Michael Wacha held L.A. to two hits over 7 innings, leading the Cards into the World Series with his second win of the NLCS and third in this postseason (totals 21 IP, one run, 8 hits, 4 walks, 21 strikeouts). St. Louis pitchers allowed just three baserunners, matching the fewest in a series clincher. (The Mets’ Bobby Jones one-hit the Giants in the his third win in the 2000 NLDS.) They faced 29 batters, one off the clincher record set by Atlanta in the 1996 NLCS, game 7.
A few quick notes, as I try to hold it together….
Until this year, the Tigers had participated in just one postseason game that ended 1-0: the clinching game of the 1984 ALCS. They have three in eight games this year, losing ALDS game 2, and in this ALCS, winning game 1 (Boston’s first 1-0 loss) and losing game 3 (Boston’s third win).
The following might be stating the obvious, but I had to do something with my pregame nervous energy….
Recent days have sparked much talk about the success of young starting pitchers in this postseason. Indeed, several young starters have made impressive showings. But for every Michael Wacha, there’s a Matt Moore or a Julio Teheran – young starters with strong regular seasons, who bombed in their postseason starts. For every Sonny Gray gem of 8 shutout innings, there’s a Sonny Gray “meh” of 3 runs in 5 innings.
The Cardinals’ 1-0 win in game 2 of the NLCS was the eighth postseason win by a team getting no more than 2 hits.
The prior seven:
What sort of postseason event unites these six players, and one more who is not listed? They are listed in chronological order, starting with the most recent.
Tonight in Oakland, Justin Verlander and Sonny Gray will square off in the last game of the Division Series round, as the A’s host a deciding game 5 against Detroit for the second year in a row. Instead of pointlessly rehashing Oakland’s four straight losses in LDS game 5′s from 2000-03 — no more germane to this contest than their three straight championships from 1972-74 — let’s take a very quick look at sudden-death starting pitchers.
It’s time for another thrilling installment of “John Isn’t Doug,” in which I attempt to stump you readers long enough for Billy Hamilton to circle the bases!
With his Dodgers on the brink of advancing to the NLCS, manager Don Mattingly named Clayton Kershaw to start game 4. It will be his first-ever start with less than four days’ rest. Kershaw had one relief outing on three days’ rest back in 2008, at the end of his rookie year, allowing three baserunners in one inning, but no runs.
@Athletics 1, Tigers 0 (series tied, 1-1) — After winning the opener, Jim Leyland was playing with house money, and it showed. The key play of the game, before Oakland’s walk-off 9th, came in the top of the 5th inning, Tigers on the corners with one out, and leadoff man Austin Jackson at bat. On a full count, Leyland sent the runner from first base — an aggressive, almost devil-may-care stratagem. Jackson swung through a fastball for his third strikeout, and Stephen Vogt’s peg nailed Jose Iglesias to end the inning.
Pirates 7, @Cardinals 1 — Put that in your RISP pipe, Cardinals — and look out, Tyler Chatwood! Counting today’s go-ahead RBI — the first such by a Bucs postseason pitcher — Gerrit Cole is 4 for 9 with runners in scoring position, 6 RBI. With a 6-1 lead after 6 innings (thanks, Pedro), Cole was lifted at just 86 pitches, perhaps with an eye to a potential Game 5 on Wednesday.
Bartolo Colon allowed just 10 first-inning runs in 30 starts this year — but a 1.40 WHIP.