As the playoffs march on, we are nearing the end of days with more than one game. We got one on Saturday with Game 2 of the ALCS and the NLCS kicking off. Saturday’s results mean we’ll get at least two more multi-game days, but we’re getting deeper into the business end of the season. With all four remaining teams in action on Saturday, let’s take a look at where things stand now.
What happened last night?
ALCS Game 2
(Series tied 1-1)
It did not take very long for this one to be decided. The Red Sox struck with a grand slam in each of the first two innings, and that would end up being more than enough as they evened the series at one.
Astros’ starter Luis García struggled in the first, allowing a hit and two walks before J.D. Martinez stepped to the plate. He went deep, getting Boston off to a perfect start. García came back out for the second, but was pulled after walking the lead off hitter, exiting with some sort of knee injury.
Jake Odorizzi replaced him, and because it was an injury replacement, he technically got as long as he needed to warm up. Odorizzi took advantage and seemingly did an abbreviated version of how he would normally ramp up for a start, creating a humorously long wait. It didn’t seem to help him much, as he loaded the bases and gave up a grand slam of his own, this one to Rafael Devers. In addition to giving them a sizeable lead, the second slam also made a little bit of history.
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi wasn’t as good as he’s been earlier in the playoffs, allowing three runs in 5.1 innings. However, he got more than enough run support. The Astros added a couple more runs in the ninth, but it ended up being too little, too late.
NLCS Game 1
Atlanta Braves 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 2
(Atlanta leads 1-0)
Starting off the NLCS was a pitching matchup we all wanted to see: Max Fried vs...Corey Knebel? Fresh off being used as an opener in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Giants, the Dodgers used Knebel in the role again to start the next round. Meanwhile, Atlanta relied on their ace in Fried.
After the two teams traded runs and the lead early on, it became a battle of the bullpens. Atlanta went to theirs after six innings of two-run ball from Fried, the Dodgers because their entire game was from the bullpen.
The game stayed tied at two for a long while, leading to a couple game-changing moments in the ninth.
In the top half of the ninth, Chris Taylor drew a two-out walk. A pinch-hitting Cody Bellinger followed that with a single, seemingly put the go-ahead run in scoring position with a single. However, Taylor went around second and headed for third, only realizing that was a bad idea until it was too late. He ended up in a rundown, and was eventually tagged out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Ozzie Albies singled and then stole second. Austin Riley then delivered a walk-off single, breaking the deadlock and giving the Braves the early series lead.
What’s on deck?
NLCS Game 2
(Ian Anderson vs. Max Scherzer)
Time: 7:38 pm ET
Venue: Truist Park
With the ALCS off tonight as the teams head to Boston, the NLCS has the stage to themselves tonight.
To try and even things up, the Dodgers will send Max Scherzer to the mound for his first start of the series, and his first appearance since getting the save in the NLDS-clinching win over the Giants. Of course, he started the season as division mates with Atlanta, but actually only made two starts against them this year. One of them came all the way back on Opening Day, where Ronald Acuña Jr. got him for two home runs. We sadly will not get to see that rematch tonight or at all in this series.
While he doesn’t have Scherzer’s potential Hall of Fame career as of yet, Ian Anderson could be a tough opponent. Anderson threw five scoreless innings in Atlanta’s crucial 3-0 NLDS Game 3 win. He was faced the Dodgers twice in last year’s NLCS, allowing two runs over seven combined innings.