October baseball has finally arrived, and we’ve already been #blessed with plenty of craziness. Will the Cubs fulfill their destiny and finally break the dreaded curse? Can the Indians hold off Big Papi and the Red Sox? What about some even-year magic?
Wild Card Round
In the NL Wild Card game, we saw a matchup of the even-year darlings, the San Francisco Giants, facing off against the defending NL Champion New York Mets. It was Noah “Thor” Syndergaard versus Madison Bumgarner. And boy, did they deliver us a dandy! Syndergaard threw seven two-hit, shutout innings while striking out ten batters. Bumgarner threw a four-hit, complete game shutout. As well as Thor pitched, however, the Mets couldn’t escape the even-year magic, as the Giants rode a ninth-inning, three-run home run off the bat of Conor Gillaspie to a 3-0 win in Queens.
On the AL side, the Baltimore Orioles traveled to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays. This game got off to a hot start with home runs from Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo, but the ninth inning ended in a deadlock at two runs apiece. Then in the bottom of the ninth, Edwin Encarnacion sent the Orioles packing with a walk-off, three-run homer off of Baltimore set-up man Ubaldo Jimenez.
Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers
In the first game of the division series on either side, the Blue Jays started things off with a 10-1 drubbing of Cole Hamels and the Texas Rangers in Arlington. They followed that up with a 5-3 in game two, and headed back to Canada with a 2-0 series lead, looking for the sweep.
After Toronto went up 3-1 after two innings, the Rangers clawed back and took a 6-5 lead in the sixth inning. That lead was short-lived, as the Jays scored the tying run in the bottom half of the frame. Then in the bottom half of the 10th, with one out and runners at first and second, Russell Martin hit a ground ball to short. Elvis Andrus was able to record the out at second, but Rougned Odor‘s throw to first skipped in and got away from Mitch Moreland. Josh Donaldson scampered around third and scored the winning run to eliminate the Rangers and complete the series sweep for Toronto.
Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians
The series between the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians began with a bang of its own, as the Indians rode three third-inning solo home runs to take the first game 5-4. The Tribe followed that performance up with a 6-0 drubbing of David Price, highlighted by a four-run second inning.
Finally, in game three of the series, Cleveland was able to complete the series sweep as they hung on 4-3. The scoring got started in the fourth thanks to a two-run single by Indians rookie Tyler Naquin, but the Sox cut the lead in half thanks to an RBI double by their own super-rookie, Andrew Benintendi, in the fifth. The next inning, however, Coco Crisp cranked a two-run homer over the Green Monster, giving the Tribe a 4-1 lead. That lead was all the Indians would need, as they held on to win 4-3 despite a couple of late-inning rallies from the Sox.
The American League Championship Series between the Blue Jays and Indians will begin this Friday, Oct 14 in Cleveland.
San Francisco Giants vs. Chicago Cubs
Game one of the series between the Giants and Chicago Cubs was an absolute thriller. The two teams were deadlocked at zero going into the eighth, and Johnny Cueto and Jon Lester were absolutely dealing. But in the bottom of the eighth, Javier Baez launched a solo home run to break the scoreless tie, giving Aroldis Chapman all he needed to come in and close out the game in the ninth.
The second game came much easier for the Cubbies, as they scored all five of their runs in the first four innings and took the contest 5-2. That gave them a 2-0 series lead before traveling to San Francisco. There, however, the Giants found some more of their even year magic. After giving up a three-run homer to Jake Arrieta (yes, Arrieta hit a three-run jack) in the second inning, the Giants fought back with five unanswered runs over the next six frames to take a 5-3 lead. But in the top of the ninth, Sergio Romo was unable to close the game. He gave up a game-tying, two-run to Kris Bryant.
The game lasted into the 13th inning when Brandon Crawford led off the bottom half of the inning with a double to right. Joe Panik stepped in one batter later and sent the crowd home happy with a game-winning double. The series now sits two games to one in favor of the Cubs. Can the Giants keep the magic alive?
Game four of this series continues today at 8:30 PM EST in San Francisco.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals
The Los Angeles Dodgers started this series off with a 4-3 victory in D.C. over the Washington Nationals. Dodgers’ phenom Corey Seager started things off with a 430-foot bomb to straight-away center off of Max Scherzer in the top of the first. Two innings later, Chase Utley added to LA’s lead by singling home Andrew Toles. Two batters later, Justin Turner drilled a two-run dinger to left to put the Dodgers up 4-0. The Nats would add three runs over the next two frames, but the Dodgers were able to hold on to win.
Game two started off very similarly. Seager put the Dodgers on the board in the first with another solo jack. They added another run in the third on another RBI single, but this time, Josh Reddick got in on the fun. The Nats’ fortunes turned in the fourth, however, when Jose Lobaton unloaded a 394-foot, three-run bomb to left to put the Nats ahead 3-2. Washington added two more runs thanks to a pair of RBI singles. They cruised to a 5-2 victory to even the series at one apiece.
The series then headed to Los Angeles, and the Nats continued to show their offensive firepower. Seager, again, started the scoring with an RBI double in the bottom of the first. That lead would last until the third, when the Nationals put up a four-spot on Dodgers’ starter Kenta Maeda, capped off with an Anthony Rendon two-run shot. Los Angeles added another run in the fifth via a Carlos Ruiz two-run dinger. The offenses went quiet after that. In the ninth inning, Los Angeles brought in their closer, Kenley Jansen, and he promptly gave up four runs. Washington won, giving them a 2-1 series lead.
Game four of this series continues today at 5:00 PM EST.