Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sports: MLB Postseason (Championship Series)

The final four teams in Major League baseball have survived an exciting first round to move on to the league championship series. These series will feature the strongest pitching rotations and impressive offenses that will make for amazing games ahead. The team with the better record will get home field advantage for the first two game and then there will be three games at the home field of the team with the lower record. The advantage of playing at home doesn't have as great an impact in baseball but it can tip the momentum in favor. The American League goes first and then games will be played on the same day. Only a week or so until the World Series and I'm excited about the continuation of postseason baseball.

American League Championship Series
I'm still getting used to the Houston Astros playing in the American League but they have proven they are the most dominant team in the American League. The New York Yankees are a young, scrappy team with power hitters and solid starting pitchers to generate the same enthusiasm this classic team has had in years where they dominated the postseason. I am rooting for the Houston Astros as the win would not only change the trajectory of a team that hasn't had success in some time but also a city that has been ravaged by an awful hurricane.

New York Yankees vs Houston Astros
Game 1
A pitching duel started the ALCS with Dallas Keuchel for Houston and Masahiro Tanaka for New York. Houston moved out in front in the fourth inning with RBI singles from Carlos Correa (SS) and Yuli Gurriel (1B) to put them up 2-0. Ken Giles got the save but he did let up a home run to Greg Bird so the final score was 2-1. The Houston Astros win the first game of the series over the Yankees. 
Game 2
Another pitching duel makes the second game another low scoring affair. Luis Severino of the Yankees faced Justin Verlander of the Astros. Verlander pitched a complete game. The Astros took the lead in the fourth as Carlos Correa homered to make it 1-0. A ground-rule double by Todd Frazier (3B) gave the Yankees their only run and tied it 1-1. Correa doubled in the ninth of Aroldis Chapman to knock in a run. The Houston Astros won Game 2 over the New York Yankees 2-1 to go up two games to none. 
Game 3
The series heads to New York and the Yankees have the advantage. They started out with a three-run home run from Todd Frazier in the 2nd inning go up 3-0. Chase Headley (DH) drove in a run in the 3rd, Frazier scored on a wild pitch, and Aaron Judge (RF) broke his slump with a three-run home run to make it 8-0. The Astros only added one run from a walk in the ninth. The New York Yankees won 8-1 but are still behind the Houston Astros 2-1 in the series.
Game 4
The Houston Astros jumped out ahead in the 6th inning after a pitching battle between Houston's Lance McCullers Jr. and New York's Sonny Gray when Yuli Gurriel doubled in three runs but was thrown out to lead 3-0.  The Astros added another run in the seventh to go up 4-0. Aaron Judge homered and Gary Sanchez flied out for a run to make it 4-2. In the 8th, Brett Gardner grounded out but knocked in a run, Judge doubled in a run and Sanchez doubled in two more. The New York Yankees tied the series at two games winning 6-4.
Game 5
After winning two games in a row, the Yankees struck first with an RBI single from Greg Bird to take a 1-0 lead in the 2nd. Judge doubled in a run in the 3rd to make it 2-0. Gary Sánchez and Didi Gregorious singled in runs in the 5th to make it 4-0. Sánchez homered for another run in the 7th so the Yankees won 5-0. The New York Yankees shutout the Astros at home to take a 3-2 series.
Game 6
After being swept in New York, the Astros scored in the 5th on a ground rule double from Brian McCann and a single from Jose Altuve to make 3-0. Justin Verlander kept the Yankees off the scoreboard for seven innings. In the 8th, Aaron Judge homered for the Yankees to make it 3-1. The Astros closed out the game strong with a home run from Altuve, a double by Alex Bregman, and a sac-fly from Evan Gattis to win 7-1. The Houston Astros tied the series at 3-3.
Game 7
In the final game of the series, the Astros took the lead in the 4th with a home run from Evan Gattis to make it 1-0. The Astros added three more runs in the 5th on an Altuve home run and a Brian McCann double to make it 4-0. The Houston Astros advance to the World Series.

National League Championship Series
The Los Angeles Dodgers swept their series while the Chicago Cubs won by one run in game five. The Dodgers come in with a well-rested team but the Cubs have experience with a recent World Series win under their belt just last year. This game is a rematch of last year's NLCS, which took six games for the result of Chicago winning. I think the Cubs can put their tough NLDS behind them but the Dodgers have a strong team that had the best record in the entire league. The Dodgers did have a worrying streak of losses but I'm still picking them to win the series.

Chicago Cubs vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Game 1
The streaming service for TBS is lacking so I was not able to watch as much of this game as I wanted. The Chicago Cubs pulled out in front first with a fourth-inning two-run home run from Albert Almora Jr. (CF) to lead 2-0. The Dodgers rallied in the fifth with a Yasiel Puig (RF) double and a sac-fly from Charlie Culberson (SS) tied it 2-2. Chris Taylor (CF) homered for Los Angeles in the 6th to put the Dodgers up 3-2. Another rally in the 7th with a Puig home run and a Justin Turner (3B) RBI single gave the Dodgers a 5-2 lead. The Los Angeles Dodgers win the first game of the ALCS.
Game 2
Addison Russell (SS) broke the scoreless run of the Dodger's pitcher Rich Hill with a solo home run in the fifth inning to lead 1-0. The Dodgers responded in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single from Justin Turner to tie it 1-1. The game remained tied until the bottom of the ninth with John Lackey pitching, Turner hit a walk-off three-run home run to win 4-1. The Los Angeles Dodgers lead the series 2-0.
Game 3
Back in Chicago, the Cubs took an early 1st inning 1-0 lead off a Kyle Schwarber (LF) home run. The Dodgers tied it in the second off an Andre Ethier (RF) home run. Chris Taylor's home run in the 3rd put LA up 2-1. Taylor tripled in another run in the 5th to make it 3-1. A walk put the Dodgers up 4-1 in the 6th. The Dodgers added to their lead in the 8th on a passed ball and sac-fly to go up 6-1. The Los Angeles Dodgers are one win away from heading to the World Series with a 3-0 lead.
Game 4
At home but fighting to avoid a sweep, the Chicago Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd with two solo home runs from Wilson Contreras (C) and Javier Baez (2B) to make the score 2-0. The next inning the Dodgers halved the lead with a home run from Cody Bellinger (1B) to make it 2-1. Baez hit another home run in the 5th to add insurance for the Cubs at 3-1. A comeback attempt in the 8th had Justin Turner hit a solo home run but the Dodgers were still down 3-2. The Chicago Cubs stayed alive in the NLCS but still trail in the series 3-1.
Game 5
Hoping to close out the NLCS, the Dodgers struck first with a double from Cody Bellinger to put them up 1-0 in the 1st. They added another run in the 2nd from a home run by Enrique Hernández (CF) 2-0. The third inning broke the game open and pushed the Cubs to the end of their season as the Dodgers got one run from Just Turner's single and four runs on a grand slam by Hernández to lead 7-0. Los Angeles did let up adding two more runs in the fourth for a 9-0 lead with a double from Logan Forsythe. Kris Bryant got the only Cubs run with a home run in the 4th so it was 9-1. Hernández added icing with a two-run home run in the 9th to win the game 11-1. The Los Angeles Dodgers advance to the World Series with a 4-1 series win. 

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