Following a day of the postseason that was riddled with injury and surprise, day two involved all eight teams playing in the division series. In the American League, the Rangers took another game for a 2-0 lead against the Blue Jays.
For the Astros and Royals, Kansas City edged Houston 5-4. That series is now tied at one. Over in the National League, the Cubs and Cardinals faced off and St. Louis continued their regular season dominance with a 4-0 win behind starter John Lackey to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Over in Los Angeles, the Mets surprised many by winning 3-1 against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. The Mets now have a 1-0 lead in the division series.
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In the first game of the ALDS for the Rangers and Blue Jays, injuries highlighted the game. This game went 14 innings, but in the end the Rangers took a 6-4 lead to take both games in Toronto. Rangers starter Cole Hamels delivered a solid start and the Rangers bullpen delivered seven scoreless innings.
In the end, the Rangers were able to get ahead of the Rangers through four straight singles that ended up scoring two runs. Rougned Odor, who hit a home run in yesterday's game, started with a single to the left side of the infield.
Due to a defensive shift in place the third baseman's throw to first was late. The Blue Jays had some injury scares in game one, but in game two it turned out to be worse as Brett Cecil had a season- ending injury, a torn calf muscle. It wasn't all bad news for the Blue Jays as Marcus Stroman pitched well.
After three early runs from the Rangers, he sailed through the next 14 batters. The next game of the series will be in Arlington with Martin Perez pitching for the Rangers and Marco Estrada for the Blue Jays. If the Blue Jays want to keep the series going and bring back the series to Toronto, they must win the next two games in Texas.
Going into Friday night's game against the Astros, the Royals needed a win to even the series and go to Houston with momentum. With their 5-4 win at home, they became the first team to win at home this postseason.
Ben Zobrist smacked a single in the seventh inning that marked the go-ahead the run that went on to decide the game for Kansas City. Along with the offense, the bullpen in the form of Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson, and Wade Davis provided three scoreless, vital innings of relief to help the Royals seal the win. Speaking after the game, Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain said,
"To me, this was a must win, and we found a way to get it done.
The "must win" mentality must have been in the heads of the bullpen as well as their scoreless innings garnered respect from Houston manager A.J. Hinch,
"We were in position early to win that game, they did a good job of getting to us in the sixth and seventh. Their bullpen did a very good job of shutting us down."
For the Astros, they saw a bright spot in Colby Rasmus who hit an RBI double and a home run. He is the first player to ever have an extra- base hit in each of his first postseason games. Going into the first game in Houston, the Astros have a strong pitcher in Dallas Keuchel who went 15-0 at Minute Maid Park in the regular season. The Royals send Edinson Volquez to face the Astros in game three.
For the Cubs and Cardinals, this division series has extra tension, the two being rivals from the National League Central. While it is the first time the two rivals have met in the postseason, Cardinals starter John Lackey is no rookie when it comes to postseason play.
Behind his experienced arm, the Cardinals went on to take game one of the series 4-0. While one loss might not mean too much to the average baseball fan, this game alone could have marked the end for the Cubs.
The Cardinals boast an 8-0 record in the NLDS when they win the first the game and in all the postseason games the Cubs have played when they lose the first, they are 0-11. Regardless of what the statistics, the Cubs are not going to go down without a fight as Cub Chris Coghlan said,
"I hate [saying] 'must win,' because I think they're all must win, especially this late in the year, ff we can win one out of two here the whole time, I think that's a victory. [Saturday], if we come out and do our thing, I feel if we execute and play our game, we'll come out on top."
For Lackey, this marked one of his best postseason starts. He held the Cubs hitless through five innings in what went on to become the longest start he has ever made in a postseason at 7 2/3 innings. On the other side, Jon Lester was hurt early as a Stephen Piscotty double led to a run on a Matt Holliday single in the later inning.
In the end, it was rookies who hurt the Cubs the most as Tommy Pham and Piscotty both hit home runs to give the Cardinals a comfortable 4-0 lead. It was quiet for the Cubs, they made some noise in the ninth inning with two base runners, but Trevor Rosenthal struck out Kris Bryant to end the game.
Game two on Saturday will see Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs start against Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals in what will be a crucial game, especially for Chicago.
Mets fans celebrated like it was 2006 on Friday night. Their Mets had just beaten the Dodgers and ace Clayton Kershaw 3-1 for their first postseason win since 2006. In a game that came down to a pitcher's duel between Kershaw and Mets' sensation Jacob deGrom, the latter was able to edge out the veteran.
For Kershaw, this was a continuation of postseason woes as this marked his fifth straight postseason loss. In all fairness, Kershaw, along with deGrom, pitched an excellent game. For the Mets, it came down to key hits from Daniel Murphy and David Wright.
Murphy blasted home run against Kershaw to give the Mets a 1-0 lead and Wright padded it with a bases-loaded single in the seventh. Kershaw and deGrom were in a true pitcher's duel as they made MLB history. This was the first game where both starting pitchers recorded 11 strikeouts in a postseason game.
To add to deGrom's list of accomplishments, he became the first Met since 1973 to record 13 strikeouts in a postseason game. deGrom heard praise from both sides as manager Terry Collins said,
"This is a good start for a team that hasn't been in the postseason for a long time, we needed a confidence boost and Jake gave it to us."
Kershaw recognized the game the young pitcher had as well,
"I got outpitched, basically that's the moral of the story, Jacob pitched an amazing game. We battled him, got his pitch count up there, but he out-pitched me, plain and simple."
Adding to the Dodgers who recognized deGrom was catcher A.J. Ellis who called deGrom "phenomenal."
As Kershaw mentioned, the Dodgers battled deGrom. deGrom's night ended at 121 pitches and the Dodgers were able to get hits and gave the Met a run for his money, but deGrom rose up in tough situations as well. Going into game two, it will be another pitcher's duel as Dodgers strongman Zack Greinke takes the mound against another young Mets pitcher, Noah Syndergaard.
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