Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon went 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBI in a 6-2 defeat of the Blue Jays on Saturday evening in Tampa Bay.
A few hours earlier, up north at Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Bombers put a 9-1 hurting on a Red Sox team that has now played 5-17 ball in September.
As noted by ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes, the 1962 Mets lost a whopping 120 games and still went 6-18 over the final month of the regular season.
The Rays are now just 1.5 games back in the American League Wild Card standings with four contests to play. It’s a race that will go down to the wire.
Your Saturday box scores:
Red Sox 1, Yankees 9
Blue Jays 2, Rays 6
Twins 2, Indians 8 (Game 1)
Braves 1, Nationals 4
Cubs 1, Cardinals 2
Mariners 3, Rangers 7
Phillies 1, Mets 2 (Game 1)
Orioles 6, Tigers 5
Twins 6, Indians 7 (Game 2)
Reds 3, Pirates 4
Royals 3, White Sox 6
Blue Jays 2, Rays 6
Marlins 4, Brewers 6
Phillies 3, Mets 6 (Game 2)
Rockies 4, Astros 2 (13 innings)
Athletics 1, Angels 4
Giants 2, Diamondbacks 15
Dodgers 0, Padres 3
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.