Chase Utley took out Ruben Tejada with a hard slide Saturday night in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. That slide allowed the tying run to score and the Dodgers went on to win the game to even the best-of-five at a game apiece. It also fractured Tejada’s right fibula.
You can probably imagine how both teams are feeling about this whole thing …
It’s a travel day for the teams in the National League Division Series, so the American League again takes center stage. And there could be one ticket punched to the ALCS by the end of the night.
The Game: Kansas City Royals vs. Houston Astros
The Time: 4:10 p.m. ET
The Place: Minute Maid Park
The Channel: MLB Network
The Starters: Edinson Volquez vs. Dallas Keuchel
The Upshot: It’s a good thing the Royals managed that comeback win on Friday night in Kansas City because they’ve got a beast to tangle with as this best-of-five series moves to Houston for Game 3. Keuchel struck out seven batters and yielded just three hits over six scoreless innings in last week’s American League Wild Card Game victory at Yankee Stadium. He threw only 87 pitches in that outing, so his arm should feel great heading into this one. Colby Rasmus has home runs in each of the Astros’ first three postseason games. The impending free agent outfielder will try to make it loud in the first playoff action at Minute Maid Park since the 2005 World Series.
The Game: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers
The Time: 8:10 p.m. ET
The Place: Globe Life Park
The Channel: FOX Sports 1
The Starters: Marco Estrada vs. Martin Perez
The Upshot: Texas wasn’t getting much love heading into this best-of-five, but postseason baseball rarely follows the script. After two big wins at Rogers Centre, the underdog Rangers are at home and one victory away from the American League Championship Series. Toronto will be hoping for a barrage from its power-packed lineup. Edwin Encarnacion went 0-for-5 in Saturday’s 14-inning game. Troy Tulowitzki, who has acknowledged he’s not 100 percent recovered from a fractured scapula, is 0-for-10 with four strikeouts.
Cubs vs. Cardinals. The rivalry is alive.
Jake Arrieta did his Jake Arrieta thing in Wednesday night’s National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park, striking out 11 batters over nine shutout innings as the Cubs beat the Pirates 4-0 to advance to the Division Series. Arrieta gave up only four hits — all singles — and did not issue a walk. It was a masterful outing from the 2015 National League Cy Young Award candidate.
Kyle Schwarber hit an RBI single in the top of the first inning and a two-run bomb into the Allegheny River in the top of the fourth. Dexter Fowler was also a big offensive contributor for the visiting Cubs, scoring on both of Schwarber’s big hits and adding a homer of his own in the top of the fifth.
Things got heated in the seventh when Pirates reliever Tony Watson plunked Arrieta with a pitch that appeared to be aimed at his left hip. The benches and bullpens cleared and Pirates utilityman Sean Rodriguez tried to throw a punch at Cubs backup catcher David Ross. That’s the frustration that comes with playing in three of these do-or-die games in three years.
A blacked-out PNC Park crowd was rocking early on and the Pirates did have a shot to break through in the bottom of the sixth, but the Cubs turned a slick doubleplay to get out of that threat.
So it’ll be Cubs vs. Cardinals on Friday night at Busch Stadium in Game 1 of the NLDS.
The first time these two rivals have ever met in the playoffs. Oh boy.
Frustration is boiling over for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have played in three straight do-or-die National League Wild Card Games and look poised to drop this one to the visiting Chicago Cubs.
Jake Arrieta entered his at-bat in the top of the seventh inning having whiffed eight Pittsburgh batters over six scoreless innings. With two outs and nobody on, Pirates reliever Tony Watson struck Arrieta in the backside with a pitch that looked intentionally located.
Both benches cleared, and it was Pirates utilityman Sean Rodriguez who served as the most physical aggressor. He tried to throw a punch at Cubs backup catcher David Ross at one point, and grazed Kyle Schwarber on the miss. Here’s the video, though it doesn’t include the Rodriguez punch (er, attempted punch) …
Chicago is leading 4-0 in Pittsburgh in the top of the eighth inning.
Kyle Schwarber put the Cubs on the board in the top of the first inning of Tuesday night’s National League Wild Card Game with an RBI double to left field that easily scored Dexter Fowler from second base.
Fowler then singled off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole with one out in the top of the third and Schwarber promptly sent a ball into the Allegheny River that runs along the right field edge of PNC Park …
Chicago leads 3-0 after four innings and Jake Arrieta is absolutely cruising.