Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dodgers’ and Tigers' bats come alive

Both sides of the League Championship Series have been dominated by incredible pitching performances. This is not uncommon for playoff series and as the clichĂ© goes, good pitching beats good hitting in the postseason. Leading up to yesterday’s Game 5 in Los Angeles and Game 4 in Detroit, the Dodgers and Tigers were aching for some runs.

National League Championship Series - Game 5
St. Louis Cardinals (4) at Los Angeles Dodgers (6)
Cardinals lead series 3-2

In Los Angeles, the Dodgers staved off elimination with a 6-4 victory, displaying a power outburst not yet seen in the NLCS. The Dodgers rocked four Hollywood style home runs, including two from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who added a single and scored three times. Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis hit the other bombs for L.A.

The Dodgers also received another fine pitching performance, as Zack Greinke scattered six hits across seven innings of two-run ball. The game got interesting in the ninth as Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up two runs on four hits and allowed the go-ahead run to get up to the plate. He settled down and struck out pinch-hitter Adron Chambers to end the game, sending the series back to St. Louis.

Notes:

  • Joe Kelly took the loss – 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 K
  • Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday are showing signs of coming around with the bat
  • David Freese (.118) and Carlos Beltran (.176) are struggling at the plate in the series
  • Gonzalez now has four extra base hits in the NLCS
  • Dodger starters have allowed five runs (four earned) across 28 innings

Friday’s Game 6 Probables
Los Angeles – Clayton Kershaw
St. Louis – Michael Wacha

American League Championship Series - Game 4
Boston Red Sox (3) at Detroit Tigers (7)
Series tied 2-2

Detroit manager Jim Leyland sensed there needed to be some sort of change and did it with a completely new lineup card. He moved Austin Jackson from the leadoff spot to eighth and shifted the rest of his hitters up a spot. It is not unheard of to move a guy who is slumping and Jackson fit the bill, hitting .091 for the postseason entering the game. But, Leyland didn’t just swap Jackson, everyone found themselves in unfamiliar territory.

It worked.

The Tigers erupted for five runs in the second inning off Red Sox starter Jake Peavy en route to a 7-3 win. Even better for the Tigers, Jackson was on base four times with two walks and two singles. He added two RBIs and his first stolen base of the series. Miguel Cabrera, who took over the #2 spot, had two hits and two RBIs.

The Tigers win ensured this series would go back to Boston, and yes Leyland will trot out the same lineup card to the umps for Game 5. Why not?

Notes:

  • Victor Martinez is hitting .400 for the ALCS
  • Doug Fister was the winning pitcher – 6 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K
  • Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit allowed his second run of the series and has a 6.35 ERA in the postseason
  • Jacoby Ellsbury laced four hits including a double and triple
  • David Ortiz is 1-for-15 in the series, though the one hit was the massive grand slam in Game 2
  • The Red Sox are hitting a combined .186 in the ALCS

Tonight’s Game 5 Probables
Boston – Jon Lester
Detroit – Anibal Sanchez

Logos courtesy of sportslogos.net

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