The MLB playoffs are finally upon us. It might have been a short stay from the Yankees, but a full month in the spotlight remains for the sport as a whole. To track baseball’s biggest games across this final month, PSA will do a short daily roundup on all of the previous day’s action as we creep up to the World Series.
What happened last night?
NL Wild Card Game
The nightmare scenario has passed. The 106-win Dodgers managed to survive the one-game playoff against a Devil Magic-fueled Cardinals squad. It was a tense affair, and it looked like the Cardinals would induce absolute chaos for a while, but the Dodgers managed to pull ahead on a walk-off two-run home run by Chris Taylor — who was a late-game substitution-turned postseason hero. Just how we all drew it up.
The story of this game for the first three innings was the battle between Max Scherzer and the vintage Adam Wainwright. Scherzer got into trouble right out of the gate, allowing the first two batters to reach, and allowed a run on a wild pitch to give the Cardinals the early lead. Wainwright cruised through the first two frames and Houdini’d his way out of a bases loaded jam in the third, but Justin Turner tagged him for a solo shot to start the fourth. In the end, Wainwright would last until the sixth inning while Scherzer was lifting in the middle of the fifth — a bold move from manager Dave Roberts, which ended up working.
Now a clash of titans is lined up in the NL, with the 107-win Giants set to host the Dodgers. The winner of that series is bound to be a big favorite to win the World Series outright, and the regular season record between these two is extremely close: the Giants won the season series 10-9, but the Dodgers outscored them by two runs. Every game should be must-see baseball.
What’s on deck?
American League Division Series begins
Time: 4:07 p.m. EST
TV: FS1-INT, FS1
Venue: Minute Maid Park
The battle between the AL Central and West division winners begins in Houston with a meeting of the Lances. Lynn was in the running for the Cy Young this season, but a lack of innings probably will limit him to a third-place finish or worse. Still, he’s been incredible while he’s been available, pitching to a 2.69 ERA (3.32 FIP) and striking out 176 in 157 innings of work. McCullers is no slouch either, rebounding well from a rough 2020 and rounding back into form after elbow surgery cost him the 2019 season. McCullers has pitched to a 3.16 ERA (3.52 FIP) with 185 strikeouts in 162.1 innings this year, filling in as the ace for a rotation without veteran postseason star Justin Verlander.
The Astros are a strong contender for their fifth consecutive ALCS appearance, and they could do damage beyond that if they get rolling. They should be the favorites in this series, but the White Sox stand a decent chance of stealing home field advantage with their dominant front-line pitching. I think Chicago opens their postseason with an upset, winning 5-3.
Time: 8:07 p.m. EST
TV: FS1-INT, FS1
Venue: Tropicana Field
That’s weird, the schedule says that there’s a second series starting today but my eyes just refuse to process that. Yep, can’t see anything over here ...
Alright, I’m being told that despite my refusal to acknowledge it, the Red Sox and Rays will indeed be playing baseball for some reason. Eduardo Rodriguez hasn’t gotten the best results for Boston, pitching to a 4.74 ERA, but his 3.32 FIP indicates that he’s been victimized by the terrible defense around him. McClanahan has had a solid rookie year for Tampa Bay, the latest in a long line of arms that the organization has churned out.
The Rays have been head and shoulders above the rest of the AL this year, and they’re the defending AL champs. The Red Sox randomly resurfaced after a terrible 2020 and backed their way into the postseason. Don’t make this difficult, Tampa. As much as I dislike you, you’ve got the talent (until you trade them) to make a serious run and prevent Boston from colliding into another title this century. I’ll take the Rays in this one, 6-2. (Rooting for a meteor isn’t out of the question, though.)