Bases Loaded Playoff Review

First Base: With the regular season concluding last Sunday, two divisions ended up with ties, the NL Central and the NL West, and tiebreaker games needed to be played on Monday. The Brewers played the Cubs at Wrigley Field to kick things off on Monday, and the game was tied 1-1 until the 8th inning, when the Brewers’ Lorenzo Cain hit a RBI single to take the lead, and Ryan Braun tacked on another run with a RBI single of his own. The Brewers held on to their lead, and won 3-1, becoming the NL Central Champions for the first time since 2011. The second tiebreaker game was in Los Angeles, between the Dodgers and the Rockies. Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy homered, and Walker Buehler was lights out on the mound. The Rockies hardly showed any fight until the ninth inning, but Dodgers ended up winning 5-2, claiming their sixth straight NL West title.

Second Base: With the Cubs and Rockies both losing their tiebreaker games, they ended up being the two National League Wild Card teams, and had to play the following day in Chicago. The Rockies, playing in their third time zone in three days, jumped out to an early lead in the first inning, with a Nolan Arenado sac fly. The Cubs’ Jon Lester would settle down after the first inning, and with Kyle Freeland throwing a gem from the get go on the other side, it quickly turned into a pitchers’ duel. The Rockies would maintain their 1-0 lead until the eight inning, when Anthony Rizzo lined a two-out single to center field. Base stealing extraordinaire Terrance Gore, pinch ran for Rizzo, and easily swiped second base. Javier Baez quickly fell behind in the count 0-2, but then smoked an Adam Ottavino slider into left center for a RBI double tying the game at 1. The game eventually went into extra innings, with little action, until the 13th inning, when Trevor Story and Gerardo Parra hit back to back singles with two outs. Rockies backup catcher Tony Wolters followed it up with a single of his own, scoring Trevor Story and giving the Rockies the lead. The Rockies would hold on and win, moving on to the NLDS and eliminating the Cubs from the Postseason. On the American League side of things, the A’s and Yankees faced off on Wednesday in The Bronx in the AL Wild Card game. The Yankees jumped out to an early lead on a two-run home run by Aaron Judge, and would never look back. Luis Severino was dominant on the mound for the Yankees, throwing four scoreless innings, with seven strikeouts. Luke Voit hit a big two RBI triple in the sixth, extending the Yankees lead, and Giancarlo Stanton padded the Yankees lead with a long home run of his own the eighth. Ultimately, the Yankees ended up winning 7-2, with the A’s only runs coming on a two run shot by MLB home run leader Khris Davis. The A’s magical season ended, and the Yankees moved on  to the ALDS to the face the Red Sox, which would be the first time the bitter rivals would face off in the Postseason since 2004.

Third Base: The NLDS began on Thursday, with the Rockies taking on the Brewers in Milwaukee at Miller Park. Likely NL MVP Christian Yelich hit a two run home run to open up scoring in the third inning, and the score would remain 2-0 until the ninth inning, when the Rockies would tie it up at 2-2 on a Nolan Arenado sac fly. Christian Yelich walked to lead off the bottom of the 10th, and Mike Moustakas eventually knocked him home for a walk off single. The Rockies bats were silenced by Jhoulys Chacín and the Brewers’ bullpen in game two, and the Brewers were up 1-0 until the bottom of the eighth, when Moustakas hit a rbi single and veteran Erik Kratz hit a two-run single to break the game open. The Brewers won 4-0 to go up 2-0 in the series. Game 3 was back in Colorado on Sunday, and the Rockies looked just as bad at the plate as they did in game 2, getting shut out once again by Wade Miley and the Brewers’ bullpen. Jesús Aguilar, Keon Braxton and Orlando Arcia all homered for the Brewers. The Brewers swept the Rockies and moved on to the NLCS for the first time since 2011, where they will be taking on the winner of the Braves and the Dodgers. 

The other series in the National League also began on Thursday, with the Dodgers taking on the Braves in Los Angeles. The Dodgers jumped out to an early lead with a Joc Pederson leadoff home run in the first inning, and they never looked back. Hyun-Jin Ryu was dominant on the hill for the Dodgers, throwing seven scoreless innings and striking out eight. Kiké Hernández and Max Muncy added home runs for the Dodgers, and they won game one 6-0. The Braves’ offense faltered once again in game two, with Clayton Kershaw throwing eight scoreless innings for the Dodgers, only allowing two hits. It was the longest Postseason start of Kershaw’s career. Manny Machado hit a two run home run, and Yasmani Grandal hit a solo shot. The Dodgers won game two 3-0, taking a 2-0 lead in the series. Game three on Sunday in Atalanta was much more eventful. The Braves took a 5-0 lead early, thanks to a grand slam by rookie phenom Ronald Acuña Jr. the Dodgers chipped away to come back and tie it, with key home runs by Chris Taylor and Max Muncy, and the score remained tied until Freddie Freeman hit a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Braves a 6-5 lead. The Dodgers threatened in the ninth inning, with their first two guys getting on and the middle of the lineup coming up, but Arodys Vizcaíno worked out of it and picked up the save for the Braves. The Dodgers still lead the series 2-1, and game four will be played on Monday in Atlanta at 4:30 ET. 

The Red Sox and Yankees kicked off their series on Friday night in Boston. Sox slugger J.D. Martinez got it going early, with a three-run home run in the first inning off of J.A. Happ, who only lasted two innings, giving up five runs. The score would remain 5-0 until the sixth inning, when the Yankees started to chip away. Aaron Judge homered in the ninth to bring the Yankees within one, but they couldn’t get anything else going, with Craig Kimbrel striking out the side. The Red Sox took game one 5-4. Game two followed on Saturday night. Aaron Judge got the Yankees on the board in the first inning with a solo shot, his third home run in his last three games, and his sixth home run in his last eight Postseason games. Gary Sanchez hit a solo shot of his own off of David Price in the second, and Andrew McCutchen followed it up with a RBI single. The Red Sox’ David Price, who has historically struggled in the Postseason, only last 1 and 2/3 innings, allowing three runs. Gary Sanchez hit a 479 foot three-run home run in the seventh inning that gave the Yankees a 6-1 lead, and they ended up winning 6-2, with Masahiro Tanaka getting the win, and evening the series at 1-1. A pivotal Game 3 will be played in New York at 7:40 PM ET on Monday, with Yankees ace Luis Severino going up against the Red Sox’ Nathan Eovaldi.

The Astros and Indians began their series on Friday in Houston, with Justin Verlander going up against Corey Kluber. Kluber didn’t look like himself, allowing solo shots to Alex Bregman, George Springer and Jose Altuve. Verlander was solid for the Astros, throwing 5 and 1/3 innings and allowing two runs. The Indians hardly put up a fight, and the Astros won game one 7-2. Gerrit Cole was dominant for the Astros in Game 2, throwing seven innings with three hits allowed, one run, on a solo shot by Francisco Lindor, and striking out 12. Marwin Gonzalez hit a clutch two-run double off of Andrew Miller to give the Astros a 2-1 lead in the 6th inning, and Alex Bregman homered once again to add some insurance for the Astros, who ended up winning 3-1. The series will be going back to Cleveland with the Astros up 2-0. Game 3 will be played at 1:30 ET on Monday afternoon at Progressive Field.

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