Saturday, October 10, 2015

deGrom Fans 13 as Mets Take Down Dodgers in Game One; Ben Zobrist, Royals Rally Past Astros

Players of the Day for Friday, October 9, 2015

American League

Zobrist: game-winning RBI
Al Playoffs continued on Friday with two games in the ALDS. In the early game, it took the Texas Rangers 14 innings, but they finally defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-4, taking a two games to zero edge back home to Arlington for game three on Sunday.

The later game saw a rally by the Royals erase a 4-2 Houston lead with two runs in the sixth and another in the seventh for a 5-4 victory as KC's relief star held off the Astros in the final innings.

Ben Zobrist (2-for-4) had the key hit in the seventh inning, driving in Yunel Escobar with the game-winning run with a sharp single to left center.

After Johnny Cueto was touched up for four early runs, he settled down and blanked the Astros through the fourth, fifth and sixth before Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madsen and Wade Davis kept Houston off the basepaths on one hit over the final three innings. KC and Houston are tied a game apiece with the series heading to Houston for game three on Sunday.
deGrom: 7IP, 0ER, 13K

National League

A pair of NL divisional series began on Friday, with the Cardinals putting a stop to the Cubs in a big way, blanking Chicago, 4-0, behind seven scoreless innings from John Lackey, who allowed two hits, fanned five and issued one walk. Trevor Rosenthal allowed a walk and a hit in the ninth, but picked up the save, giving St. Louis a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Game two is Saturday at 5:30 pm ET in St. Louis.

The final game of the evening was a pitching matchup between there-time Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw and up-and-coming Mets' starter, Jacob deGrom, the victory going to the visiting New Yorkers as deGrom tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and a walk, fanning 13 for a 3-1 Mets' win.

DeGrom got support on a fourth-inning solo homer from Daniel Murphy and a single that delivered two runs off the bat of David Wright in the seventh. The Dodgers picked up a run in the eighth on a single by Adrian Gonzalez (who struck out three times versus deGrom), but the rally was stifled by Jeurys Familia who worked four outs for the save.

Game two of the series is slated for a 9:00 pm ET start in Los Angeles.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Jose Altuve Leads Astros to Game 1 Win at Royals; Rangers Down Toronto in ALDS

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 8, 2015

American League

Altus Leads Astros
The ALDS opened Thursday with a pair of games in which home field provided no advantage. In the early game, the Texas Rangers took care of Toronto and David Price, getting five runs in seven innings off the Blue Jay ace for a 5-3 win.

The evening match-up of Houston at Kansas City has a similar result as the visitors took Game 1, 5-2, as Astros' leadoff hitter, Jose Altuve ignited Houston, going 3-for-5, scoring once and driving in another run. His single to start the game resulted in a 1-0 lead when Colby Rasmus delivered him from third on a ground out, then, in the second inning, Altuve drove in a run with a scratch single to right for a 3-0 lead.

Kendrys Morales socked a pair of solo homers to get the score to 3-2, but solo homers by Springer and Rasmus, in the fifth and eighth, respectively, put the game away as the Houston relief corps kept the Royals in check the final three innings.

Game two of the Rangers-Blue Jay series is scheduled for Friday at 12:45 pm ET; the series in KC continues at 3:45 pm ET.

National League

There were no National League games on Thursday. The NLDS begins Friday with the Chicago Cubs at St.Louis Cardinals at 6:45 PM ET and the Mets at Dodgers at 9:45 pm ET.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cubs Avance with 4-0 Win over Pirates as Jake Arrieta Goes the Distance

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 7, 2015

National League

Here come the Cubs.

Arrieta hurls 4-hit shutout
Shutting out the Pirates in the NL Wild Card game, 4-0, the Chicago Cubs advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs, to meet the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven-game series starting Friday in St. Louis.

Cubs' starter, Jake Arrieta, once again dazzled hitters, shutting down the Pirates on four hits in a complete game masterpiece. Arrieta didn't walk any batters and struck out 11, earning his first post-season win and the first playoff win for the Cubs since 2003.

Chicago got all of its runs from the first two batters in the lineup. Leadoff man, Dexter Fowler, singled twice, homered and scored three runs. Rookie Kyle Schwarber, who began his season in Double-A, belted a two-run shot off Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole in the third inning to put the Cubs up, 3-0. Fowler's solo shot finished the scoring in the fifth.

With the Cubs' ace cruising and Pittsburgh heading for an early exit from the playoffs, Pirates' reliever Tony Wilson plunked Arrieta in the seventh, an action that cleared both benches. Cooler heads prevailed, and only Pirates' first baseman, Sean Rodriguez, was ejected.

Arrieta, the National League's only 20-game winner this season, will likely be the starter for game three of the NLDS, Monday, in Chicago. Jon Lester faces the Cardinals' John Lackey in game one.

With a record of 22-6, Arrieta ended the regular season with 11 straight wins and was 16-1 since June 16.

American League

There were no games in the AL on Wednesday. The Rangers met the Blue Jays in Toronto and the Astros face the Royals in Kansas City on Thursday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dallas Keuchel, Astros Shut Down Yankees, 3-0, Advance to Face KC in AL Playoffs

Players of the Day for Tuesday, October 6, 2015

American League

Keuchel: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER
The Yankees - a disaster waiting to happen after backing into the playoffs by losing six of their final seven games - were summarily dismissed before a disappointed hometown crowd by Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros, as the NL West wild card triumphed, 3-0, sending the sorry Yanks home for the winter.

Houston starter, Keuchel, the AL's only 20-game winner (20-8), earned his first post-season victory, giving six innings of shutout ball on three hits, walking one and fanning seven.

While Keuchel may have been dominant, the Yankees were absolutely punchless, even after manager Joe Girardi had his players "rested" during their week-long, season-ending slump. The Yankees first playoff appearance in three years was a complete flop, with only two baserunners advancing past first base on the night.

Houston got solo homers from Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez in the second and fourth innings, respectively, both over overrated Yankee hurler, Masahiro Tanaka. The Astros added another run in the seventh, in one of the dullest wild card games in its short history.

Houston advances to the divisional round, where they will meet the Kansas City Royals in a seven-game series beginning Thursday at KC, the AL team with the best record during the regular season, at 95-67. Game time is set for 7:30 pm EDT.

National League

There were no National League games scheduled for Tuesday.

The Pirates host the Cubs in the NL wild card game Wednesday night at 8:00 pm EDT.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Adrian Beltre Belts Texas to NL West Title; J.A. Happ Sends Pirates Home for Wild Card Showdown with Cubs

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 4, 2015

American League

Texas is the champion of the AL West.

Happ: 6 Shutout Innings
Sends Pirates Home Happy
Beltre: Homer Sends
Rangers to AL West Crown
By defeating the LA Angels on the final day of the season, 9-2, the Rangers clinched the division and will play Toronto in the opening round of the playoffs.

Down 2-1, Adrian Beltre socked a two run homer in the fifth, putting the Rangers on top, then drove in another run with an infield single as the Rangers tacked on six runs in the seventh inning.

The Astros, finished second in the division and will be the second wild card, losing to Arizona, 5-3, on Sunday. Both the Astros and Yankees backed into the playoffs, but moreso the Yankees, as they lost for the sixth time in their last seven games, demolished by the Orioles, 9-4, losing three straight to the Orioles at Camden Yards.

The Astros travel to play the Yankees in the wild card game, Tuesday night at Yankees stadium.

National League

The Pittsburgh Pirates will face the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Wednesday as the Pirates finished one game better than the Cubs in the NL Central, taking home field for the wild card game, with a 4-0 win over Cincinnati.

J.A. Happ held the Reds scoreless on three hits over six innings to get the win, improving to 7-2 on the year. The Pirates scored single runs in the first, fourth, sixth and seventh innings. Pedro Alvarez socked his 27th homer of the season in the fourth.

The Cubs did their part to make the final day of the season interesting, whipping the Brewers 3-1. Chicago enters the post-season red-hot, winners of their last eight in a row.

Chicago finished 97-65. Pittsburgh was 98-64. Despite their designation as wild cards, the Pirates and Cubs had the second and third-best records in the league behind St. Louis, which ended the season with the best record in the majors, at 100-62, despite dropping both ends of a double-header at Atlanta on Sunday.