Braves clinch division title for second straight season

By Sports Desk September 21, 2019

The Atlanta Braves used a 6-0 shutout against the San Francisco Giants to take the top spot in the National League (NL) East for the second consecutive MLB season.

Ronald Acuna Jr. led Atlanta with a perfect night at the plate. He was two for two with two RBIs and three runs scored.

Mike Foltynewicz did the bulk of the work on the mound. He pitched a solid eight innings where he allowed just three hits while striking out seven.

Tyler Beede got tagged with the loss after six innings of work. He gave up six runs on seven hits.

Awesome Alonso

The New York Mets' Pete Alonso continued his impressive rookie season by becoming the first player in MLB this year to hit 50 home runs. Alonso is only the second rookie (Aaron Judge, 52, 2017) to complete the feat.

The Cardinals did not need much to hold off the Cubs 2-1 and Yadier Molina led the efforts with three of St Louis' four hits and both RBIs.

The Cleveland Indians remain in position to make it to the postseason with some help from Carlos Carrasco, who got his first save in five years in a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

Hernandez struggles

Felix Hernandez struggled in the Seattle Mariners' 5-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. He pitched five innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and only striking out three.

The Tigers barely took their bats off their shoulders against the White Sox. Detroit mustered just one run in a 10-1 loss to the White Sox.

 

Perfection from Crawford

The chase, the slide, the catch, Brandon Crawford made a perfect defensive play for the Giants.

Eloy Jimenez hit a grand slam for the White Sox.

Friday's results

St Louis Cardinals 2-1 Chicago Cubs
Baltimore Orioles 5-3 Seattle Mariners
Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 New York Yankees
New York Mets 8-1 Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians 5-2 Philadelphia Phillies
Chicago White Sox 10-1 Detroit Tigers
Washington Nationals 6-4 Miami Marlins
Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves 6-0 San Francisco Giants
Houston Astros 6-4 Los Angeles Angels
Milwaukee Brewers 10-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Minnesota Twins 4-3 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 8-0 Texas Rangers
Arizona Diamondbacks 9-0 San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers 12-5 Colorado Rockies

 

Red Sox at Rays

The Rays are trying to hold onto the second American League (AL) wildcard spot. The Indians' win on Friday now puts some pressure on the Rays, who are coming off a win themselves – a big win in fact, that knocked the Red Sox out of playoff contention. Boston seemingly have nothing left to play for while Tampa Bay want to keep their season going and look to Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 2.02 ERA) for a good start on the mound on Saturday.

Related items

  • Altuve's walk-off homer sends Astros to World Series Altuve's walk-off homer sends Astros to World Series

    Jose Altuve hit a walk-off home run as the Houston Astros topped the New York Yankees to reach the MLB World Series.

    Altuve smashed a two-run walk-off homer to lead the Astros past the Yankees 6-4 in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday.

    It came off the best closer in the game and just a half-inning after the Yankees' DJ LeMahieu tied it up with a two-run homer of his own.

    After sealing a 4-2 ALCS victory, the Astros will meet the Washington Nationals in the World Series.

     

    Three takeaways from the Astros' ALCS-clinching win over the Yankees

    Why are they pitching to Altuve?

    This should go down as one of the biggest managerial blunders in baseball history.

    First, the Astros gave up a 4-2 lead in the top of the ninth on a home run to LeMahieu which was bad, but then they won the game on a two-run homer in the ninth from Altuve. But here is the thing: There was no reason to pitch to Altuve. There were two outs. And yes there was a runner on first in George Springer, but the Astros had just taken Michael Brantley out of the game and replaced him with Jake Marisnick.

    Marisnick was one for three in the postseason and is a defensive specialist. While putting a runner in scoring position with a walk is risky, but you would do that to face Marisnick rather than Altuve, who was the American League MVP in 2017.

    Too many looks

    This goes for every single reliever in the postseason: The more looks a team gets at him — no matter how dominant he is — they will get to him eventually. This was the case with Tommy Kahnle and it was also the same with Roberto Osuna.

    First, with Kahnle, he had some success against Houston this season, especially in the playoffs, as he had given up no runs in four separate appearances. But, Aaron Boone insisted on using Kahnle again in Game 6 and it cost him as he gave up hits to Altuve and Brantley and a key insurance run that gave the Astros a vital 4-2 lead.

    That lead was vital because after Osuna had held the Yankees scoreless in three regular-season outings and three postseason appearances, he allowed the two-run homer to LeMahieu in New York's seventh look at him this season. While a good rule of thumb is to throw your best pitchers as often as you can, it is also true that players get a comfort level with those pitchers. That is exactly what happened with Kahnle and Osuna.

    Out of their comfort zone

    Say what you want about Brad Peacock giving up a run in the second inning, Josh James allowing all the base runners and New York putting guys on throughout Game 6, one thing cannot be overlooked here and it is bullpen games are not what the Astros do, and yet, it gave them a chance to win Game 6.

    Houston threw true bullpen games three times this season. It happened twice in July when Framber Valdez was having some issues and then again one more time in August when Gerrit Cole had to be pulled from a start before a game. Houston went 0-3 in those games and posted an ERA of 6.67 in the losses.

    The Astros again were not great in Game 6. The Yankees had baserunners on seemingly the entire game and Houston never looked comfortable. But what the Astros did not do was throw the game away before it started. They competed and kept the team in the game. No one will complain about that in Houston.

  • Yankees keep World Series hopes alive with game five win Yankees keep World Series hopes alive with game five win

    The New York Yankees forced game six on Friday after defeating Houston Astros 4-1 in game five of the American League Championship Series.

    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

    CC Sabathia has made his final appearance for the New York Yankees after the team confirmed they had removed the veteran pitcher from their roster.

    Sabathia, who confirmed in February the 2019 MLB season would be his last, exited the Yankees' defeat to the Houston Astros on Thursday with a shoulder injury.

    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.

    Over his 19-year career with the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers and Yankees, Sabathia posted a 251-161 regular-season and a 3.74 ERA.

    Earlier this season, he became just the third left-handed pitcher in MLB history to record 3,000 strikeouts in their career.

    Sabathia was a six-time All-Star and won the Cy Young Award in 2007 with Cleveland. He was named ALCS MVP in 2009 on the way to a World Series title with the Yankees.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.