Wild! Yankees & D-backs advance
This year's wild card games lived up to their name, in ultra-high-pressure conditions. In New Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, the Minnesota Twins scored three times in the top of the first inning, and everybody started thinking upset. But the Yankees did the same in the bottom of the inning, and later took the lead while the Twins could only get one more run. Final score: Yanks 8, Twins 4.
In Chase Field on the next day, the Diamondbacks' star Paul Goldschmidt hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and after three innings his team had a 6-0 lead against the Rockies. The outcome seemed like a foregone conclusion, but the Rockies scored four times in the fourth to make it a real game. Both teams scored multiple runs in the latter innings in what ended up as a slugfest, but the lead did not change. D-Backs 11, Rockies 8.
Divisional series begin
Yesterday (Thursday), the Cleveland Indians shut down the visiting Yankees, as Trevor Bauer had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. His team was already ahead 4-0 by then, thanks in large measure to a two-run homer and a sac fly RBI by Jay Bruce, and neither team scored after that.
In Houston later that evening, Jose Altuve led the Astros to a lopsided win over the Red Sox, with three (3) home runs! I read that it was the ninth time a player has homered that many times in a postseason game, but chances are that he (standing 5' 6" tall) is the shortest of all of them! Former Tiger Justin Verlander got the win for his new team, going six innings. Final score: 8-2.
This afternoon it was a different pitcher on the mound (Dallas Keuchel), but the same result. Astros 8, Red Sox 2. As the series returns to Boston, the Red Sox are in dire straits. But they have come back to win postseason series before (e.g., 2004), and as we know, anything can happen in the postseason.
[In the late-afternoon / early evening ALDS game, the Yankees forced the Indians' ace pitcher Corey Kluber out of the game before he finished three innings. It was a devastating blow, and the Yanks had an 8-3 lead before the Indians began a big comeback thanks to a grand slam by Francisco Lindor. In the bottom of the ninth, it's 8-8.]
And this evening the Nationals welcomed the World Champion Chicago Cubs to Our Nation's Capital for the NLDS, and thus far (fourth inning) the game is tied, 0-0. Stephen Strasburg has already tied a franchise record by striking out seven opponents in a postseason game. I'm pretty confident that the Nats will prevail in this series, and I think they have at least a 50-50 chance to beat the Dodgers (presumable opponents) in the NLCS.
Later this evening, the Dodgers welcome the D-Backs to Los Angeles. Anything can happen...
In a way, the Nationals' lackluster finale was par for the course this year: Even though they have played very well, they never sustain winning streaks for very long (seven is their maximum this year), and likewise for losing streaks (maximum of four). Both as a team, and individually, they seem to be "consistently inconsistent." I tabulated their series records and their home stand and road trip records for the 2017 season, and as you see, they prevailed consistenly even though they occasionally slipped up badly. Nobody's perfect!
|Series end date||Home stands||Road trips|
|Opponents||Win - Loss||Opponents||Win - Loss|
|Apr 6, 2017||MIA||2 - 1|
|Apr 9, 2017||PHI||1 - 2|
|Apr 16, 2017||STL, PHI||4 - 2|
|Apr 27, 2017||ATL, NYM, COL||9 - 1|
|May 4, 2017||NYM, ARI||3 - 3|
|May 7, 2017||PHI, BAL||2 - 3|
|May 14, 2017||BAL, PHI||3 - 1|
|May 21, 2017||PIT, ATL||2 - 4|
|May 28, 2017||SEA, SD||4 - 2|
|Jun 7, 2017||SF, OAK, LAD||7 - 2|
|Jun 14, 2017||BAL*, TEX, ATL||3 - 4|
|Jun 21, 2017||NYM, MIA||4 - 3|
|Jun 29, 2017||CIN, CHC||4 - 3|
|Jul 2, 2017||STL||1 - 2|
|Jul 9, 2017||NYM, ATL||4 - 2|
|Jul 23, 2017||CIN, LAA, ARI||7 - 2|
|Jul 30, 2017||MIL, COL||3 - 3|
|Aug 6, 2017||MIA, CHC||3 - 3|
|Aug 16, 2017||MIA, SF, LAA||6 - 3|
|Aug 24, 2017||SD, HOU||5 - 2|
|Aug 30, 2017||NYM, MIA||5 - 2|
|Sep 6, 2017||MIL, MIA||4 - 3|
|Sep 17, 2017||PHI, ATL, LAD||5 - 5|
|Sep 27, 2017||ATL, NYM, PHI||5 - 4|
|Oct 1, 2017||PIT||2 - 2|
|TOTALS||HOME STANDS||8 - 1 - 4||ROAD TRIPS||7 - 4 - 1|
RFK Stadium mini-update
Based on my inspection of RFK Stadium on Saturday, I made several small changes to the diagrams for RFK Stadium, former home of the Washington Nationals and Redskins. It mostly involves details that are visible only in the lower-deck and upper-deck diagrams. I wanted to get that done before the Cubs-Nats game started, and since it is already underway, I will leave an explanation of these changes until later. [NOTE: To let people know what exactly changed, I left the old (2013) football lower-deck diagram intact for the time being.] Several dazzling new photos taken during my visit there will be posted on that page soon, such as this one: