The Rays didn’t even add Randy Arozarena to their roster until August 30, but it’s looking like he might carry them to the ALCS.
Arozarena continued his impossibly hot hitting Wednesday as the Rays downed the Yankees 8-4 in Game 3 of the ALDS. The outfielder went deep for the third straight game as part of a three-hit night, reaching base four times overall as the Rays pounded out 13 hits and eight runs to push the Yankees to brink of elimination.
Arozarena singled in his first two trips to the dish before depositing a hanging Masahiro Tanaka slider over the left field wall, leading to Tanaka’s exit from the game. The Yanks thought better of pitching to him in his fourth plate appearance, walking him on four pitches.
In 20 at-bats this postseason, Arozarena has compiled 12 hits, with half of them going for extra bases. He’s reached a couple more times via walks. This is after the 25-year-old posted a 1.022 OPS across 76 regular season plate appearances for the Rays. It’s been quite a coming out party for the Cuban native.
The Yankees weren’t able to muster a whole lot of offense in this one outside of Giancarlo Stanton going deep yet again, this time in the eighth inning off of rookie Shane McClanahan. Stanton has homered in each of the team’s five postseason games – a club record – and has hit a dinger six times overall during these playoffs.
If the Yanks are to extend the series, they’re probably going to have to start slugging again on Thursday in Game 4. Jordan Montgomery will get the start for them, and while he’s a perfectly solid hurler, he struggled down the stretch of the regular season, hasn’t pitched in two weeks and has never appeared in a postseason game. Count on manager Aaron Boone having a quick hook.
Dodgers Down Padres
If you didn’t stay up for Game 2 of the Padres-Dodgers series Wednesday night, you sure missed a good one.
A drama-filled night ended with Joe Kelly escaping a bases-loaded jam by getting Eric Hosmer to ground out to preserve a 6-5 win for the Dodgers. They’ve taken the first two games of the NLDS and will look to close things out Thursday.
Clayton Kershaw started for the Dodgers in Game 2 and was excellent for a while, holding the Padres to just one run while whiffing six batters over his first five innings. Things started to turn on him in the sixth when Manny Machado led off the inning with a home run and Hosmer went back-to-back with a bomb of his own.
Skipper Dave Roberts decided to yank Kershaw after the sixth and turn things over to Blake Treinen, who retired the first two batters he faced before hitting Trent Grisham with a pitch. Hard-throwing youngster Brusdar Graterol then balked Grisham (the tying run) to second base before Fernando Tatis Jr. clubbed one to dead-center field, only to see Cody Bellinger pull it back from over the wall in what’s been the best defensive play of the postseason to this point. Bellinger, by the way, also homered in the game.
Graterol couldn’t contain his excitement after the Bellinger catch, throwing his glove and his hat toward the Dodgers’ dugout. That didn’t sit well with Manny Machado, who had been on deck. Machado barked unpleasantries in Graterol’s direction and the reliever responded by blowing a kiss toward him. The Dodgers’ dugout also got fired up. It’s not the first time these two teams have gone at it.
The Padres will turn to Adrian Morejon in Game 3 on Thursday as they try to extend the series. Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts won’t announce his starter until Thursday.
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A’s Still Alive
Isn’t Dodger Stadium supposed to be a pitcher’s park?
After combining for 11 home runs in the first two games of the ALDS, the Athletics and Astros had another slugfest in Game 3 on Wednesday. The A’s outlasted their opponent 9-7 on the strength of five long balls to avoid elimination.
Four of the A’s five dingers came off of starter Jose Urquidy, as Tommy La Stella, Mark Canha, Matt Olson and Marcus Semien took the right-hander deep. However, all four were solo shots, and Oakland was nursing just a 4-2 lead after Urquidy exited in the top of the fifth.
That’s when the Astros stormed back to grab the lead with a five-run bottom of the fifth. Jesus Luzardo, like Urquidy, failed to make it out of the fifth inning. The first man out of the bullpen, Yusmeiro Petit, made things worse in failing to retire any of the five batters he faced.
It was a game of runs, though, and it was then the Athletics’ turn.
After the first two batters of the top of the seventh singled, Chad Pinder popped one down the right field line that just went beyond Kyle Tucker’s outstretched glove and into the seats. Pinder helped tack on another run with one of the A’s two sac flies in the eighth. He had three hits on the day and has homered in back-to-back games in the series.
The A’s pitching struggled again in this one, but one guy who didn’t was closer Liam Hendriks. Hendriks got some well-deserved rest after throwing a combined 68 pitches on back-to-back days when the A’s closed out the White Sox last week. Pitching on five days’ rest, he went three scoreless frames Wednesday to close out the win, yielding just one single while striking out four. Hendriks needed only 37 pitches to cover his three innings.
Oakland will turn to Frankie Montas in Game 4 on Thursday as it again tries to stave off elimination. Montas posted a disappointing 5.60 ERA over 11 starts during the regular season, but he struck out a career-high 13 batters in his final start and picked up the win in Game 3 versus the White Sox last week when he allowed one run over two frames. The Astros haven’t announced a Game 4 starter yet, but it could be Zack Greinke, who has yet to start in the series because of an arm issue. If it’s not Greinke, Houston figures to go with Cristian Javier or Luis Garcia.
There have been legitimate questions about whether the Braves’ rotation was good enough to allow them to make a deep postseason run. Ian Anderson is doing his best to allay those concerns.
Anderson combined with four relievers to shut out the Marlins on just three hits Wednesday as the Braves won 2-0 in Game 2 of the NLDS. The rookie right-hander yielded just three hits and one walk while fanning eight batters over 5 2/3 innings.
Darren O’Day followed Anderson and loaded the bases on a hit by pitch and a walk, but he was able to escape the threat in getting Matt Joyce to ground out on the first pitch. The only Marlins batter to reach base the rest of the day did so on an error, and Mark Melancon closed things out in the ninth with ease on 13 pitches.
The Braves’ offense didn’t do a whole lot against Pablo Lopez, but they did get solo home runs from Dansby Swanson and Travis d’Arnaud and that proved to be enough. D’Arnaud has gone deep in both games of the series and had reached base six times in eight plate appearances.
The Braves have played four games this postseason and have shut out the opponent in three of them, with Anderson leading the way twice. Granted, they’ve only had to use their top two starters in Max Fried and Anderson so far, but it doesn’t take much more than that in the postseason.
It will be interesting to see what the Braves get out of Kyle Wright in Game 3 on Thursday. The former first-round pick was underwhelming on the whole this season but closed with three straight quality starts, allowing just three hits and two runs in his last two outings. He will be pitching on 12 days’ rest.
On the brink of elimination, the Marlins will turn to flame-throwing rookie Sixto Sanchez for Game 3. Sanchez struggled in his final two regular season starts but bounced back with five scoreless frames to close out the Cubs in the Wild Card Series.