While the American League Championship Series is all set to go, the National League side of the postseason is still stuck in the Divisional Series. On Monday, the Washington Nationals staved off elimination behind a solid effort from right-hander Doug Fister. After both Fister and Giants starter Madison Bumgarner exchanged scoreless frames for the first 6 innings, Washington tallied 3 runs in the 7th. The Nationals collected their first two runs after Bumgarner committed a throwing error, while the third Nationals run scored on an Asdrubal Cabrera single. Fister left the game after tossing 7 innings of scoreless baseball, and the Nationals pen held the Giants bats in order for the rest of the contest. In the home half of the 9th inning, Nationals closer Drew Storen surrendered a run, but wound up putting the finishing touches on a 4-1 Washington victory. Later on Tuesday night, the Cardinals and Dodgers met with the divisional series advantage on the line. Tied at one game a side, the Cardinals sent out former Red Sox hurler John Lackey, while the Dodgers countered with Hyun-jin Ryu. Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter remained scorching hot at the plate, as his 3rd inning home run gave St. Louis an early lead. The Dodgers tied the score in the 6th inning, after Hanley Ramirez doubled to score Yasiel Puig. Ryu would leave the game after 6 innings on 1 run baseball, and give way to Dodgers reliever Scott Elbert. The right-hander quickly allowed a lead off double to Yadier Molina, and then surrendered a booming 2-run home run off the bat of Kolton Wong. Wong’s home run ended up being the difference in the game, as Trevor Rosenthal secured a 3-1 win for St. Louis.
- So far this postseason, we’ve seen gigantic moments come from unheralded positions. Players that haven’t seen much, if any, major league time have altered the course of dozens playoff games this October. While the Royals bullpen was highly touted entering the postseason, no one pegged players like Terrance Gore or Jarrod Dyson as game-changers. Likewise, flame-thrower Hunter Strickland wasn’t supposed to make an impact this fall, but low and behold he’s been one of the Giants go-to arms. The impact of bullpens and benches this October is a huge reason why this postseason has seen been unlike any other. (The Other Guys: How benches and bullpens are shaping the MLB Playoffs)
- Giants newly recalled late innings reliever Hunter Strickland turned a lot of head this October, after the right-hander unleashed a cannon for an arm. In just 7 total major league innings — including the postseason — Strickland has struck out 9 and walked just 1. However, Strickland’s road to the MLB playoffs wasn’t an easy one. Drafted by the Red Sox in 2007, the Georgia native never sniffed the majors in 3 seasons in Boston’s farm system, and was shipped to Pittsburgh in 2010 in exchange for Adam LaRoche. Mainly operating as a starting pitcher in the minors, Strickland didn’t find his true value until he made the move to the pen. (Long before he threw 100: Hunter Strickland’s Red Sox tenure recalled)
- With the Red Sox strapped for starting pitching, the team will need to cast a wide net in order to fill their vacant rotation spots. Of course names like James Shields and Jon Lester are available on the free agent market, but Boston could also look overseas to fortify their rotation. Soon to be posted Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda could fit the bill for Boston, and is already reportedly interested in joining the Sox. However like his fellow countrymen, Maeda will come with a hefty price tag. (Kenta Maeda wants to pitch for Red Sox or Yankees)
- The Red Sox have the money and resources to be extremely active this offseason, and with evident needs Boston shouldn’t waste any time getting to work this winter. The highest priority for the Red Sox this offseason will be starting pitching. Next will be trying to figure out what to do with all of their outfielders. The team will also explore left-handed options at third base, with Will Middlebrooks proving to be unreliable. (Offseason Outlook: Boston Red Sox)
- Unlike sports like football, baseball usually won’t grade out well nationally, in terms of viewership. Baseball, like other sports, gains most of its viewers locally and relies on the teams city to pull large numbers. This past season, regular season baseball was the most popular things to watch from the hours of 7-11, in over 10 metropolitan areas. Who says baseball is dying? (For MLB business, local TV viewership stays strong)
- Tweet of the day: Ross knows Lack
Jon Lackey is a stud, knows how to pitch when it counts!
— David Ross (@D_Ross3) October 7, 2014