Playoff Reset: ALCS Game 6


Feelin’ pretty smart. Earlier this week I made some big investments over at the New York Word Exchange that are paying off pretty well right now. I dropped $100 on the word “commanding” just before NLCS Game 3 and ALCS Game 4, and that skyrocketed. Then, just as the Blue Jays were putting up those runs on Wednesday, I went big in “pivotal” and “crucial” in time for Game 6. I don’t get rich with this stuff, but I realize good enough returns to cover Christmas shopping and then put the rest in an IRA. Investing is about the future.

Now, on to crucial, pivotal Game 6:

The Game: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals
The Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
The Place: Kauffman Stadium
The Channel: FS1
The StartersDavid Price vs. Yordano Ventura
The Upshot: When I saw David Price warming up in the bullpen during Game 5 on Wednesday despite a big Blue Jays lead, I was put in mind of Price’s largely unnecessary relief appearance in the ALDS and wondered what in the heck he had done to tick off John Gibbons. Thankfully he didn’t come into the game and the Jays now have what they traded a nice couple of prospects for: one of the game’s best pitchers on the mound for them in a game they have to win. I don’t put too much stock in “statement games” and storylines and such — baseball is basically randomness set to organ music — but you have to figure that Price is motivated to go eight or nine innings and strike out a gabillion guys simply to show his manager that he’s not a $19.75M swingman. And motivation isn’t totally meaningless.

For Kansas City it’s Yordano Ventura, who faced Price in Game 2. There he left thinking he was going to take the loss only to watch his teammates rally big against Price in the seventh inning. That was pretty great, but it hid the fact that he was sorta “meh” in that game, allowing three runs and eight hits in five and a third. That may be good enough given how many runs both of these teams are scoring, but like I said, my superstitious, magical realism side tells me that Price is gonna come up big tonight and that Ventura needs to be sharp to match him.

Finally, a word about Game 6s. They don’t get the press and the glory of Game 7s, but they’ve always been more interesting to me. I think it’s more of a late-80s NBA thing in my case. I’m too lazy to go back and look, but it at least seemed to me that every series featured some team going up 3-2, losing Game 6 and then totally getting crushed in Game 7, as if they left their souls on the court the day before. I can’t be the only one who felt this way because fan talk seems to be in strong favor of the notion that the team which wins Game 6 has some huge psychological advantage for Game 7, etc. etc. I don’t guess the numbers bear that out, but that’s the vibe.

Which is to say that, despite the fact that the Royals could lose tonight and still go to the World Series with a win tomorrow, they probably should win tonight if they wish their season to continue. I’m already out on some sort of “statement game”-gut instinct limb here with David Price, so there must be powerful forces at work if I’m likewise putting stock in that “crucial and pivotal Game 6” rebop.

Quick, someone open up that first aid kit and apply a copy of “How We Know What Isn’t So” directly to my wounds.

MLB homer leader Pete Alonso to IL with bone bruise, sprain in wrist

pete alonso
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH — The New York Mets will have to dig out of an early-season hole without star first baseman Pete Alonso.

The leading home run hitter in the majors will miss three-to-four weeks with a bone bruise and a sprain in his left wrist.

The Mets placed Alonso on the 10-day injured list Friday, retroactive to June 8. Alonso was hit in the wrist by a 96 mph fastball from Charlie Morton in the first inning of a 7-5 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.

Alonso traveled to New York for testing on Thursday. X-rays revealed no broken bones, but the Mets will be missing one of the premier power hitters in the game as they try to work their way back into contention in the NL East.

“We got better news than it could have been,” New York manager Buck Showalter said. “So we take that as a positive. It could have been worse.”

New York had lost six straight heading into a three-game series at Pittsburgh that began Friday. Mark Canha started at first for the Mets in the opener. Mark Vientos could also be an option, though Showalter said the coaching staff may have to use its “imagination” in thinking of ways to get by without Alonso.

“I’m not going to say someone has to step up and all that stuff,” Showalter said. “You’ve just got to be who you are.”

Even with Alonso in the lineup, the Mets have struggled to score consistently. New York is 16th in the majors in runs scored.

The team also said Friday that reliever Edwin Uceta had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Uceta initially went on the IL in April with what the team called a sprained left ankle. He is expected to be out for at least an additional eight weeks.

New York recalled infielder Luis Guillorme and left-handed reliever Zach Muckenhirn from Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets sent catcher Tomás Nido to Triple-A and designated reliever Stephen Nogosek for assignment.

Nogosek is 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 13 games this season.