Let’s take a trip around the blogosphere:
Baseball Prospectus: “Maybe Joe Girardi does overmanage. Maybe Alex Rodriguez really is a
choker Centaur. Maybe the new Stadium doesn’t have ghosts. What they all have now is a new championship banner and a set of rings on the way. Whether this was for George (as Selig said) or for their fans, #27 was memorable.”
IIATMS: “My oldest son was born Opening Day of 2000 and my little one was born in the Spring of 2003. They’re at the prime age to remember this title and this team. Guys like Jeter and Mo and Teix and CC will be like my Reggie and Gator and Goose and Thurman and like my Dad’s Mickey and Whitey and Hank and Billy. It’s a generational thing.”
Fack Youk: “I’m not a superstitious man, but I do believe that sometimes life taps you on the shoulder as it tries to get your attention . . . the same optimism I’ve felt the past two days knowing my favorite and most-trusted starting pitcher from my years as a fan was taking the mound tonight, turned to a cool confidence. Stupid, I know. The very idea of which is something I’ll surely scoff at in the years to come. But at that moment, short of the Almighty Himself offering me a glimpse to the future, I don’t think there’s anything that could have assured me of the future more than that.”
River Avenue Blues: “My father said many times that A-Rod would never win a title with the Yankees. At 4:11 EST on the morning of the Yankees’ 27th championship, I’d like to rub it in.”
The 700 Level: “The Phillies lost the World Series and it completely and totally sucks. Perhaps the only thing you can really hold against this team — a team that has taken us on such a magical run over the past two years — is the way they went out tonight.”
Crashburn Alley: “The Phillies have no reason to hang their heads, as they put together the most impressive two-year run in the franchise’s long history, and they are still primed for another run next year.”
Sliding Into Home: “First off, to all you Yankee haters out there, if the title of this post [“Back Where We Belong”] bothers you, check out this quote from The Captain: ‘It’s good to be back, this is right where it belongs.'”
Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.
Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.
Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.
It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.
After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.
The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.
Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.
The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.
Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.
Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.
After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.
According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.
The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.