Bases Loaded Playoff Review

First Base: One NLDS series carried into this week between the Braves and Dodgers with the Dodgers up 2-1 in the series. Game 4 was played Monday in Atlanta. Manny Machado got the Dodgers on the board early with a RBI double in the first inning. The Braves retook the lead in the fourth inning, when Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run single. Former Postseason hero David Freese came up big for the Dodgers in the top of the 6th, hitting a two-run single with two outs to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. Manny Machado put the nail in the coffin in the 7th inning, hitting a three-run home run to break the game open. The Dodgers went on to win 6-2, advancing to their second straight NLCS.

Both ALDS series had to be decided this week. With the Astros having taken the first two games from the Indians to begin the series, both teams headed to Cleveland for Game 3. The score remained close throughout most of the contest. George Springer homered for the Astros in the top of the 5th to tie the game at 1. The Indians’ Francisco Lindor would follow that up with a home run of his own in the bottom of the 5th to give the Indians a 2-1 lead, and the score would remain there until the 7th inning. Jose Altuve grounded into a force out to tie it at 2-2. The Astros would then loaded the bases, and on a 3-1 fastball that was up above his shoulders, Marwin Gonzalez ripped a two- run double down the left field line to give the Astros a 4-2 lead. Gonzalez’s double opened up the floodgates for the Astros, who would go on to score seven more runs over the remainder of the game, one of which of which came on another home run by George Springer, his 10th career Postseason home run in only 27 games. The Astros would go on to win 11-2, sweeping the Indians and moving on to their second consecutive ALCS.

The other American League Division series between the Red Sox and Yankees went back to The Bronx for Game 3 on Monday. The Red Sox jumped out to an early lead against Luis Severino, and there was no going back. The Red Sox scored 16 runs on 18 hits, defeating the Yankees 16-1, and taking a 2-1 lead in the series. Brock Holt hit for the cycle for the Red Sox, becoming the first player in Postseason history to hit for the cycle. Game 4 looked like it could be another rout, with the Red Sox up 4-0 after four innings, but the Yankees eventually clawed back a bit. The Yankees trailed 4-1 going into the 9th inning with Craig Kimbrel coming in for the save, but they would eventually load the bases with one out. Neil Walker got hit by a pitch, bringing in a run to make it 4-2, and up came Gary Sanchez. Sanchez hit a long fly ball to left field, that brought Andrew Benintendi back to the warning track, who settled under it, and made the catch five feet from the wall. A run scored on the sac fly, bringing the Yankees within one run, with the tying run on second, and the winning run in first, with two outs. Rookie Gleyber Torres stepped up to the plate. On a 1-2 curveball, Torres bounced a slow chopper to third. It was going to be a tough play, and Eduardo Nunez charged in, fielded it cleanly, and whipped a throw to first. First baseman Steve Pearce stretched as far as he could, and made the play. Torres was out by half a step, and the Red Sox had taken the series 3-1, moving on to their first ALCS since 2013.

Second Base: The NLCS began on Friday in Milwaukee, between the Dodgers and the Brewers. Clayton Kershaw was slated to pitch against Gio Gonzalez. Manny Machado opened scoring, with a solo shot off of Gio Gonzalez in the top of the second, Machado’s third home run of the Postseason. Brandon Woodruff came out of the bullpen to relieve Gio Gonzalez in the 3rd inning, and proceeded to throw a 1-2-3 inning. Woodruff led off against Clayton Kershaw to begin the bottom of the 3rd, and on the sixth pitch of the at bat, he ripped a 407-foot home run to center field to knot the game at one. Woodruff joined Travis Wood in 2016 and Rosy Ryan in 1924 as only the third relief pitcher to homer in a Postseason game. The Brewers would score three more runs off of Clayton Kershaw, knocking him out of the game in the fourth inning. Jesus Aguilar hit a solo shot in the seventhth to make it 6-1 Brewers. The Brewers bullpen faltered a little in the eighth inning, with Manny Machado and Matt Kemp hitting two-out RBI singles to make it 6-4. Chris Taylor hit a RBI triple to bring the Dodgers within one with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Dodgers had the tying run on third. Justin Turner worked the count to 2-2, and chased a high fastball for strike three, stranding the tying run on third to end the game, and giving the Brewers a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 of the series was on Saturday, with Wade Miley marching up against Hyun-Jin Ryu. Wade Miley was lights out, throwing 5 and 2/3 scoreless innings against a potent Dodgers lineup. Orlando Arcia and Travis Shaw each hit solo shots, and the Brewers led 3-0 entering the 7th inning. The Brewers’ bullpen began to crack, and the Dodgers scored two runs in the 7th. With the lead cut to 3-2, Chris Taylor led off the 8th inning with an infield single. Justin Turner, who had struck out four times and stranded the tying run on third in Game 1, stepped up to the plate looking to redeem himself. Turner got up 2-0 in the count, and got the pitch he was looking for. He ripped a line shot into the second deck in left field, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 lead. The Dodgers held their lead going into the bottom of the ninth, and ended up winning 4-3, after Kenley Jansen got likely NL MVP Christian Yelich to ground out to end the game, with the tying run on second. The series is tied 1-1, and is going back to Los Angeles, with Game 3 scheduled to be played 7:39 ET on Monday. The Brewers’ Jhoulys Chacín will be going up against Dodgers’ Rookie Walker Buehler.

Third Base: The ALCS began on Saturday, and is likely featuring baseball’s two best teams, with the 108 win Red Sox going up against the 103 win Astros. The Red Sox’ Chris Sale faced the Astros’ Justin Verlander in an epic pitching matchup in Game 1 at Fenway Park. Both pitchers were solid, but didn’t have their best stuff. Chris Sale threw four innings, allowing two runs on one hit, with four walks and five strikeouts. Verlander threw six innings, with two runs coming on two hits, and four walks to go with six strikeouts. The game was tied 2-2 going into the sixth, until Carlos Correa snacked a RBI single to give the Astros the lead. The Astros bullpen would dominate the rest of the game, shutting down the Red Sox. Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel would add insurance for the Astros with home runs, and they would end up taking Game One 7-2. Game Two followed up on Sunday, with Gerrit Cole matching up against David Price. The Red Sox got out to a 2-0 lead early, but the Astros tied it in the second on a two-run double by George Springer. Marwin Gonzalez hit a towering two-run shot over the green monster, to give the Astros a 4-2 lead in the 3rd inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a big three-run double in the bottom of the third to retake the lead. The score would remain 5-4 until the seventh inning, when the Red Sox added some insurance, and led 7-4 going to the ninth inning. The Astros tried to put together a comeback in the last inning, scoring a run to make it 7-5. Alex Bregman stepped to the plate as the tying run with two outs, and just got under a Craig Kimbrel fastball, flying out to the warning track right in front of the green monster to end the game. The Red Sox took Game 2 7-5 and evened the series at one game apiece. Monday will be a travel day, with both teams traveling to Houston for Game 3 on Tuesday, which begins at 5:09 PM ET. Dallas Keuchel will be going against Nathan Eovaldi in a pivotal Game 3.

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