Series Game 1 were a head-scratcher for the World-Series favorite Dodgers. They had no hits, one run and had left nine runners on base.
Then the sixth inning came and the real Dodgers showed up.
In that sixth inning, they tagged the Padres for four hits and four runs, taking a 5-1 lead that would eventually be a 1-0 series lead.
There was more to that sixth than the box score, though. Mookie Betts, proving himself to be L.A.’s engine yet again, got the Dodgers first hit with a double. The Dodgers pushed all those runs across without a homer, which seems like an anomaly in 2020.
In the other dugout, Padres manager Jayce Tingler was booted from the game after arguing with umpires. The whole inning changed the flow of the game. Up until that point, the Padres were hanging with the Dodgers despite starter Mike Clevinger only getting three outs. He was pulled after two pitches in the second inning, apparently aggravating his injured elbow.
Suddenly the Padres found themselves in a familiar yet unenviable position. They were going to depend on their bullpen again. The same bullpen that threw more than 20 innings in three wild-card games.
The Padres might have been able to beat the Cardinals like that, but Game 1 of this series showed that they can’t beat the Dodgers in that fashion.
What’s next? Heading into the Game 2, the Dodgers will lean on the familiar. The Padres? Well, we’re not too sure yet. The Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound hoping to take a 2-0 series lead. He was fantastic in his wild-card series start. He threw eight shutout innings, striking out 13 and allowing only three hits. It was Kershaw at his best, which we don’t need to tell you doesn’t always come in October.
The Padres haven’t announced a starter yet. Their best option would seem to be Chris Paddack. He might be their only option for a true starter at this point. With the bullpen taxed following Clevinger’s short outing, the Padres would be well served to find someone who can eat some innings and keep the Dodgers off the scoreboard.
You see this? Padres manager Jayce Tingler was heated after getting ejected. Take a look.
Padres Manager Jayce Tingler has been ejected. pic.twitter.com/ri5wHleiIg
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 7, 2020
ALDS Game 2: Tampa Bay Rays 7, New York Yankees 5
What happened? The Tampa Bay Rays bounced back in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, defeating the New York Yankees 7-5 to even the series at 1-1.
This game almost felt like opposite day, and not just because an AL playoff game was being played in an NL ballpark. The Rays, who aren't typically a homer-hitting team, matched the Yankees' Game 1 output by launching four home runs in the win. Hot-hitting Randy Arozarena started the barrage with a first-inning solo home run. Mike Zunino and Manuel Margot each connected for two-run blasts, before Austin Meadows capped it with a solo shot in the sixth inning.
The story early in the game was Aaron Boone's pitching strategy. The Yankees' skipper took a page from Tampa Bay's playbook (and maybe more memorably, from the Brewers’ postseason trickeration) by using rookie right-hander Deivi Garcia as an opener. Unfortunately for Boone, the plan fell apart quickly. After Garcia allowed Arozarena's first-inning homer, JA Happ entered in the second inning promptly surrendered two home runs, allowing the Rays to take a 5-1 lead into the middle innings.
On the hill, Rays' starter Tyler Glasnow looked a lot like Gerrit Cole. The 27-year-old right-hander struck out a franchise postseason record 10 batters over five innings. He couldn't solve Giancarlco Stanton though. The Yankees' slugger took him deep twice and drove in all four runs allowed by Glasnow.
Overall, the Yankees struck out 18 times in Game 2. That set the franchise record for most strikeouts in a single postseason game.
What's next? The series continues with Game 3 on Wednesday evening.
The Yankees will call on their longest tenured starter, Masahiro Tanaka. The 31-year-old right-hander was knocked around during the wild-card series, allowing six runs in four-plus innings against the Cleveland Indians on a night that involved two rain delays. The Yankees rallied and completed the series sweep that night with a 10-9 win. During the regular season, Tanaka went 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA.
For the Rays, 36-year-old right-hander Charlie Morton will get the call. Morton did not pitch during the wild-card series. Last October, he started two postseason games and won both — against Oakland and Houston — while finishing with a 0.90 ERA.
First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. The game will be shown on TBS.
You see that? Meet Randy Arozarena — the breakout star of the 2020 postseason.
ALDS Game 2: Houston Astros 5, Oakland A’s 2
What happened? The Houston Astros remained perfect in the postseason, riding their red-hot bats to a 5-2 win against the Oakland A's and a 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series.
Leadoff man George Springer remained the hottest of Houston's sluggers. After picking up four hits in Houston's explosive Game 1 win, the soon-to-be free agent launched two mammoth home runs in Game 2. That included a go-ahead two-run shot against A's starter Sean Manaea that gave Houston the lead for good in the third inning.
In the fifth inning, Springer went back-to-back with catcher Martin Maldonado to extend the lead and tie the MLB record for most home runs through 54 career postseason games with 17. Springer shares that record with Nelson Cruz, whose Minnesota Twins the Astros swept in the wild-card series.
Astros starter Framber Valdez and Houston's sometimes shaky bullpen made the early support stand up. Valdez allowed solo home runs to Khris Davis and Chad Pinder but little else over his seven strong innings. He finished with four strikeouts and just those two runs allowed. Enoli Paredes tossed a perfect eighth inning, and closer Ryan Pressly escaped a touchy ninth inning.
What’s next? It's do-or-die for the A's, who must win three games in a row to survive and advance to the American League Championship Series.
With their season on the line, Oakland hasn’t determined who will start Game 3. Manager Bob Melvin seems to be choosing between Jesus Luzardo and Frankie Montas.
Melvin does not announce a Game 3 starter yet. Still under discussion he says. Montas and Luzardo are the two most likely possibilities.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) October 6, 2020
Luzardo, the rookie left-hander, struggled in his postseason debut, allowing three runs on six hits over 3 1/3 innings against the White Sox during the wild-card series, but was solid throughout the regular season. Luzardo finished with a 4.12 ERA and 59 strikeouts over 59 innings. Montas — who posted a 5.60 ERA in 11 starts in the regular season — came out of the bullpen in the wild-card series, striking out two in two innings and allowing one run.
For Houston, the starting assignment was slated to go to Zack Greinke, but manager Dusty Baker says the star right-hander is dealing with arm soreness. Instead, Jose Urquidy will get the ball.
Wow. Jose Urquidy will start Game 3 for the Astros, Dusty Baker just announced.
— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) October 6, 2020
Greinke was shaky during the wild-card series. In Game 1 against the Twins, he walked three but only allowed one run through four innings. During the regular season, Greinke posted a 4.03 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 67 innings. Urquidy, meanwhile, returned from injury for five late-season starts, pitching to a 2.73 ERA in 29 2/3 innings.
First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 3:35 p.m. ET. The game will be shown on TBS.
You see that? George Springer now has five home runs in five career postseason games at Dodger Stadium. Only one player in MLB history has more — Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
NLDS Game 1: Atlanta Braves 9, Miami Marlins 5
What happened? In Game 1 of the National League Division Series, we got a pretty clear message from the Atlanta Braves — in any given inning, they can change a game.
It was the seventh inning Tuesday in their second-round series against the Miami Marlins. The Marlins were holding onto a 4-3 lead with one of their best relievers in the game. Then the Braves’ lineup exploded.
They poured on six runs, thanks to two big homers, and eventually won 9-5 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Playing this series in Houston as part of MLB’s postseason bubble, the Braves posted what looked a lot like one of the Astros’ monster October innings. Marcell Ozuna singled to tie the game and then Travis d’Arnaud launched a three-run homer for a 7-4 lead that felt like a gut punch to the upstart Marlins.
With the Marlins on the ropes, Ozzie Albies singled and Dansby Swanson followed with a two-run homer of his own.
None of this is all that surprising. The Braves hit the most homers in the NL during the regular season. They also scored the second-most runs behind the Dodgers. They certainly have juggernaut tendencies.
The question for Atlanta is the pitching. Max Fried, who had assumed the ace role after Mike Soroka’s injury, was pedestrian — giving up four runs in four innings, but the bullpen cleaned things up.
One positive for the Marlins: Their offense proved resilient. They roared back to take a 4-1 lead after a Ronald Acuña lead-off homer. Even after the Braves’ big inning, the Marlins were able to put another run across.
As the series moves on, now we see if the Marlins have the pitching to extinguish this mighty Braves offense.
What’s next? The Marlins try to even out the series Wednesday in Game 2. They’ll have Pablo Lopez, one of their most dependable pitchers during the regular season, on the mound. He’s opposed by Ian Anderson, the Braves rookie who has been so important down the stretch and who looked fantastic in the wild-card series.
Lopez was 6-4 with a 3.61 ERA in the regular season. Anderson was on the taxi squad to start the season for Atlanta, but was called up in August because of all of the Braves’ pitching injuries. He had a 1.95 ERA in six starts in the regular season. Against the Reds in the wild-card round, he pitched six scoreless innings, striking out nine and allowing just two hits.
You see that? We’ve talked a lot about the Braves offense, but look at the springs on Ozzie Albies:
The Wizard of Oz hit em with a wingardium leviosa. pic.twitter.com/m1Y6B4Gh9Z
— MLB (@MLB) October 6, 2020
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