Photo credit: Kelly O'Connor

Photo credit: Kelly O’Connor

Fresh off their exciting extra inning victory over the Athletics in the American League Wild Card game, the Royals kicked off the American League Divisional Series against the Anaheim Angels. College teammates and future offseason vacation buddies, Jered Weaver and Jason Vargas toed the rubber and hoped to grab the early series advantage for their respective clubs. After back-to-back scoreless frames to open the game, the Royals managed to push a run across the plate against Weaver in the 3rd. After a two-out walk by Mike Moustakas, Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar drove a double off the base of the wall in left field. But the Angels were quick to respond in the home half of the inning, as Chris Iannetta belted a solo home run off Vargas to re-tie the score at one a side. Two innings later, the Royals retook the lead, after Alex Gordon lead off the inning with a double and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Omar Infante. But once again, Anaheim wasted no time evening the score, as David Freese drilled a solo home run to lead off the bottom half of the 5th. The Angels two home runs were just 2 of the 3 total hits that Royals starter Jason Vargas allowed over his 6 innings of work. Similarly, Angels starter Jared Weaver allowed only 2 runs on 3 hits, but his start lasted an inning longer than Vargas’. After each starter left the game, both club’s bullpens held the score tied at 2 a piece, and forced extra innings. After a scoreless 10th, the Royals grabbed their third run of the night on a lead off solo home run by Mike Moustakas. In the home half of the 11th, Kansas City closer Greg Holland retired the side in order, and secure a 3-2 game one victory for the Royals.

  • I guess you could say these past two days have gone pretty well for Royals closer Greg Holland. Prior to slamming the door in the 11th inning to give his club an early series advantage, Holland was late getting to the Angel Stadium. As it turns out, the 28-year old was by his wife’s side for the birth of their son on Wednesday, and didn’t travel with the team to Anaheim. Instead, Holland took a flight to California on Thursday, and arrived at the field with enough time to make an impact. (Better a late arrival for Royals closer(and new daddy) Greg Holland than never)
  • While starting pitching is obviously number one on the Red Sox shopping list this offseason, finding a solution at third base is also a top priority. After another injury plagued season of overall under performance for Will Middlebrooks, Boston must realize that they can’t rely on the 26-year old in 2015. Instead, the team would be wise to scour the free agent and trade markets to find a more dependable solution at the hot corner. (Red Sox have decisions to make at third base)
  • Since getting bounced from the playoffs in the Wild Card game, many have questioned whether Oakland’s mid-summer deal of Lester-for-Cespedes was worth it. After trading away the Cuban defector, the Athletics watched their offense plummet, and their record suffer. Instead of holding onto their lead in the AL West, Oakland just barely squeaked into the post season by grabbing the second Wild Card spot. But even after an offensive shutdown and an early postseason exit, A’s GM Billy Beane doesn’t regret pulling the trigger for the former Sox southpaw. (Billy Beane says A’s wouldn’t have made the playoffs without Jon Lester trade)
  • With the surplus of quality outfielders the Red Sox have, Ben Cherington will have his work cut out for him this winter when deciding what players to keep and who to cut ties with. Barring a trade of some sort, the Red Sox starting outfield seems in place. Therefore whomever Boston decides to retain will most likely assume the 4th outfielder position. Although he’s set to make $13M, Shane Victorino seems like a perfect candidate to fill the additional outfield spot. While injury prone, the 33-year old’s defensive and offensive value would make for a unique weapon off the bench. (Red Sox don’t need to trade Shane Victorino)
  • On the cusp of his 39th birthday, David Ortiz has admitted that the pressure of old age is starting to creep up on him. As the sole thunder in the Red Sox line-up this season, the 18 year veteran put up vintage David Ortiz numbers, collecting 35 homers and over 100 RBI in 142 games. While Ortiz knows that every season can’t be like 2013, he remains hopeful that the team will reload and get healthy for what could be one of his last seasons in the majors. (Ortiz: Feeling pressure more than ever)
  • Tweet of the day: Selig is still commissioner for another couple weeks…