MLB POSTSEASON IS UNDERWAY
The Tampa Bay Rays, working with the lowest payroll in Major League Baseball, defeated the Oakland A’s in a one game playoff for the Wild Card spot and will go on to meet the American League leading Houston Astros down in Texas for a five game series that will determine which team will go on to play the winner of the Yankees & Twins series, which is predicted to be a battle royal.
The winner of the Rays-Astros game will face the winner of the Yankees-Twins game in a seven game series for the American League Pennant. The winner there will play another seven game series with the National League Pennant winners in the 2019 World Series, the pinnacle of baseball action each year for both players and fans alike around the world.
The Rays pounded Oakland with four home runs, two by Cuban slugger Yandy Diaz, to eliminate the Athletics from postseason competition and move on the meet the mighty Astros in search of postseason glory. Tampa Bay Southpaw Charlie Morton pitched 5 shutout innings to start the game and the rest was done by the Tampa Bay offense.
Ring Central Coliseum, the home of the Oakland franchise, was its usual boisterous self when the Rays came to town with a capacity crowd twirling their yellow towel all evening, but to no avail. Veteran Rays pitcher Charlie Morton commented after the game, “I really feed off the energy of this situation. I think that it helped us. It helped us to come in here and be in a high pressure situation. The stadium was pretty rowdy, but I think that helped us focus”.
Tampa Bay infielder Mike Brosseau, who went to college in Oakland, started at second base as usual. However, during the course of the game, Brosseau would also play some third base for awhile then be moved over to first to cover the hot corner marking the first time in major league history that a player has played three different positions in post season play. Such is life when you play for the team with the lowest payroll in the majors.
The night before saw the Milwaukee Brewers go down to Washington D.C. to take on the Nationals and lead the game 3-1 all the way up until Juan Soto came to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning. Max Scherzer gave up the 3 earned runs with 6 strikeouts before being pulled after 5 innings.
After grinding it out for 8 innings with some of the most talented and best known baseball players on the planet, it was 20 year old Dominican outfielder Juan Soto, who had never even been to a post season game, who came up with the knock that landed in right field and was miss-played by rookie outfielder Trent Grisham which resulted in clearing the bases, which were full, and scoring 4 runs before Soto was tagged out at second giving the Nationals a 4-3 lead which is how the game ended a short time later.
So now the Nationals get to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have home field advantage and boast one of the best rosters in all of MLB. The Dodgers have both veteran and young talent in the dugout along with one of the deepest lineups in baseball managed by Dave Roberts, who won the NL Manager of the Year in 2016 and is one of the best managers in all of baseball. They will make formidable opponents throughout the playoffs regardless of whom they face.
The National and American League Championship Series will begin on October 11th and go for the best of seven games, meaning the series might go the full seven games, or, it could be over in as few as four. Which teams will actually make it to the NL & AL Pennant races and then move on to see World Series action is yet unknown but the subject of endless speculation in the press and online.
However it works out, the real winners will be the Major League Baseball fans in the USA and around the world to whom October baseball represents a very best time to be had in sports all year round.