MLB

Mets shut out Dodgers to keep pace with Cubs, Brewers in wildcard race

By Sports Desk September 15, 2019

The New York Mets kept pace in the National League (NL) wildcard race thanks to a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in MLB on Saturday.

The Mets and Dodgers only totalled six hits total at Citi Field, but the Mets got a big hit at an opportune time.

Rajai Davis hit a three-run double in the eighth inning to give his team the lead, helping keep the Mets' postseason hopes alive with a 3-0 victory.

Jacob deGrom's stellar pitching held the Dodgers off through seven innings of work. He notched eight strikeouts and pitched like the Cy Young winner he is.

The Mets are three games back from the NL's second wildcard spot with a 77-71 record. The Chicago Cubs hold the spot and the Milwaukee Brewers are also ahead of the Mets.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are 96-54 and have the best record in the NL. But with a win from the Astros, Los Angeles are now down one game to Houston and two games to the New York Yankees for the best record in MLB.

Marvellous Markakis

Nick Markakis went four for five with two RBIs in the Atlanta Braves' 10-1 win against the Washington Nationals.

Brett Gardner tallied two home runs and five RBIs in the Yankees' 13-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Kris Bryant went a perfect three for three and hit a home run as the Cubs took down the Pittsburgh Pirates 14-1.

 

Cruz goes hitless

Nelson Cruz was hitless in four at-bats and struck out three times in the Minnesota Twins' 2-0 victory against the Cleveland Indians.

 

Awesome Eaton

Adam Eaton somehow made a circus catch.

Saturday's results

Minnesota Twins 2-0 Cleveland Indians
Minnesota Twins 9-5 Cleveland Indians
Chicago Cubs 14-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
New York Yankees 13-3 Toronto Blue Jays
Atlanta Braves 10-1 Washington Nationals
Detroit Tigers 8-4 Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox 2-1 Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets 3-0 Los Angeles Dodgers
Houston Astros 6-1 Kansas City Royals
Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 St Louis Cardinals
Oakland Athletics 8-6 Texas Rangers
Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies 11-10 San Diego Padres
Miami Marlins 4-2 San Francisco Giants
Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 Los Angeles Angels
Seattle Mariners 2-1 Chicago White Sox

 

Brewers at Cardinals

Milwaukee are one game back from the Cubs for the NL's second wildcard spot and have split the first two games of a three-game series with the St Louis so far. If the Brewers can win the rubber game on Sunday, they have a chance to move into a tie for a playoff spot with a Cubs loss.

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    A pair of early home runs and impressive starting pitching from James Paxton helped to get the job done.

    Aaron Hicks hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning on a night where all five runs came in the team's opening frame.

    The Astros will have to defend home turf in an attempt to avoid game seven, with one win sending them to the World Series. New York must win the last two games to earn a berth in the Fall Classic.

     

    New York found quality pitching when it mattered most

    The Yankees have made it a point to utilise a host of pitchers in the ALCS, but they got a great performance from starter James Paxton and a trio of relievers in a critical game that could've ended their season. Paxton gave up four hits and one earned run in six innings of work, notching nine strikeouts. Then Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman combined to give up one hit for the remainder of the contest once Paxton was taken out.

    The Astros' five hits in the contest were their second-lowest total in the series after being held to just three in their game one loss.


    The stage wasn't too big for Aaron Hicks

    Aaron Hicks was an unlikely hero for the Yankees on Friday. Although the outfielder was initially ruled out for the season in August after suffering a flexor strain in his elbow, he returned from a two-month hiatus to face Houston and help his team with its World Series push. He blasted a three-run homer off the foul pole in the first inning and that made all the difference.

    New York scored all four of its runs in the first inning before going on a scoring drought, but it didn't matter as the Astros experienced a drought of their own. Now the Yankees will likely benefit from a bullpen game on Saturday, and there will be ample opportunity for other players to unexpectedly tee off without facing the best of Houston's starters.


    Justin Verlander continues to be plagued by home runs

    Justin Verlander gave up a career-high 36 home runs in 2019 and that trend has followed him into the post-season. Even though Hicks' home run nearly hooked right of the foul pole, DJ LeMahieu also hit a solo homer and those were the decisive moments in the game. Verlander has given up 10 runs and five home runs in his last three appearances.

    Verlander rebounded tremendously from his poor start in his seven-inning outing, tallying nine strikeouts, but the offense couldn't get flowing and now Houston faces a difficult situation. The Astros' trio of starters has been heralded as the best in MLB, but Gerrit Cole won't be ready to go on short rest in game six.

    New York has coasted on power hitting all season long and now they can take advantage of not having to face elite starters as they look to force game seven.

  • CC Sabathia removed from Yankees' ALCS roster CC Sabathia removed from Yankees' ALCS roster

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    The 39-year-old pitcher has now been removed from the Yankee's roster for the remainder of the American League Championship Series (ALCS), having suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder joint.

    Sabathia will be replaced by pitcher Ben Heller and is ineligible to return this postseason.

    The home crowd gave Sabathia a standing ovation in what has now become his final appearance at Yankee Stadium.

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    Three takeaways from the Astros' ALCS Game 4 win over the Yankees

    Yankees oddly lucky

    While this was the most runs the Yankees have allowed in a game this postseason, New York were lucky they did not give up more. And yes, it sounds odd, but when you find out the Astros had 13 balls hit 95.0 mph or higher through seven innings and only six of them were hits, that is pretty darn lucky.

    In fact, every single one of Houston's batters had a ball hit at 95.0 mph or better. The Astros may not have scored that many runs in the game, but it does look like they are starting to get their timing down after struggling to do so for much of the playoffs.

    Learn Harris' name

    Leading up to the postseason, seemingly every pundit who talks about baseball wanted to point out the Astros' vulnerability in the bullpen. They mentioned Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly and Josh James, saying that was all Houston had.

    No one ever seemed to mention Will Harris. And odds are, if you talk to an everyday fan, they will not know who he is either. Well, if those everyday fans were Yankees apologists, they know who he is now.

    Harris tossed yet another scoreless inning in Game 4 and now has thrown 4.3 innings in the postseason while striking out seven and giving up zero runs. This comes after a year in which Harris posted a 1.50 ERA in 68 games. And these were short appearances either. He threw 60 innings. Learn this man's name. He is an impact reliever even if no one will talk about him.

    Yankee defense comes back to bite them

    The Yankees are not necessarily known for being a fantastic defensive team but they have good players on that side. DJ LeMahieu has won a Gold Glove, Aaron Judge might win one this season and Didi Gregorius is a solid defensive player as well, just like Aaron Hicks.

    But New York have some guys playing out of position to get men in the line-up as Gleyber Torres is playing second when he is probably more of a shortstop or third baseman. LeMahieu is playing first when he is a Gold Glover at second and Brett Gardner is playing left while a healthy Giancarlo Stanton probably takes that spot.

    And it did not work out in Game 4. The Yankees made four errors, one of which was a big part of Carlos Correa's three-run homer in the sixth inning. Alex Bregman reached base on an error and eventually came around to score a few batters later.

    Also, just a bit of an oddity here too, the Yankees have only ever made three errors at home in a postseason game three times, all three have come on Oct. 17 (2009, 2017).

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