Greetings, Heaters! CK reporting for duty once again!
As both Championship Series get closer to their conclusion, I thought it would be a cool idea to sit down and work through exactly what’s happened so far in each series. There’s been a LOT happening during these games, and having a chance to break them down will allow everyone to enjoy the remaining games more as we build up to the World Series.
Game 5 of the series was last night, with the Astros blowing the doors off of the Sox, winning 9-1 to take a 3-2 series lead. Game 6 won’t be until Friday night, so, what have we seen so far?
Framber Valdez is as resilient as they come
Only 5 days after lasting only 2.2 innings in Game 1 against Boston, the Astros lefty came back out last night, and was absolutely filthy, tossing an astonishing 8 innings of 1 run, 3 hit ball to help carry Houston to a victory. This guy is going to be a star for years to come.
Holy cow, the Red Sox are inconsistent
Boston posted 9 runs in Game 2, and 12 in Game 3, only to score 3 total in games 4 and 5. 19 men left on base in game 4 was an issue in itself; the situational hitting has to deliver for Boston to have a chance to win this series. Game 5, however, was terrible, with Boston only managing 3 total hits. Even if the Red Sox can pull out a victory in this series, the inconsistency leads to questions about the team’s ability to win it all.
Nathan Eovaldi is under serious pressure on Friday
Eovaldi’s postseason ERA is 10.50, mostly because of a disastrous relief appearance in Game 4, giving up 4 earned runs in .2 innings pitched (24 total pitches). A successful Game 2 start (3 earned runs in 5.1 innings, with a W) gives some confidence that he can do well in Game 6, but if Eovaldi does not shake off his poor relief appearance, the amazing Astros lineup will make him pay. Any chance of Boston fighting back relies on Eovaldi’s shoulders.
Let’s move over to the National League, where the Braves have shockingly taken a 3-1 series lead over the Dodgers. There are many observations that one can make after 4 games, and with the fifth game tonight, Atlanta can win the series and the pennant in a flash.
Atlanta needs to play with incredible urgency to close this series out
Let’s see. “Braves move to 3-1 lead on Dodgers in NLCS, can close the series out tomorrow.” Yeah, we saw this exact headline last October, when the Braves gained a similar lead, only to blow it in true Atlanta fashion. In order to avoid this happening again, the Braves have to strike fast—especially against a Dodgers team likely throwing another bullpen game tonight. Atlanta beat the Game 1 stable of relievers 3-2, and if they are able to keep the intensity up, they can be sure they can shut the door on this series without having to go back to Atlanta.
Dave Roberts is a bad manager
Starting a bullpen game in Game 1 with Walker Buehler ready to pitch, leaving him instead for Game 3 where he got destroyed? Letting Julio Urías blow Game 2, and then sending him out to start Game 4 and get shelled? Putting Gavin Lux in center field and Cody Bellinger at first base? What the hell is going on? If Roberts doesn’t get it together, the Dodgers’ ship is going to sink fast. Another bullpen game is likely today, and if he makes the wrong moves, Roberts will send LA home.
Trea Turner…what happened?
As much as I hate the Braves, I also acknowledge as a Nationals fan that the Dodgers being eliminated means that we easily won the Scherzer/Turner trade. Turner in particular has a .333 OPS this series, and a .409 for the entire postseason, with only 8 hits and 1 RBI in 44 at bats. Trea has turned into a guaranteed out in the Dodgers lineup, and the Braves’ thin pitching staff has taken advantage, especially with all the other heavy hitters in the LA lineup. Turner has to figure it out, and help a Dodgers lineup in need of serious situational hitting to climb out of this hole.
Will the Red Sox or Dodgers come back? Will Kyle Schwarber hit another moonshot? Are the Astros really going to make us all suffer again? When will Dave Roberts finally be good at his job?
Find out all of this and more over the weekend. See y’all next week!