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2020 WORLD SERIES

Columbus Explorers @ Hollywood Werewolves

Columbus

Hollywood2020SERIES PREVIEW – Hollywood and Columbus have a history.  Midway through the 2001 season, Columbus was running out of money, and with no support from the city, owner Bill Schindel was forced to sell his majority stake to Hollywood’s current owner Steve Cutler.  After that Columbus team was eliminated 3 games to 2 by Chicago, Owner Cutler moved the franchise out west, to the brand new Paramount Park in Hollywood, California. In 2013, Bill Schindel was able to secure funding and received buy-in, from a city starving for baseball to return to their capital city, to bring the franchise back.  Coincidentally, the team he relocated to Columbus was called the West Coast Swing, playing their baseball in Palmdale, CA.  While that team had a successful 5-year run in Palmdale, they could never get the attendance high enough to make any money.  Here they are now, opposing each other in the World Series.  While Hollywood won 107 games to lead the AL, Columbus won 110, the second-most in the NL.  Beat writer Jarl Jackson predicted anything from a 5 to a 7 game.Tempe Tempers vs. Hollywood Werewolves

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #1 – Michael Fiers (11-9 2.93)  vs. Charlie Morton (21-7 2.77 ERA)

Charlie_MortonWS2020-1After Morton gets through the top of the first, leadoff hitter Christian Vazquez, singles to lead off for Hollywood in the bottom half.  Hanser Alberto follows with a double and Hollywood has runners at 2nd & 3rd with no-outs for their big hitters.  Fiers takes a deep breath after a visit from catcher Robinson Chirinos and comes back to strike out Christian Yelich.  Then with Paul Goldschmidt up, Chirinos misplays the pitch and Alberto walks across home to give Hollywood a 1-0 lead.  With Alberto moving to 3rd base on the play, Infield deep … ALBERTO takes his lead at third … he brings it in … punched back to the mound.. FIERS gloves it … looks at third … and they’ve got ALBERTO in a rundown … FIERS pumps..flips to URSHELA … URSHELA runs him toward home … flips to CHIRINOS..and CHIRINOS tags him out … GOLDSCHMIDT ends up at second.  FIERS is PUMPED!! The game stays that way into the 3rd inning and with 1-out in the top of the 3rd, Dee Gordon triples.  With the infield back, Brock Holt grounds out to Freddie Galvis who declines the throw to home to get the out and Columbus ties the game at 1.  Galvis looks visibly upset at himself cause he now believes he could have cut the runner down at home.  Both pitchers cruise into the bottom of the 5th and Galvis leading off.  The offering from FIERS … that’s high in the air to right-center … DESMOND goes back for it ..p against the wall … DESMOND times his leap … and comes down with a glove full of air..that’s a round-tripper for GALVIS!  Hollywood leads 2-1. Then with 2-outs, Vazquez comes to the plate.  it’s hit deep to BLACKMON … over his head..say good-bye to this one…it’s gone! … home run for VAZQUEZ.  Hollywood leads 3-1!! Morton takes over from there.  He ends up going 7.2 innings, striking out 9 and handing the game to the bullpen.  Closer Will T Harris comes in a does what he is asked to do as Hollywood takes the 1-0 series lead!

W – Charlie Morton (1-0)
L – Michael Fiers (0-1)
S – Will T. Harris (1)

Hollywood 3, Columbus 1

Hollywood leads 1-0

GAME #2 – Julio Teheran (13-7 3.86) vs. Clayton Kershaw (18-5 2.68 ERA)

Giovanny_UrshelaWS2020Columbus looking to grab a game on the road sends Teheran against perennial powerhouse, 3-time Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw. After Kershaw cruises through the first, Vazquez once again leads off the bottom of the first for Hollywood and doubles to right. Alberto quickly singles and Kershaw is staked to a 1-0 lead, 2-batters into the game.  Teheran settles down after that and both pitchers cruise to the bottom of the 4th when Matt Olson steps to the plate.  Teheran delivers … OLSON piles into this pitch … that could be trouble…LAGARES races it to the wall … back … it’s history! … home run for Matt OLSON and Hollywood has a 2-0 lead.  With the way Kershaw is pitching, that may be enough for the win.  Columbus looks down and heads to the 7th inning with Kershaw cruising.  Then with 2-outs in the 7th, Charlie Blackmon steps in.  KERSHAW with the offering … BLACKMON sends it in the air … deep right-center field YELICH goes over … GORDON goes over … and the ball goes over the fence..BLACKMON with a round-tripper and cuts the lead to 2-1.  Kershaw looks mad at himself as he kicks the dirt around the mound.  Kershaw is pulled for Joe Smith who gets out of the inning without further incident.  With 1-out in the 8th and Smith still on the mound, Juan Legares doubles, and Smith is pulled for Sam Tuivailala.  Richie Martin is sent out to pinch-run and promptly steals 3rd base.  After Tuivailala walks Tyler Flowers, he is pulled for Hollywood strikeout artist Carlos Estevez.  Estevez has come into tough situations all season cause of his striking out ability and with runners, at the corners, they need it now.  Flowers is pinch-run for by Rosell Herrera who promptly steals second, giving Columbus 2 runners in scoring position. With the infielders playing halfway, Enrique Hernandez hits a slow roller that scores Blackmon, tying the game at 2.  Both teams traded zeroes until the 12th.  With Brandon Kintzler on the mound for his 2nd inning of work, Giovanny Urshela steps in.  Kintzler delivers … that ball is muscled to deep left … this one has a passport … adios, amigo..it’s long gone! And Columbus leads 3-2!!  Columbus turns over the ball to Yusmeiro Petit who gets Hollywood 1-2-3 closing out the game, tying the series at 1.

W – Liam Hendriks (1-0)
L – Brandon Kintzler (0-1)
S – Yusmeiro Petit (1)

Columbus 3, Hollywood 2 (12 Innings)

Series tied 1-1

Alex GordonGAME #3 – Diego Castillo (5-5 3.26 ERA)  vs. Jordan Lyles (15-5 3.84)

The game shifts to Columbus with the series tied at 1.  Game 3 tends to be pivotal series as the team that has won 3rd game are 17-5 in the World Series  Each team sending their third-best starter with a quick hook.  In a humorous move, at the beginning of the game, both owners are at home plate and there seems to be some confusion as the umpires are explaining to the Hollywood Manager we are in an NL park there is no DH.  They have a good laugh and we’re ready to start.  Surprisingly, both pitchers are stellar through the 4th inning.  With one out, Matt Chapman walks, which is followed by a Freddie Galvis single, putting runners at 1st and 2nd with 1-out.  With that hit, Lyles is pulled for Kyle Ryan to get the lefty-on-lefty matchup with Alex Gordon coming up.  What Columbus doesn’t know is that Gordon has been clutch against lefty relievers all season for Hollywood.  The runners take their lead … the offering from RYAN … lined to right … base hit…DESMOND is after it … he cuts it off deep in the gap … CHAPMAN is around third…GALVIS is around second…they’re waving CHAPMAN in….GALVIS’s headed for third…CHAPMAN will score … the throw goes to third…here’s the play at third … and he’s … in standing … and GORDON holds with a single and the WEREWOLVES lead 1-0.  With Castillo coming up and Hollywood having runners in scoring position, they make the tough decision to pinch-hit for him.  Columbus closes the door at that point and the game stays at 1-0.  Hollywood turns to the pen at this point and calls on Tuivailala who holds serve in the bottom half.  With 1 out in the 6th Goldschmidt walks and comes around on a hit-and-run double by Ketel Marte for a 2-0 lead.  Hollywood turns over the game to Jason Adam who gives up a leadoff double to Blackmon.  Then after striking out Urshela, Brock Holt walks and Adam is pulled for Carlos EstevezMatt Carpenter being called on to pinch-hit and grounds out to Galvis, moving the runners up a base.  With the tying run at 2nd base, Chirinos steps in.  BLACKMON takes his lead at third … the pitch … on the hands … and CHIRINOS flicks it out to right..ALBERTO might have a play … racing back for it … he has it! … that’s three away and the lead is preserved.  That turns out to be the last runner Columbus has on base.  The Hollywood bullpen goes spotless the rest of the way shutting out Columbus 2-0.

W – Sam Tuivailala (1-0)
L – Jordan Lyles (0-1)
S – Will T Harris (2)

Hollywood 2, Columbus 0

Hollywood leads 2-1

Liam_HendriksWS2020GAME #4 – Charlie Morton (21-7 2.77 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (11-9 2.93)

Hollywood sends their ace back on the mound to see if they can grab a 3-1 series lead, which Columbus is looking to even the series. Fiers cruises through the top of the 1st and Morton heads out there in the bottom half.  With 2-outs, Trevor Story steps in.  there’s a fly ball to left … MARTE drifts back … still back-peddling…hey, this ball may carry … at the fence … MARTE jumps for it … does he have it? … no!  a home run for STORY! Columbus leads 1-0!  Fiers still pitching well, gets out of the 2nd with no issues, and lets his offense do the talking in the bottom half.  DJ LeMahieu doubles to lead off the bottom half. Urshela follows with a single, which scores LeMahieu giving them a 2-0 lead!  Morton gets out of the inning with no more damage. Fiers keeps it at 2-0 into the 4th.  With 1-out in the 4th, Yelich singles and scores all the way from first on a Goldschmidt single, cutting the lead in half at 2-1. Fiers is pulled for the Columbus ace reliever Matt Shoemaker. He shuts the door to keep it at 2-1 Columbus.  Columbus tacks on another on Morton when Dee Gordon hammers a 2-out homer in the 5th, making it 3-1 Columbus.  Columbus goes from Shoemaker to Hendriks in en effort to tie the series.  Hendriks is perfect through his 2 innings, picking up his first save and Columbus ties the series at 2-2.

W – Matt Shoemaker (1-0)
L – Charlie Morton (1-1)
S – Liam Hendriks (1)

Columbus 3, Hollywood 1

Series tied at 2

Charlie_BlackmonWS2020GAME #5 – Clayton Kershaw (18-5 2.68 ERA) vs. Julio Teheran (13-7 3.86)

With the series tied at 2 apiece, Columbus is looking to leave home and head back to Hollywood a win away, and Hollywood is looking to head home and grab that last win.  The last time these 2 pitchers faced off, Hollywood grabbed the early lead but was unable to hold it as Columbus won in 12 innings. Kershaw and Teheran both look good early, trading goose eggs through the third inning. Teheran is cruising getting the first two outs in the fourth, when he walks Ketel Marte, bringing up Freddie Galvis.  TEHERAN delivers … swung on … and it’s pulled hard to right … good-bye Mr. Spalding..it’s gone! … a two-run shot and Hollywood leads 2-0!  Now that Kershaw has a lead, Columbus has to pull some magic out of the hat. Kershaw cruises into the 6th inning when Enrique Hernandez leads off the inning.  KERSHAW winds up … and it’s pulled hard to left … it’s deep enough if it’s fair … fair ball!  home run for HERNANDEZ and Columbus cuts into Hollywood’s lead 2-1.  Kershaw looks mad at himself, he tried to sneak a fastball by him and Hernandez made him pay.  Kershaw settles back in and gets out of the 6th.  Hollywood leads 2-1 and has Galvis leading off the 7th.  With JB Wendleken faces him.  WENDELKEN winds up … GALVIS sends it in the air … deep right-center field … BLACKMON goes over…LAGARES goes over … and the ball goes over the fence … GALVIS has his second round-tripper of the game, his 3rd of the series!  Hollywood leads 3-1. The air seems to itself out and Columbus looks down as they head into the bottom of the 7th against Kershaw.   Urshela leads off the inning with a single and with 1-out, Ian Desmond is called on to hit for Wendelken.  He waves that bat like a wand … strolls to the box…Big hole on the right side … URSHELA not wandering too far … now he comes home with it…lofted deep to left field … MARTE got a late start … he’s back … way back…he won’t get it … it’s gone! … Ian ties the game! … home run for DESMOND!!!  At that point, it becomes a battle of the bullpens.  Hollywood sent out Tuivailala-Smith-Kolarek-Kintzler-Adam who threw 6 innings of scoreless ball, while Columbus sent out Petit-Hendriks-Ottavino for 7 scoreless.  In the bottom of the 14th, Trevor Story lines a single to right off Carlos Estevez. Charlie Blackmon comes up.  STORY well off first … Trevor STORY is on the move … ESTEVEZ fires it in … lined toward first… it’s over his head … GORDON’s got a long way to go … STORY races to third…they’re waving him home … the throw from right field … too late … it’s all over!  COLUMBUS WINS on a Blackmon walk-off to right! Columbus now leads the series 3 games to 2 and heads on the road looking to raise the victory flag.

W – Adam Ottavino (1-0)
L – Carlos Estevez (0-1)

Columbus 4, Hollywood 3 (14 Innings)

Columbus leads 3-2

Diego_CastilloWS2020GAME #6 – Jordan Lyles (15-5 3.84)) vs. Diego Castillo (5-5 3.26 ERA)

Hollywood looking to hang on for 1 more day sends out Diego Castillo who pitched a scoreless 4 in game 3 against Jordan Lyles, who pitched well in the game but was saddled with the loss.  Columbus, looking to claim the Championship get a leadoff single from Dee Gordan.  With him on the move, LeMahieu executes a perfect hit-and-run.  Hollywood’s bullpen immediately starts to stir, as Dustin May and David Price look to begin throwing.  They can’t afford to get behind as there is no room to err…With runners at the corner, the infield will concede the run for the small inning.  Trevor Story steps in… Infielders back … the runners take their lead … the pitch … easy bouncer to ALBERTO…he’s up with it … throws to second for one … out … back to first for two … not in time…STORY beats it out … and a run scores … ALBERTO did not handle that ball quickly and Columbus looks PSYCHED, taking the early lead at 1-0.  Castillo settles down and gets the next 2-outs with the damage minimal.  Lyles pitches well into the bottom of the 3rd, with the 1-0 lead.   Galvis singled to lead it off.  With Chapman up, Hollywood attempts to get the runner moving.  The pitch…Chapman half swings…Galvis is going…the throw…THEY GOT HIM!!!! Chapman looks like he missed a sign, cause Galvis cost himself the base with that look-back.  Hollywood ran themselves out of a golden opportunity to get in this game!! Chapman then strikes out and Gordon bounces out, pumping Lyles up!  As we head to the 4th, Columbus, not taking chances, has Shoemaker up in the bullpen in case he’s needed.  After getting the first out of the 4th, Cristian Yelich steps in…. LYLES comes to him … swing and a fly ball … pretty well hit … right field…may not be caught … its history! … Christian has tied it up … home run for YELICH!!  Then after Hanser Alberto walks, Shoemaker comes in and shuts the door.  After Castillo cruises through the 5th, we’re back to the bottom half and Ketel Marte walks to lead off the inning which brings up the power-hitting Matt Olson. SHOEMAKER brings it home….and OLSON belts it deep to right … DESMOND retreats to the wall … does he have room? his eyes are skyward … and the ball is outta here! … home run for OLSON and two runs scored… Matt trots around the bases … he loves a trip downtown and is greeted at the plate now giving Hollywood a 3-1 lead!  Castillo ends up going 6 1/3 inning and is pulled in the 7th to a cheering crowd after he gives up a single to Brock Holt.  He is lifted for Tuivailala.  After he walks Desmond to put runners at first & second, he is pulled for lefty specialist Adam Kolarek who faces Asdrubal Cabrera.  The runners take their lead … KOLAREK now … skied high to the left side…GALVIS’s drifting back … he’s under it … this should do it … and he makes the catch and the threat is gone.  In the bottom of the 7th and 8th Hollywood takes on 1 run each and takes the game with a score of 5-1 to even the series

W – Diego Castillo (1-0)
L – Matt Shoemaker (1-1)

Hollywood 5, Columbus 1

Series tied at 3

Charlie_MortonWS2020-2GAME #7 – Mike Fiers (11-9 2.93)  vs. Charlie Morton (21-7 2.77 ERA)

In a rematch of games 1 & 4, with Hollywood winning game 1 and Columbus game 4.  This game will be winner takes all as the bullpens are full of arms ready to be called upon.  Morton gets the 1-2-3 in the 1st with 1 strikeout.  Fiers gets Hollywood 1-2-3 in the bottom half.  In the 2nd, Morton strikes out the side in the second between a walk and a hit batsman. Fiers gives up a lead-off double to Goldschmidt, Marte moves him to 3rd on a ground out, then Matt Olson is hit by pitch.  With runners at the corners, Hollywood’s biggest World Series bat, Freddie Galvis steps in.  Infielders back … GOLDSCHMIDT down the line some at third … here comes the pitch…GALVIS rips it down the left-field line … fair ball! … GOLDSCHMIDT crosses the plate..HERNANDEZ tracks it down quickly … OLSON is around second and holds.  Hollywood leads 1-0.  Fiers is pulled for Shoemaker immediately. Shoemaker shuts the threat down and keeps the game close at 1-0.  Morton strikes out Legares to lead off the 3rd and Dee Gordon walks with LeMahieu coming up.  First baseman GOLDSCHMIDT perched right in front of the bag … GORDON is off with the pitch…MORTON comes home … hit to MARTE in deep left … he’s after it … plenty of room..and he takes it in … two away … GORDON scampers back to first.  He then gets Story on a bounce-out and the threat is stopped.  Shoemaker cruises 1-2-3 in the 3rd. Morton gets ‘em 1-2-3 in the 4th and we have a certified pitchers duel!  Shoemaker gives up a single to Marte in the bottom half of the 4th, but it doesn’t go any farther than that and it remains 1-0 going into the 5th.  In the top of the 5th, Morton notches K #6, but he walks the speedy Lagares with 2-outs.  With Dee Gordon up, lets listen to the call. MORTON kicks and delivers … swung on … strike! … now LAGARES is sprinting toward second…they’ll have trouble catching him…VAZQUEZ gets rid of it quickly … the slide … and they get him!!!  Hollywood cuts down the runner at 2nd base to end the inning and Vazquez is pumped!! Shoemaker is perfect again in the 5th and Morton heads back out there in the top of the 6th.  He looks up at the scoreboard and realizes he has yet to give up a hit in the game.  He gets Dee Gordon before DJ LeMahieu doubles, breaking up the no-hitter after 6 1/3 innings.  Morton looks mad at himself and Vazquez calls time to settle him down.  Whatever he said, it worked, as he gets K #7 before a Blackmon line-out to end the inning.  In the bottom of the 6th, Yelich leads off the inning with a single off Shoemaker.  He then steals second.  Shoemaker settles down and gets the next three batters without incident.  Hollywood still leads 1-0 heading into the 7th and Morton working on a 1-hitter.  Morton gets strikeout #8 on the way to the 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the 7th, Shoemaker is still on the mound and with 1-out, Galvis steps in.  SHOEMAKER winds up … GALVIS belts it to right … near the foul pole … it’s UNBELIEVABLE as he belts his 4th HOMERUN of the series and Hollywood leads 2-0!!! Shoemaker is pulled for Liam Hendriks who gets out of the inning. We head to the 8th….Morton strikes out Holt and Legardes to open the frame, then gets Gordon on a flyout. We head into the bottom half of the inning with Yelich facing Hendirks.  The pitch … YELICH lofts a high fly … down the line to right….LAGARES looks as if he’s got it covered … on the warning track … now his back’s to the wall…the leap … and he comes down … empty-handed! … THE CROWD IS GOING CRAZY AS MORTON NOW HAS A 3-0 LEAD!!! Hendriks looks dejected and makes a throwing error to first to the next batter, Hanser Alberto.  After a visit from the pitching coach, he settles down and gets out before any more damage.  We head to the 9th, with the crowd on their feet.  Charlie Morton still on the mound, but Cutler has Will T Harris warming up in case he’s needed.  The first batter of the 9th is LeMahieu.  The delivery from MORTON … LeMAHIEU laces it into the gap in right … it’s a ‘tweener to the wall … and LeMAHIEU pulls in to second base standing up.  That prompts a quick hook and Morton leaves to a standing ovation.  Will T Harris has been really good in the series and it’s do or die with your best as no one else is up in the pen.  Trevor Story walks which brings up Charlie Blackmon as the tying run with no outs and runners at 1st & 2nd.  The pitch to Blackmon… routine fly ball to right … GORDON moves under it … and brings it down as the runners hold.  1-OUT!!  That brings up Giovanny URSHELA… The runners take their lead …the delivery from HARRIS … swung on…Alberto DIVES TO HIS RIGHT…FLIPS TO GALVIS FOR ONE….THE RELAY TO GOLDSCHIMDT…HE’S OUT!!!! DOUBLE PLAY…DOUBLE PLAY….HOLLYWOOD WINS THE WORLD SERIES AND THE CROWD GOES CRAZY!

W – Charlie Morton (2-1)
L – Michael Fiers (0-2)
S – Will T. Harris (3)

Hollywood 3, Columbus 0

Hollywood wins the series 4 games to 3

Christian_VazquezWS2020Alex_GordonWS2020-2SERIES SUMMARY – An amazing pitches duel World Series as both teams hit under .200 (Hollywood 1.74 & Columbus .153).  Hollywood’s ERA and strikeouts were the difference.  They had a 1.57 ERA and struck out 71 batters vs a Columbus ERA of 2.38, striking out only 48 batters. Hollywood’s offense was sporadic, but Freddie Galvis was the offensive star hitting a series high of .280 with 4 home runs and 6 RBIs.

During the MVP interview, Charlie Morton was heard saying, “I may have received this award, but the unsung hero here was Diego Castillo as he pitched in 2 big games for us, winning game 6 to get it to me.  I’d like to congratulate a very tough Columbus team.  They pushed us to our limits and it was a well-played series on both sides”

Charlie_Morton20

 

 

MVP: Charlie Morton ( 6-1; 51 IP; 52 K; .88 ERA)

2020 WORLD SERIES PREVIEW

Columbus

Tempe Tempers vs. Hollywood WerewolvesHollywood2020
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presented to you by Jarl Jackson – October 2020

In the ALCS Hollywood split the first two games at home then went to Chicago and swept the Mobsters in 3 straight including shutouts in games 4 and 5. The first three games went to extra innings over in the NLCS with the Explorers overcoming early deficits in games 1 and 2 only to see Pittsburgh walk it off both times. The same thing happened in game 3, but this time Columbus got the winning hit. Game 4 saw Columbus with the early lead with Lumber Company tying the game late. The Explorers avoided a 4th straight extra-inning affair when Asdrubal Cabrera hit a walk-off 3-run jimmy jack. The two teams split the next two games with some very nice pitching forcing a game 7. Pittsburgh fought back to tie the game in the 8th, but backup catcher Tyler Fowler surprises everyone by hitting a pinch-hit 2 run homer in the 9th to give the Explorers the pennant!

The two teams have a weird connection as Hollywood entered the league in 2001 taking over the Columbus team and moving them to Hollywood for the 2002 season and then Columbus re-entered the league in 2013. Hollywood makes its 5th World Series appearance having won it in 2014 while Columbus makes their first visit to the World Series.

CATCHERS AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB OSBP
Tom Murphy HOL .282 .321 .444 104 390 59 110 22 1 13 58 4 73.3
Christian Vazquez HOL .231 .287 .471 64 238 35 55 7 1 16 33 0 48.5
Robinson Chirinos COL .220 .324 .462 92 273 37 60 15 0 17 49 1 75

All of the catchers can hit for power, but the Werewolves are slightly better offensively and they’re both better at controlling the running game. Vasquez had an 18 game hitting streak good for 5th best in the AL. Advantage Hollywood

FIRST BASEMEN AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
Paul Goldschmidt HOL .250 .341 .487 150 579 101 145 21 4 36 100 4
Brock Holt COL .269 .323 .383 94 264 36 71 13 4 3 30 0
Matt Carpenter COL .245 .348 .414 126 384 58 94 11 0 18 47 1

Goldschmidt was a little down in average and on-base, but otherwise, his season was on par for him. He did hit .353/.500/.529 in the ALCS. Holt could be the starting first baseman, starting outfielder, or one of the first bats off the bench. He hit .300 in the NLCS in 10 at-bats. Advantage Hollywood

SECOND BASEMEN AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
Hanser Alberto HOL .271 .303 .368 108 421 52 114 15 1 8 38 7
Dee Gordon COL .268 .308 .375 106 299 33 80 10 8 2 23 25
D.J. LeMahieu COL .284 .352 .455 148 549 87 156 29 1 21 80 8

Alberto had a very solid year having not been in the MWBL since 2017 when he hit only .065. Gordon and LeMahieu are two of the better hitters and due to position flexibility, you may see both in the lineup for Columbus. Gordon the team’s best base stealer was also tied for 2nd in the league in triples. Although his best position his 2nd base LeMahieu could also start at first or third. He had an on-base streak of 24 games during the season – 6th best in the NL. Advantage Columbus

SHORTSTOPS AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
Freddy Galvis HOL .297 .327 .476 131 525 74 156 31 0 21 73 4
Trevor Story COL .254 .323 .461 147 566 83 144 23 2 30 85 29

Both shortstops were acquired in late-season trades. Galvis has the advantage in AVG while Story leads in SB coming up 1 steal short of a 30-30 season. He was tied for 6th overall in the NL. Advantage even

THIRD BASEMEN AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
Matt Chapman HOL .266 .364 .538 145 541 105 144 40 4 33 102 4
Giovanny Urshela COL .276 .337 .498 122 424 55 117 29 1 21 59 1

Chapman was 10th in runs and 8th doubles. He leads in every category except batting average. For the first time in his career, Urshela played in more than 34 games delivering some nice power numbers.  Advantage Hollywood

OUTFIELDERS AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
Ketel Marte HOL .344 .406 .610 146 575 101 198 36 9 33 97 10
Christian Yelich HOL .344 .424 .712 124 479 110 165 39 1 45 112 21
Alex Gordon HOL .241 .323 .394 138 507 72 122 22 1 18 57 3
Juan Lagares COL .257 .314 .340 104 206 27 53 14 0 1 10 2
Charlie Blackmon COL .298 .352 .596 140 537 96 160 36 5 38 115 2
Ian Desmond COL .236 .327 .468 126 385 64 91 18 7 19 63 4

For the Werewolves, Marte is 2nd in AVG, 4th in OBP, 7th in SLG, 2nd in Hits, and 2nd in triples. Yelich is 3rd in AVG, first in OBP, first in SLG, 10th in Hits, 8th in Runs, 5th in HR, and 5th in SB. For the Explorers Blackmon is 6th in AVG, 3rd in SLG, and 3rd in RBI. Desmond was tied for 5th in triples. It’s hard to beat the 1-2 punch of Yelich and Marte especially with Yelich being the potential AL MVP Advantage Hollywood

DESIGNATED HITTER AVG OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
Matt Olson HOL .252 .342 .516 125 465 75 117 12 0 37 96 0
Asdrubal Cabrera COL .232 .332 .438 137 393 61 91 17 2 20 59 2

Olson had a nice break out year with 37 homers and 96 RBI’s. The veteran Cabrera gets penciled in at DH simply because he’s the best switch-hitter on the team, but he is a good defensive second and third baseman. Columbus could use multiple players as the DH depending on matchups. Advantage Hollywood

HOL STARTERS W-L ERA GS CG SHO QS IP H R ER HR SO/9 BB/9
Charlie Morton R 21-7 2.77 32 2 0 21 217.1 132 68 67 24 9.9 2.7
Clayton Kershaw L 18-5 2.68 29 3 0 17 194.2 120 62 58 27 7.8 2.2
Diego Castillo R 5-5 3.26 15 0 0 7 80 54 38 29 6 11.9 5.1
COL STARTERS W-L ERA GS CG SHO QS IP H R ER HR SO/9 BB/9
Michael Fiers R 11-9 2.93 32 1 0 22 203 154 74 66 23 7.6 2.1
Julio Teheran R 13-7 3.86 30 1 1 13 179.2 144 84 77 27 8 4.1
Jordan Lyles R 15-5 3.84 28 1 1 12 157 131 73 67 31 8.3 3.3

Morton was first in Wins, 5th in ERA, 6th in IP, Tied for 3rd in QS, 5th in SHO Innings at 20.1, and was 4th in S-OBA at .171. Kershaw was tied for 10th in Wins, 6th in ERA, and 5th in S-OBA at .177 Fiers was 6th ERA, 8th in IP, tied for 2nd in QS, and was 11th in S-OBA at .205. Morton and Kershaw give the edge to the Werewolves Advantage Hollywood

HOL RELIEVERS W-L-SV ERA BS HLD G GF IP H R ER HR SO/9 BB/9
Will T. Harris R 2-4-41 2.37 5 1 59 50 57 32 15 15 7 6.2 2.4
Brandon Kintzler R 1-1-1 1.20 1 20 50 13 52.1 23 7 7 3 6 2.6
Samuel Tuivailala R 2-1-0 1.61 1 13 22 1 22.1 7 4 4 1 11.3 5.6
Carlos Estevez R 6-1-0 2.24 3 12 48 14 56.1 43 16 14 3 10.9 1.6
Adam Kolarek L 7-2-0 3.38 3 7 49 10 48 43 20 18 13 7.7 2.1
COL RELIEVERS W-L-SV ERA BS HLD G GF IP H R ER HR SO/9 BB/9
Liam Hendriks R 9-1-35 1.17 6 11 70 48 100.1 38 15 13 9 10 2.5
Yusmeiro Petit R 5-5-16 2.71 3 21 73 28 89.2 59 33 27 12 7 1.2
Adam Ottavino R 4-0-5 2.33 0 0 63 2 73.1 42 22 19 7 7.5 6
Kyle Ryan L 5-1-3 2.09 0 20 57 18 64.2 43 19 15 8 7.2 2.1
Matt Shoemaker R 3-0-1 3.98 3 7 21 2 31.2 23 15 14 4 8.2 2.8

On the league leader boards, Harris was 2nd in SVS and held opponents to a .162 batting average good for 8th best. Kintzler was 4th in holds and Kolarek was tied for 3rd in Wins. Hendriks was first in Wins, Tied for 2nd in SVS, 2nd in ERA, 1st in IP, and 1st in R-OBA at .118. Petit was first in Holds, 4th in IP, and 2nd in GIR. Ottavino was 9th in R-SO/9 and 10th in R-OBA at .168. Ryan was 2nd in Holds and 9th in ERA. Advantage Columbus

Overall team stats and MWBL League rankings:

TEAM AVG OBP SLG R/GAME 2B 3B HR SB
Hollywood (3) .271 (3) .338 (2) .489 (3) 5.8 (6) 309 (6) 24 (2) 293 (6) 64
Columbus (6) .239 (4) .308 (6) .417 (5) 4.7 (11) 252 (1) 37 (8) 217 (9) 84
TEAM S-WINS S-ERA SHO S-OBA R-WINS SAVES R-ERA R-OBA
Hollywood (2) 77 (3) 3.77 (11) 3 (1) .217 (3) 30 (2) 50 (3) 3.46 (3) .208
Columbus (2) 76 (5) 3.68 (10) 4 (7) .235 (3) 34 (1) 63 (1) 2.48 (1) .185
TEAM FLDG PCT OF ASSISTS DP          
Hollywood (1) .986 (14) 34 (4) 117          
Columbus (6) .980 (13) 29 (3) 126          

Hollywood is the better offensive team while Columbus has a better bullpen. The two teams are nearly even at starting pitching and team defense. The Explorers have so many players who can play multiple positions it’s mind-boggling.

Can the 4 best Hollywood players (Yelich, Marte, Morton, and Kershaw) lead their team to the championship? Can Columbus with their flexibility mix and max the right players for the right situations? If Galvis and Goldschmidt stay hot from the ALCS and the 4 stars above perform like legends then Hollywood wins in 5 or 6 games, but if Columbus can limit the damage from those 6 and get the key hits, make the defensive gems, and throw the right pitch at the right time then Columbus could win the series in 7 games.

WORLD SERIES
Team Wins Losses
Tempe 11 4
Kentucky  2 0
Sacramento 3 0
Severn 2 3
Tijuana 1 0
Merrick 1 0
Detroit 1 1
Chicago 1 5
Hollywood 1 3
Iron City 0 1
Yonge Street 0 1
East Lansing 0 1
Ohio Valley 0 1
Emporium  0 1
Virginia 0 1
Bethesda 0 1

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Chicago Mobsters @ Hollywood Werewolves

ChicagoHollywood2020SERIES PREVIEW – These teams have history.  Hollywood entered the league in 2002 (took over a franchise in 2001 halfway thru the season and relocated for 2002) and since then these perennial powerhouses have only faced off 4 previous times – all in the ALCS.  Chicago has owned Hollywood, besting them in 2005, 2013, and 2017, while Hollywood was able to win in 2015.  Both these teams won over 100 games, so the series looks to be a well-matched one.
GAME #1 – Rich Hill (6-3 2.75 ERA) vs Charlie Morton (21-7 2.77 ERA)

The game is a well-pitched game with each starter trading zeroes into the sixth inning.  Freddie Galvis leads off the bottom half of the inning with a walk.  With Galvis on the run, Cristian Yelich slaps a single passed a diving Andrelton Simmons to place runners at the corners with no outs. Yelich steals second to put runners at 2nd and 3rd for Matt Chapman. Chapman rips a deep flyball to right, Danny Santana tracks it down and gets rid of the ball quickly.  Galvis is trying to score….the play at the plate…HE’S OUT!!! DOUBLE PLAY CHICAGO on the 9-2 play!!!  oh, those, MOBSTERS … they slay those WEREWOLVES and the go-ahead run …GALVIS just doesn’t have the wheels for that … and he’s not happy with the ump and is arguing… but the manager cools him down.  Yelich moves to 3rd on the play.  As the crowd settles down after giving it to the ump, Ketel Marte steps in.  Hill looks at third … he kicks and delivers … uh-oh! That ball is hit … way back … CHOO looks up….GONE!!! Marte puts Hollywood on the map with a 2-0 lead with a 2-out homer!  Morton is pulled after 6 scoreless and hands the ball over to the Hollywood bullpen.  First up in the 7th is Sam Tuivailala.   With 2-outs, Joey Votto doubles off the center-field wall, giving Chicago some life.  Alex Bregman follows.  TUIVAILALA delivers … it’s a shot to left-center … way back … YELICH jumps…it’s off the wall … MARTE grabs the ball … throws it in … VOTTO scores and BREGMAN will make second easily … back-to-back doubles by the MOBSTERS and the score is 2-1. That brings a pitching change with Nelson Cruz coming up.  Hollywood looks to their sole lefty, Adam Kolarek in and he gets Cruz on a fly to left to end the inning and the threat.  Hollywood goes from Joe Smith to Will T Harris as they close them out for a 1-0 series lead.

Hollywood 2, Chicago 1

W – Charlie Morton (1-0)
L – Rich Hill (0-1)
S – Will T. Harris (1)

GAME #2 – Julio Urias (8-2 2.75 ERA) vs Clayton Kershaw (18-5 2.68 ERA)

This game was a doozy; another pitcher’s duel.  Hollywood’s Hanser Alberto leads off the bottom of the 1st with a single to right.  He’s stranded at first.  In the bottom of the second, Paul Goldschmidt singles to left with 1-out and is wiped out by a Matt Chapman double-play.  Chicago gets their first hit in the 4th when Niko Goodrum towards right.  Kershaw settles down and gets out of it.  The game stays hitless into the 7th with Bregman leads it off against Kershaw.  Bregman swings..that ball is muscled to deep left … this one has a passport … adios, amigo it’s long gone! Chicago takes its first lead of the series at 1-0.  With 2-outs, Santana steps in.  The pitch … hit hard and deep … that ball’s hit hard…deep…it’s going for a ride … going back is MARTE … he’ll look but he won’t touch it … it’s long gone! Chicago makes it 2-0! Kershaw is pulled.  Chicago turns the game to the bullpen and Aroldis Chapman shuts the door in the 9th as Chicago evens the series at 1 game apiece.

Chicago 3, Hollywood 0

W – Julio Urias (1-0)
L – Clayton Kershaw (0-1)
S – Aroldis Chapman (1)

GAME #3 – Diego Castillo (5-5 3.26 ERA) vs Trevor Bauer (16-13 4.33 ERA)

In the pivot third game of the series, each team sends out the average starter hoping to grasp the series lead and onward to their aces.  Hollywood, upset with their offensive production turns to the same re-tooled lineup that won them the Division Series.  They opt for more offense and send catcher Tom Murphy out there instead of in-season starter, Christian Vazquez.  In the same surprising move, they also have him lead off.  Murphy doesn’t disappoint as he singles off Bauer to start the game.  With 1-out, Yelich singles to put runners at 1st & 2nd with no outs.  Then Bauer loses his control and walks Marte and Matt Olson, forcing in a run and giving Hollywood the early 1-0 lead.  The pitching coach comes out and settles him down to stop the threat there.  In the 2nd inning, Chapman leads off with a single and moves to 2nd on a wild pitch.  Alex Gordon steps in.  CHAPMAN moves quietly toward third … here comes the pitch … hit like a shot…  ARRAEZ waves on it … but it’s by him into right … CHAPMAN rounds third and he’ll score, giving Hollywood a 2-0 lead.  Bauer drops his head and Chicago looks distraught.  They get out of the inning and head to the bottom of the 2nd.  A look into the Chicago dugout and you see Nelson Cruz yelling at the players to pick their heads up.  “It’s only the 2nd inning and we are only down by 2”, he is heard saying.  Cruz steps in against Castillo.  The pitch comes in … and a long one … into left field … MARTE looks up … adios! good-bye! … arrivederci!  Cruz has injected new life into Chicago cutting the score to 2-1.  With one out, Shin-Soo Choo steps up and whales on one sending it over the center-field wall, tying up the game at 2!  The crowd is going wild!!!   The 3rd goes quietly and we enter the 4th.  With 1-out Galvis walks and Chapman doubles which set up Alex Gordon.  MOBSTERS playing for the out at first … the runners take their lead … he delivers it’s hacked high and far … deep into the right-field corner … could be trouble for CRUZ… it drops … both runners score … giving Hollywood the 4-2 lead.  Hollywood ends up building a 7-2 lead but was never really challenged.  They go on to win 12-6.

Hollywood 12, Chicago 6

W – Diego Castillo (1-0)
L – Trevor Bauer (0-1)

GAME #4 – Charlie Morton (21-7 2.77 ERA) vs Julio Urias (8-2 2.75 ERA)

Hollywood leads the series 2 games to 1 and hands the ball back to game 1 winner (their Ace-A) Charlie Morton.  He goes against Chicago’s game 2 winner Julio Urias.  The two starters exchange zeroes into the 4th inning.  Alberto singles to lead off the inning and he promptly steals second. With 1-out, Paul Goldschmidt steps in.  MOBSTERS playing for the out at first … ALBERTO takes his lead at third … URIAS cranks it up… GOLDSCHMIDT puts a charge into it … long run for CHOO..but he’d need wings to get to this one … kiss it goodbye! Paul GOLDSCHMIDT will circle the bases giving Hollywood a 2-0 lead. With Morton cruising, we move to the 6th inning still 2-0 Hollywood.  Urias, a little nervous pitching to Goldschmidt, walks him on four pitches.  With 1-out, Matt Olson steps to the plate.  Space on the right … URIAS comes home … and OLSON belts it deep to right..SANTANA retreats to the wall … does he have room? … his eyes are skyward and the ball is outta here! … a two-run dinger giving Hollywood a 4-0 lead! In the 8th inning, after Marte reaches on an error and Matt Olson steps in one more time.  JACKSON brings it to the plate … OLSON strokes this one … oh, forget about it … good-bye.. another two-run shot and the 2nd homer for Olson in this game!  Hollywood leads 6-0.  Morton goes another scoreless 8, following his game 1 scoreless 6, and Hollywood goes up in the series 3 games to 1.

Hollywood 6, Chicago 0

W – Charlie Morton (2-0)
L – Julio Urias (1-1)

GAME #5 – Clayton Kershaw (18-5 2.68 ERA) vs Rich Hill (6-3 2.75 ERA)

Hollywood on the brink of the World Series sends Ace-B, Clayton Kershaw to the mound to take on Game 1 starter Rich HillTom Murphy, still starting since giving the offense a shot in the arm in game 3 again leads off.  Let’s listen to the call.  MURPHY steps in….HILL into the wind … the swing…that ball is muscled to deep left … this one has a chance… CRUZ looks up … that ball is gone!!  MURPHY with the leadoff homer to give Hollywood a 1-0 lead!  The game stays that way into the 3rd inning.  Alberto singles with 1-out.  It’s followed by a Yelich hit-and-run, placing runners at the corners. Goldschmidt bloops a single over short, scoring Alberto and giving Hollywood a 2-0 lead.  After Marte strikes out, Olson hits a comebacker to Hill who air-mails it over Joey Votto’s head allowing Yelich to score making it 3-0.  Galvis follows with an RBI single and Hollywood extends to 4-0.  At this point, it was a foregone conclusion with Kershaw on the mound as he was nearly unhittable.  Hollywood takes on one more with Olson’s 3rd homer over the series and Tuivailala and Harris do what they did all year in closing out the game as Hollywood takes the series 4 games to 1!

Hollywood 5, Chicago 0

W – Clayton Kershaw (1-1)
L – Rich Hill (0-2)

SERIES SUMMARY –Hollywood’s pitching was the story, especially the starters who yielded 6 runs in 33.1 innings for a 1.62 ERA. Congrats to Chicago for their great season and series.  In the end, Hollywood’s pitching was a bit too much.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Columbus Explorers @ Pittsburgh Lumber Company

ColumbusExplorers09092016PittsburghSERIES PREVIEW – National League LCS – Pittsburgh Lumber Company (1st NL East 112-50) vs. Columbus Explorers (1st NL Central 110-52)These teams led the National League in wins by a big margin, but it was the Lumber Jacks who made several big deals down the stretch that gave them the horsepower to catch up and overtake the Explorers in wins – and they did it in the final week of the season.  And that gives them the home-field advantage. It also brought them hereafter facing the NL Wild Card Triple Creek Patriots who they dispatched in 5 games. Columbus also made some late-season acquisitions in efforts to bolster their squad in hope of staving off the Lumber Company charge and be able to keep up should they meet in the post-season. Well, they didn’t stave them off, but they still won the division with the 2nd best record and ended up playing the Sacramento Capitals and that was an epic 7 game series that was finally decided in the 12th inning of game 7!

So that brings up to the NL LCS – Pittsburgh and Columbus (about 3 hours by car)! The season series was close, 7-5 Pittsburgh, but most of their wins came in the latter part of the season after the retooling. So the Lumber Company – they made their own bats and lead the league in scoring with 902 runs (almost 100 more than the next team). Columbus was 142 runs behind that total. 2nd in homers (250) and well ahead of Columbus (217). And their average was .262 about 30 points higher than the league average and 23 points higher than Columbus. Columbus did beat them out in triples (by 6). Pitching they were 1 and 3 in the NL, but Pittsburgh’s era was 2.89 (a run better than the league average) to Columbus’s 3.25. Columbus outsaved them 63-50, but the Lumber Company had 97 quality starts to 77 for the Explorers.

Both teams want to be in this series – but both managers hoped it wouldn’t be this matchup. But that’s what we got, so let’s play ball!

GAME #1 – Mike Fiers (11-9 2.93) vs. Justin Verlander (23-3 1.93)

After Verlander gets Columbus in order in the 1st, the Lumber Company bats get going. Jorge Polanco opens up with a single. Anthony Rendon singles him to 2nd with 1 out and then Josh Bell doubles into the corner scoring both runners for a 2-0 lead. Good start for Pittsburgh and Verlander. It gets better in the 2nd. With 2 outs, Polanco again singles. Howie Kendriksricks follows and leans in to close and gets drilled with a pitch and wanders down to 1st. Rendon then looks at Fiers with a glare and takes his 1st pitch way out of the park for a 3 run homer (1) and a 5-0 lead! Fiers stays out, but it looks like his day will end very soon.

In fact, he leaves in the top of the 3rd. Ian Desmond leads off with the Explorers first hit, a double. Robinson Chirinos walks and sure enough, Fiers’s day is over. Tyler Flowers comes into PH and he smacks a 3 run PH homer (1) and his too was way out of the park.  Suddenly the 5-0 lead Verlander and Pittsburgh had is cut to 5-3.  In the 4th the lead gets cut to 5-4 when Charlie Blackmon homers (1).  And again in the 6th, Blackmon homers again (2) and Verlander has seen his big lead totally evaporate.

When Fiers left, Homer Bailey was called on to pitch and he goes 4 innings giving up 1 hit, no walks. Verlander pitches the 7th and then gives it over to several relievers. Likewise, the Explores turn to their bullpen and both teams are kept scoreless through the 9th, 10th, and 11th innings. Matt Shoemaker goes 3 innings, Kirby Yates goes 2 innings of scoreless relief.

Pittsburg’s Tyler Clippard comes in for the 12th and things get exciting. Enrique Hernandez leads off with a ph double! Dee Gordon bunts, but it’s up in the air and Clippard grabs it for the out. D.J. LeMahieu singles to RF toward the gap but Hernandez holds at 3rd not testing Judges’ arm. That could be a mistake as Trevor Story follows grounding into a 3-6-3 DP to end the threat. The bottom has thrills of its own. Rendon leads off against Steve Cishek with a double. Bell gets a free pass to face Judge, really? Good move, Judge fails to make contact on 3 swings. To Joey Gallo comes to bat and he gives a Cishek pitch a good ride, back, back, back, back, gone – 3 run walk-off home run (1) in the 12th to end game 1.

Pittsburgh 8, Columbus 5 (12 Innings)

GAME #2 – Julio Teheran (13-7 3.86) vs. Mike Clevinger (13-4 1.97) 

Clevinger controls the Explores through 3. In the bottom half things begin to heat up. Alex Avila leads off with a walk. Clevinger squares to bunt, Teheran fields it and Dee Gordon drops the throw covering 1st. Jorge Polanco grounds to Trevor Story, could be two, but Polanco beats the throw to 1st, 1 out runners on the corners. Greg Garcia then flies out to center and Avila tags and scores making it 1-0 Pittsburgh. Anthony Rendon then singles scoring Polanco and the Lumber Company ends up with 2 unearned runs in the 3rd for a 2-0 lead. Clevinger and Teheran then throw scoreless frames through 6 (although Kyle Ryan did come in to get the final out in the 6th helping Teheran). Teheran ends up going 5.2 innings, giving up 1 hit, 2 unearned runs, 8ks, but 5 walks.

Clevinger than gives up a leadoff homer in the 7th to Charlie Blackmon (3) and it’s 2-1. The next batter, Giovanny Urshela also homers (1) and the game is tied. Clevinger finishes the inning, giving up 4 hits, 2 of them homer, and 2 runs.

Well, as in game 1, the bullpens hold both teams scoreless the rest of regulation time and we again go to extra innings. Ken Giles comes in for the 10th and gets Columbus in order. Steve Cishek again is called on (the process of who’s available). He’s looking for redemption. He starts by grounding out Polanco. But Greg Garcia follows with a triple! Ian Desmond tried to make the sliding catch, but couldn’t. The infield is in for Rendon and he smacks a dying quail to end the game as Pittsburgh gets its 2nd straight extra-inning win.

Pittsburgh 3, Columbus 2 (10 Innings)

GAME #3 – Hyun-Jin Ryu (16-6 1.31) vs. Jordan Lyles (15-5 3.84)

A scoreless 1st is followed by a leadoff walk to Aaron Judge in the 2nd. Lyles gets 2 Ks but then Alex Avila lines one hard to right that moves Judge to 3rd. Ryu then comes up with 2 outs and bloops one toward short that gets over Trevor Story for a rbi single, helping his own cause as the Lumber Jacks scores first and lead 1-0 after 2. In the 6th they stretch it to 2-0 when Judge again starts the inning with a walk. Joey Gallo singles him to LF. David Peralta then grounds into a FC driving in Judge for his 2nd run and Pittsburgh lead 2-0.  

Pittsburgh is continuing with Ryu into the 8th. Robinson Chirinos opens the inning with a broken-bat single. Richie Martin comes into PR. Ian Desmond grounds out moving Martin to 2nd. Matt Carpenter comes into PH for Matt Shoemaker (2 IP, 2 walks and 0 runs). He grounds to short not moving up Martin. Asdrubal Cabrera comes up and oh my, he hammers one to CF that goes way over the wall for a game-tying two-run homer (1). Columbus has come back late to tie the game for the 3rd straight time.

And for the 3rd straight game, the game goes to extra innings. Ryu pitched the 9th and ends up giving up 5 hits, 1 walk, 10 ks, and those 2 runs. Lyles and Shoemaker pitched 8, and Liam Hendriks pitched the 9th – and the 10th giving up 1 hit and fanning 3. Sean Manea comes in for the Lumber Jacks to pitch the 10th. In a de ja vu moment, Enrique Hernandez hits an extra-inning leadoff double. Eric Haase fails to bunt him to 3rd and then flies out. Ian Desmond gets the IW and Brock Holt comes into PH for Hendriks. Manea’s first pitch is high and wide and goes to the backstop and Hernandez streaks to 3rd, Desmond to 2nd. Next pitch and Holt breaks his bat and the ball pops over 2nd into shallow right for a walk-off rbi single and it’s over, Columbus wins the game and cuts the series to 2-1!

Columbus 3, Pittsburgh 2 (10 Innings)

GAME #4 – Sonny Gray (10-9 2.94) vs. Mike Fiers (11-9 2.93)

Well, this game is different, Columbus scores first! After Gray gets the 1st 2 batters in the bottom of the 1st, Trevor Story works a walk. Charlie Blackmon then muscled a tight pitch and hits it into shallow RF then it rolls into foul ground and Blackmon ends up on 2nd with a rbi double. Giovanny Urshela then singles into LF scoring Blackmon and it’s quickly 2-0 Columbus in the 1st. Gray then gives up only 1 more hit in the next 5 innings and leaves after 6.

Fiers goes 4.1 innings but in the 5th trouble brewed big time. Alex Avila leads off with a double. Gray steps in to bunt, but Fiers walks him. Jorge Polanco then pops out for 1 out. But Howie Kendriksricks singles into RF, but lead foot Avila won’t test Juan Lagares and his canon arm. Too much going on for Fiers to stay in the game so Yusmeiro Petit comes in with the bases loaded with the task to keep Columbus in the lead. He starts by fanning Anthony Rendon – Rendon tempted getting ejected when he complained to the ump, but he got back to the dugout quickly enough to keep his spot in the lineup. Petit meanwhile looks pumped!! Josh Bell wants to test that pump and he swings for the fences, but as they say, it was all in his mind and he strikes out to leave the bases juiced. Petit then pitches the 6th and 7th keeping Pittsburgh in check, hometown fans turning up the volume with each pitch.

Aaron Bummer meanwhile comes in for Pittsburgh and pitches the 7th giving up nothing. Moving to the 8th and Columbus is setting up for the win. Adam Ottavino comes in. Josh Bell comes up with one out and again there is that big swing – but it’s more than just in his mind – it’s into the seats for a solo homer (1) and Pittsburgh suddenly only trails by 2-1! Aaron Judge then follows with a big double. Then in a bone head play by Ottavino he throws a pitch to Joey Gallo who hits it right back up the middle, Ottavino makes a terrific backhanded stab – but then throws it right past the first baseman and Judge gets to 3rd. Myles Straw is called on to PR for Gallo with David Peralta up. Peralta lofts a fly ball to LF for an out and Judges tags and scores to TIE the game.  Now it’s Pittsburgh’s turn to come from behind to tie it up late.  Bummer pitches a scoreless 8th and it’s 2-2 going into the 9th.

Columbus looking to change pitchers – get Ottavino out – and they call on Steve Cishek, REALLY?  He dropped the 2 extra-inning games in Pittsburgh. But at home, he gets a 1-2-3 inning! So Hector Neris will face LeMahieu, Story, and Blackmon in the 9th. Story rips a 1 out double to right-center. Pittsburgh won’t give Charlie Blackmon and chance to hurt them and walk him. Tyler Flowers doesn’t have it in him this time and pops out for the 2nd out. Asdrubal Cabrera steps up and pops one to RF that hum, might have a chance – it’s deep, high, and hard and Judge just watches it sail way over the wall for a walk-off 3 run homer (2). That’s the 2nd walk-off 3 run homer in the 1st 4 games – each team with one – and the series is TIED!    And it’s the first game that doesn’t go into extra innings.

Columbus 5, Pittsburgh 2

GAME #5 – Justin Verlander (23-3 1.93) vs. Julio Teheran (13-7 3.86)

Game fives are obviously pivotal. And this series has been crazy, but managers shaking their heads. Ebbs and flows, drama galore. To it’s the rented BIG ARM against the inning pounder who has shaky control.

Well, it’s the rented arm who flinches 1st. Charlie Blackmon leads off the 2nd with his 4th homer of the series! And for the 2nd time, Giovanny Urshela follows him with a back-to-back homer (2) and Columbus is up 2-0.

Then in the 3rd when Teheran walks Howie Kendriksriks to start the inning, Columbus turns to Homer Bailey for relief. Anthony Rendon walks on 4 pitches and Columbus yanks Bailey – this game is important!  Matt Shoemaker comes in, he’s been near flawless in this series and he gets Josh Bell to bounce into a DP. He walks Aaron Judge but then gets Joey Gallo swinging to end the threat. He goes on to pitch 2 more scoreless innings.  He leaves in the bottom of the 5th for a pinch hitter – Matt Carpenter and Carpenter is hit by Verlander.  And Carpenter leaves the game and will miss 7 days!  Not good for a roster thin Columbus.

But Columbus did have some good things happen in the bottom of the 4th. Blackmon leads off with a double. Urshela pops out then Brock Holt singles to RF and Blackmon comes around to score for a 3-0 lead.

In the 5th more bad things happen to Columbus. With 1 out, Howie Kendriksriks pops one foul on the 3rd base side. Robinson Chirinos waves off Asdrubal Cabrera – they collide and the ball drops. Cabrera is hurt and he has to leave the game – word is he’ll miss 7 days!  Wow, the Explorers are losing players left and right. Urshela moves to 3rd and Juan Lagares moves to RF – defensively they up their game.

So, it’s 3-0 Columbus after 5 and J.B. Wendelken (2.1 innings) and Liam Hendriks (1.2 innings) keep it that way as Columbus gets a 5 pitcher shutout over the Lumber Company and take a 3-2 series lead back to Pittsburgh. Two straight NL series where the home teams have won the 1st 5 games (and in the COL-SAC series, the home team won them all).

Columbus 3, Pittsburgh 0

GAME #6 – Jordan Lyles (15-5 3.84) vs. Mike Clevinger (13-4 1.97) 

Clevinger opens up strong but gives up a 2 out single to Trevor Story in the 1st. The bottom half, things heat up quickly as Jorge Polanco walks to lead off, and then Howie Kendrick works a free pass. Lyles then gets Anthony Rendon to whiff and Josh Bell saunters into the box and promptly grounds into the 4-6-3 DP to end the threat. After Gio Urshela takes a Clevinger pitch to the wall for a loud, long out, the Explorers bow out of the 2nd. But the scoring finally gets underway in the 2nd when David Peralta hits a booming homer (1) over the right-centerfield wall and the home crowd erupts as the Lumber Company grabs an early 1-0 lead.

And then the bats from both sides go dormant again. 3rd inning blanks, 4th inning blanks but in the 5th Urshela leads off with his 9th hit of the series, a single to RF. Brock Holt then lays down a perfect bunt moving Urshela to 2nd. But Clevinger stares in at Ian Desmond and fans him looking. But Robinson Chirinos smashes a big double to left-center driving in the tying run!  Looked like some 2x4s were smashed on that one. Lyles continues his mastery in the 5th but does give up a double to Peralta off the wall, he nearly had his 2nd homer of the game. But Alex Avila and Clevinger strikeout to end the inning. As an aside, former Explorer Avila has been hampering the Columbus running game with his quick arm from behind the plate. and Clevinger does the same in his 6th frame. He’s 1 for 2 in OCS – but they aren’t running on him like they want to.

Bottom of the 6th, Polanco leads off and walks. Kendrick follows and grounds into a DP. Rendon gets into the box and BLASTS one to center, Blackmon turns but all he does is watch. The 2x4s make a big racket in the stadium as the home team regains the lead, 2-1. That was it for Lyles as he turns it over to the bullpen.  And the combination of Yusmeiro Petit and Liam Hendriks blanks the Lumber Company the rest of the day.

Same time, Clevinger works 8 innings, leaving for PH in the 8th. Kirby Yates comes in for the 9th and promptly gives up a leadoff single to D.J. LeMahieu. Enrique Hernandez comes into PR. Will this be a typical 9th inning run around the bases for Columbus?  Trevor Story up and he bunts!  And the sacrifice works and Charlie Blackmon is up 1 out, the runner at 2nd. Yates is told to walk him to face Urshela (hitting over .400). Yates stays in and gets Urshela to fly out to shallow center for the 2nd out and not deep enough to move up the runners. The crowd lets out a collective sigh and then begins to pound the 2x4s again. Brock Holt up and Pittsburgh turns it over to Sean Manaea. This is the same batter-pitcher combination that ended game 3 when Holt singled in the winning run. The pitch, he hits it, but it’s a high pop that Garcia gobbles up and Manaea saves the game and Pittsburgh staves off elimination and regains the home-field advantage as we move to game 7 all tied up 3-3!  Each team managed just 4 hits and the Lumber Company bounced into 3 DPs!

Pittsburgh 2, Columbus 1

GAME #7 – Mike Fiers (11-9 2.93) vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (16-6 1.31)

The only thing we know for sure about game 7 is there won’t be a game 8. The crowd has their Lumber Company 2x4s and after game 6 they added another notch to them – 7 so far for this playoff season – and they’re ready to notch 8! The 3 Columbus fans that we’re able to sneak in past the Pittsburgh security are still alive (as is the team) and they are making a lot of noise near the famed saw dust section (and avoiding a lot of swinging 2x4s). Both managers are up for this one as they square off head-to-head.

Ryu gets 2 ks in a 1-2-3 first and Fiers does him one better with 3 ks in his half. In the 2nd, Charlie Blackmon leads offlining one to RF for a single. Giovanny Urshela follows and flies out to the track in CF. Robinson Chirinos gets nailed in the shoulder moving Blackmon to 2nd. Columbus faithful (those 3 fans and the manager) note that a tired Alex Avila did not make the start and they face Carson Kelly behind the plate – will that make a difference? Ian Desmond then faces Ryu and he smacks a single to RF that goes off Aaron Judge’s glove, Blackmon scores easily but when the ball goes wide, Chirinos breaks for home, and he scores and Desmond ends up on 3rd with a single and 2b error on Judge.  And Columbus grabs a 2-0 lead in the 2nd.

Fiers has a strong 2nd and another 1-2-3. Top of the 3rd Enrique Hernandez (starting at 1b with the injury-depleted Explorers still making adjustments), leads off and reaches on a Josh Bell error when the throw to first pops out of his glove. 2nd error for Pittsburgh this game! Hernandez then tests Kelly’s arm and wins with a SB. D.J. LaMahieu then walks. But Trevor Story whiffs for the 2nd time. Then with Blackmon up, the Explorers send Hernandez to 3rd – LeMahieu however doesn’t follow to 2nd.  And this time Kelly does his Avila impression and nails Enrique at 3rd for the 2nd out. Blackmon then follows with one jacked to deep left, Joey Gallo back, back, back, and he catches it with his back up against the wall. The crowd (and Pittsburgh manager John Niespodzianski) breathe a collective sigh and then begin to roar.

Bottom of the 3rd and Columbus up 2-0 David Peralta leads off with a single to RF. Pitcher Mike Fiers with 4 ks, 1 hit and no runs so far but Bill Schindel decides Fiers did his job and calls for Matt Shoemaker. His season-long strategy had been to use Shoemaker in relief and during the season he did a so-so job, but in the postseason he has been remarkable in long relief roles. So far in this series, he has pitched 8 innings giving up 1 hit (and 6 walks – that’s not so good), but no runs and none of the 3 inherited runners have scored).  So Matt will get the ball. He gets Kelly to pop up but then walks his counterpart Ryu to get a runner in scoring position. But he then induces Jorge Polanco to hit into a DP to end the threat.

In the 4th Urshela leads off with a double. Chirinos grounds him to 3rd. Ian Desmond is given the IW so Ryu can try his magic against Juan Lagares and it works as he bounces into an inning-ending DP! 3 up and 3 down in the bottom half as Shoemaker gets it done again.  Explorers exit the top half of the 5th in the order. In the bottom half, Howie Kendrick leads off with a double. Kevin Newman comes into PR for him. Josh Bell works Shoemaker for a walk but then Shoemaker fans David Peralta, 1 out. Carson Kelly pops out for the 2nd out and David Freese comes into PH for Ryu and he draws a walk to load up the bags! Bottom of the 5th, 2 out, bases loaded, down 2-0 in game 7 and Jorge Polanco steps in against Shoemaker. He piles into the pitch, it’s going places in right, Lagares races to the wall and he PICKS IT CLEAN for the 3rd out. The groan resonates throughout Pittsburgh. Schindel begins to breathe again!

Story leads off the Columbus 6th and strikes out against Tyler Clippard the new Lumber Company pitcher. That’s 3 whiffs for Story. Aaron Bummer then comes in to face Blackmon and Charlie takes it deep to RF – it rattles the wall and it’s a stand up double. Urshela then grounds out moving Blackmon to 3rd and with 2 outs, Hector Neris is called on to face Chirinos and pops him out. Shoemaker is asked to go a 4th inning and he responds getting Judge and Anthony Rendon. Then Joey Gallo loops one to RF, Lagares races in, coming hard and he nabs it just above the grass for the 3rd out.

So we go to the 7th and Ian Desmond leads off with a double to right-center. Schindel playing small ball has Lagares up there bunting. He lays down a great bunt, Neris fields it and throws it to Newman covering first – but he throws it into RF and Desmond scores, Lagares ends up on 2nd and the Lumber Company has committed their 3rd error of the game-tying the total for the first 6 games. And Columbus has a 3-0 lead! Neris leaves, Sean Manaea comes in to face – yup, Brock Holt who pinch hits for Shoemaker. Holt bunts moving Lagares to 3rd with 1 out. Hernadez up and he pops it up in front of home plate, Kelly circles under it and he drops it! Hernandez gets to 2nd, Lagares had to hold, and that’s Pittsburgh error #4!  Columbus is ready to pounce big time especially with LaMahiue and Story coming to the plate. But LaMahiue continues his spotty postseason hitting and pops out. Story on the other hand ropes one hard to RF. Aaron Judge gets the late start, its got extra bases written all over it, but Judge is tall and he goes hard after it and at the last moment reaches over his should and makes the falling catch for the final out and saves at least 2 more runs. But Columbus now has a 3-0 lead.

So, it’s game 7, up 3-0, 7th inning, Schindel decides to give the ball to Liam Hendriks! Who wouldn’t in this situation? Kevin Newman didn’t mind and he leads off with single to RF. Josh Bell follows with a double to right and Newman didn’t test Lagares and stops at 3rd. David Peralta then works Hendriks for a walk. Schindel is seeing a nightmare, but he sticks with Hendriks. Carson Kelly then pops out – 1 down. Greg Garcia into PH for Manaea and he lines it hard to RF, Newman scores, but they hold Bell at 3rd. So there is 1 out, bases still loaded and the score is now 3-1 Columbus and Hendriks is told he has to keep pitching. Polanco up, Columbus looking for the DP, but Polanco has other ideas and he clobbers one to RF that is going places – except Lagares catches up to it and leaps and picks it clean for the 2nd out. Bell tags and scores easily and it’s 3-2 Columbus instead of 5-3 Pittsburgh as Lagares again makes a big play at the wall! The inning finally ends when Aaron Judge whiffs for the 3rd out.  But it’s now a game again as Pittsburgh trails 3-2, home fans are way back into it and the top of the 8th is raucous.

Taylor Rogers takes the mound in the 8th and he fans Blackmon, pops up Urshela but Chirinos singles to LF. But he’s stranded when Desmond grounds out. Schindel keeps Hendriks out for the 8th and he gets Rendon to ground out. But then in what was a groan in Columbus that everyone in Pittsburgh could momentarily hear, Joey Gallo connects that was a big no-doubter as the ball sails way over the wall for his 2nd homer of the series and he TIES it up, 3-3 in the 8th. After the momentary load groan from Columbus, the crowd erupts, and the 2x4s are in full chorus.  And why not, game 7 is shaping up just like 5 of the previous 6 games.  It’s going down to the wire. Newman then fans for out 2 and Bell flies out to CF to end the 8th, but Pittsburgh got the run and got 3 runs off Liam Hendriks to tie it up going into the 9th.

Rogers comes to the mound for the 9th and Lagares leads off with a line drive to short that makes it to LF for his 1st hit of the series. Hendriks due to bat but is called back for pinch hitter Tyler Flowers. Heck, why not Flowers he’s already got 1 PH homer this series. But he’s called on to advance Lagares and the hit and run play is called for. Lagares goes, the pitch comes in and Flowers takes it to RF to advance him. However, the ball had different ideas and it goes deep to right, deep to right, Judge to the wall and it’s bye-bye baseball. Flowers hits a 2 run PH homer (2) in the top of the 9th and suddenly Columbus leads 5-3!  You could hear a pin drop (except in the sawdust section where the 3 Columbus fans are going nuts).

Rogers reshapes the mound, and get Hernandez for out 1. Kenley Jansen then comes in and gets outs 2 and 3. So we go to the bottom of the 9th with the anticipation of another late rally, what will Pittsburgh do? Whatever it is, they will have to do it off Yusmeiro Petit who comes in for the 9th. This is his 4th appearance and he’s given up nothing to the Lumber Company so far. Peralta leads of grounds out. Myles Straw comes into PH for Kelly and he flies out to Lagares in short RF. That brings up Ryan Braun to PH for Jansen. Petit and Flowers get their signals straight and Petit freezes Braun at the plate for a series end whiff and Columbus pulls off the big win and takes the NL Pennant!! The 3 fans escape security and join the Explorers on the field for the celebration.  Outside the stadium, there is a big bonfire as the 2x4s are burnt up in flames.  Next year! Next Year! Is the chant.

Columbus 5, Pittsburgh 3

SERIES SUMMARY –4 Pittsburgh errors in game 7 and that lead to 3 unearned runs for Columbus.

Series stars and stats. We already touched on the defensive gaffs in game 7 – but those 3 unearned runs were the only ones given up in the 7 games. Both teams hit under .200 (.190 for COL, .178 for PIT) and the Explorers outscored the Lumber Company 24-20 in the series and actually outhomered them 10-6 and that was a key weapon. Columbus showed a big weakness with control walking 38 batters during the series while drawing only 15 of them off the Pittsburgh staff (and several of those were IWs).   Both teams scored 45% of their runs from the 7th inning on.  Amazing when you think about the bullpens these teams have.

Individual stars – Anthony Rendon led the Lumber Company attack. 2 homers, 6 RBIs and a .357 average – 10 hits! For Columbus Matt Shoemaker was clutch. 12 innings, 2 hits (a glaring 9 walks), and in spite of all those walks, he gives up NO runs and he gets 1 of the wins. It was tough not to award him the MVP homers. And Tyler Flowers – 6 abs and two of them were PH homers for 5 RBIs. Then we look at Giovanny Urshela – 10 for 26 and a .385 average with 2 homers and 3 RBIs.  But that was topped by Charlie Blackmon who also was 10 for 26, .385 and 4 homers and 5 RBIs. The voting was close but turns out the MVP honors are shared by Shoemaker who kept them in games and Blackmon who provided clutch hitting throughout.

CONGRATULATIONS go out to John Niespodzianski who terrorized the NL with his dominant pitching and crushing hitting.  And he made all the moves to get his team in this position. Columbus is amazed at the outcome, very pleased, but the Lumber Company was a terrifying opponent to have to take on. Columbus leaves happy, will get Asdrubal Cabrera and Matt Carpenter back soon, and look forward to a fun World Series.

2020 NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES #2

Sacramento Capitals @ Columbus Explorers

SacramentoColumbusSERIES PREVIEW –The Explorers (1st NL Central, 110-52) vs. the Capitals (1st NL West, 98-64) features a couple of teams split the season series 6-6. And in every category, the Capitals were just a bit better. Batting, the Caps hit .250 to Columbus’s .239, 226 homers to 217, 93 SBs to 84. But the Explorers did score more runs, 760 to 724.

Pitching, again the Capitals have slight leads with a 3.15 era to 3.25 for Columbus, 1582 Ks to 1332, and 183 homers given up to 200 by the Columbus pitchers. The one pitching area where Columbus excels is the bullpen – 2.48 era to 3.43 for Sacramento, 63 saves (16 BS) to 46 saves (20 BS) and 99 holds to 69 for the Caps. In a short series, can that be a difference?

And the defense, well that goes to Sacramento as well with a .983 to .980 fielding percentage advantage and a big lead in fewer unearned runs allowed (60 vs. 73 for Columbus).

7 games (maybe) to separate the 2 with Columbus starting with the home-field advantage. But Sacramento has the starting pitching advantage including a couple starts by Tyler Glasnow, Max Scherzer, and 3 from Zack Greinke (23-6. 2.52 era AND .389/.417/1.350 batting split with 11 homers!).  That is if the series goes 7 games.

GAME #1 – Zack Greinke (23-6 2.52) vs. Mike Fiers (11-9 2.93)

The game starts out very tight with the pitchers performing well. But Columbus scores 1st in the 3rd when Robinson Chirinos (late-season pickup) opens with a single and moves to 2nd on a Fiers sacrifice. With 2 outs, D.J. LaMahieu catches one in the league and Trevor Story (another late-season pickup) bloops a rbi single down the RF line for a 1-0 Columbus lead. Still 1-0 after 5, Columbus begins to make some defensive moves and brings in Matt Shoemaker to take over for Fiers (5 ip, 3 hits, no runs). But Shoemaker is good for 1 inning and then in his 2nd he gives up a lead-off homer to Corey Dickerson (1) and we have a tie ball game (and a Columbus blown save). Greinke continues the grind going 8 and Adam Ottavino (another late Columbus add) blanks Sacramento in the 8th.  To the 9th, Liam Hendriks comes in and shuts down the Capitals. Pedro Baez is called on by Manager Skiles for the 9th.  Baez led the team with 28 saves and a sported a 2.71 era in the regular season. He gets Charlie Blackmon for 1, and Giovanny Urshela for out #2 and then walks Brock Holt. Late inning defensive sub (and late-season pick up) Juan Lagares steps up and Baez hits him! That brings up Chirinos and he rams one down the RF line past a diving Mitch Moreland and it rolls and rolls for a walk-off rbi double, 2-1 Columbus wins.

SAC 1-4-0 LP Baez (0-1)
COL 2-6-1 WP Hendriks (1-0)

Columbus 2, Sacramento 1

GAME #2 – Tyler Glasnow (4-3 1.51) vs. Julio Teheran (13-7 3.86)

The pitching edge goes to the Capitals and they build on the edge right from the start! Trey Mancini opens the game reaching on an E3 when the throw to the pitcher covering was a bit short! Then with 2 outs, Avasail Garcia hits a laser for a single. Corey Dickerson follows with the 1st of his 3 hits with a 2 run double and goes to 3rd on the play at home. Francisco Lindor then walks and Yadier Molina lines one through short for a rbi and it’s 3-0 Sacramento before Glasnow has to throw a pitch. But it gets better for the Capitals in the 4th. Two outs, Teheran still pitching and Mike Moustakas draws a walk. Garcia singles moving Moustakas to 2nd. Then Dickerson hits his 2nd double of the game and drives in 2 more – that’s 4 RBIs for him so far. And it’s 5-0 by now.

But that is about to change, somewhat. The bottom of the 4th Charlie Blackmon leads off with a double. With 1 out, Brock Holt grounds out moving Blackmon to 3rd. Dee Gordon then hits a dying quail to RF for a rbi. Then Robinson Chirinos lines one deep to RF, it’s got extra bases written all over it. Garcia chases it, but it clears the fence for a 2 run homer (1) and it’s now 5-3 Sacramento as Columbus gets back into the game. In the 5th, Steve Cishek (another late-season pickup) comes in for Columbus and holds the Capitals scoreless. Then in the bottom half, Asdrubal Cabrera leads off with a double. Glasnow gets D.J. LaMahieu and Trevor Story for 2 outs but then Blackmon singles driving in Cabrera and gets 2nd on a Trey Mancini miscue in the outfield. It proves costly as Giovanny Urshela doubles driving in Blackmon and the game is tied 5-5 after 5.

Cishek pitches one more inning and Yusmeiro Petit comes in for the 7th and nails down a perfect inning. Jandel Gustave comes in for the 7th runs into some issues. Cabrera leads off and reaches on a Mitch Moreland error at 1st. He then is safe at 2nd on a steal when LeMahieu misses the ball. LeMahieu than walks and that walk is followed by a Trevor Story 3 run homer (1) and an 8-5 lead. Liam Hendriks then tossed a perfect 9th for the save and 2-0 Columbus lead in the series.

SAC 5-7-2 LP Gustave (0-1)
COL 8-8-1 WP Petit (1-0) S Hendriks (1)

Columbus 8, Sacramento 2

Series shifts to Sacramento where the Capitals hope to turn things around!!

GAME #3 – Jordan Lyles (15-5 3.84) vs. Max Scherzer (14-10 3.05)

The game goes scoreless through 3 ½ but then Sacramento chips away at Lyles. It starts when Trey Mancini leads off and bangs a single to LF. With one out, Mike Moustakas steps in & takes a Lyles pitch the other way to deep LF, and Brock Holt turns and watches it not only go over his head but over the wall (1) as well, 2-0 Capitals! The 5th is scoreless and in the top of the 6th Robinson Chirinos leads off and takes Scherzer deep over the LF wall to cut it to 2-1. That was his 2nd homer of the series. Columbus then brings in Matt Shoemaker in the bottom half to keep it close. He starts out fanning Avisail Garcia but Mancini lines one down the RF line, fair, and it clears the fence for a solo homer (1) and the Caps regain the 2 run lead. Will it hold. Sacramento a bit leery of the bullpen keeps Scherzer on the hill for the 7th and Max responds by fanning Trevor Story to start the inning. Charlie Blackmon then draws a walk. After a flyout for the 2nd out, Holt steps up and bounces one to the right side that Mancini can’t reach. Starlin Castro knocks it down but it’s an infield single for Holt. Dee Gordon then comes up with 2 on, 2 outs, and grounds to Moustakas but he fires it right past Mancini at 1st and Blackmon scores to cut it 3-2 Caps. But Chirinos pops out to end the threat.

After Shoemaker couldn’t blank Sacramento in the 7th, the Explorers turn to Adam Ottavino. Francisco Lindor grounds out, Yadier Molina flies out but Castro gets a 2 out single for his 1st hit of the series. Scherzer is lifter for PHitter Wilmer Flores and he responds with a short fly to LF that falls in front of Holt and it bounds away from him and Castro scores making it 4-2. The 8th is a big double goose egg as Jacob Webb comes in for the Capitals and gives up a walk, but nothing else – in fact, Enrique Hernandez gets the walk and then gets nailed stealing. Sacramento failed to score in the bottom half so we move to the 9th.  Pedro Baez, the regular-season saves leader (28) gets the call and faces Story, Blackmon, and Urshela. He gets the 1st two but Urshela tags him for a single to right but Holt bounces into a 6-4 FC and the game is over and the Capitals have moved into the win column with a 4-2 victory. A 2-hitter from Scherzer!

COL 2-3-0 LP Lyles (0-1)
SAC 4-8-2 WP Scherzer (1-0) S Baez (1)

Sacramento 4, Columbus 2

GAME #4 – Homer Bailey (14-10 3.79) vs. Zack Greinke (23-6 2.52)

Opening 2 innings draw blanks as the teams do the 2 step, but in the bottom of the 3rd, Josh Reddick rips a single to RF that Urshela misplays, and Reddick ends up on 2nd. Mitch Moreland grounds one slowly up the middle for a single and Reddick scores to make it 1-0. Bailey leaves and Kyle Ryan comes in and he settled the Caps. But he starts the  4th and started it poorly. Mike Moustakas leads off with a solo homer (2) and it’s quickly 2-0 Sacramento. In comes Steve Cishek. He gets one but then Starlin Castro bunts one down 3rd which Asdrubal Cabrera misplays for an E5 and Castro is on first. Yadier Molina grounds out bringing up Greinke.  3rd out, right – NOPE. Zack homers (1) – no doubt about it – for 2 unearned runs and a 4-0 Capitals lead after 4. In the bottom of the 5th Francisco Lindor bloops a single and Moustakas launches his 2nd homer of the game (3) for2 more runs off Cishek and a 6-0 Sacramento lead.

Greinke goes 1 more inning, giving up 3 hits and 3 relievers blank Columbus for the final 2 innings and the Capitals win the game 6-0 and even up the series at 2 games apiece.

COL 0-3-2 LP Bailey (0-1)
SAC 6-9-0 WP Greinke (1-0)

Sacramento 6, Columbus 0

GAME #5 – Mike Fiers (11-9 2.93) vs. Tyler Glasnow (4-3 1.51)

In a 2-2 series is often the BIG game. Sacramento goes back with Troy Glasnow who had a 5-0 lead in game 2 only to lose that lead and later see his team go down 8-5 after a late-inning 3 run Columbus homer. So what does Glasnow do in this one? He misses a PERFECT GAME by 1 pitch. That pitch was resulted in a lead-off single in the 6th by Asdrubal Cabrera. That was the only blemish on his card and he fans 7 and pitches a complete game. Fiers was almost as good but in the 5th with 2 outs and no one on, Josh Reddick singles (his 2nd hit of the game). Corey Dickerson follows and blasts one way out the park for a 2 run homer (2) and a 2-0 lead. Turns out, that was all the scoring in the game as Matt Shoemaker and Liam Hendricks keeps it scoreless the last 3.  So Sacramento gets their 2nd straight shutout, 2-0, and takes a 3-2 series lead as they win all three in Sacramento. The Columbus bats have cowered real low under the weight of the Sacramento pitching and only get 8 hits and 2 runs in the 3 games on the West Coast.

COL 0-1-0 LP Fiers (0-1)
SAC 2-6-0 WP Glasnow (1-0)

Sacramento 2, Columbus 0

5 games into the series and the Explorers D.J. LaMahieu is hitless! But Josh Reddick (.417) and Corey Dickerson (.429) are leading the Capitals attack. So the series heads back to Columbus with the Capitals up 3 games to 2 and so far the home teams have won all the games.  Can that continue?

GAME #6 – Max Scherzer (14-10 3.05) vs. Julio Teheran (13-7 3.86)

Explorer fans drop to their seats quickly. Josh Reddick pops up into foul grounds to open the game and Trevor Story lets the ball pop out of his glove. Reddick then lines a single to RF. Mitch Moreland follows up with a big opposite-field homer (1) and two batters in it’s 2-0 Sacramento!  In the 2nd, Charlie Blackmon gets the home fans back on their feet when he leads off with a homer (1) over Avasail Garcia and over the wall and cut the score to 2-1. Columbus takes Teheran out after 3 for a pinch hitter and sends Matt Shoemaker out there to hold the Caps. Scherzer buckles down and after 5 the score still stands 2-1 Sacramento.

Liam Hendriks comes in for the 6th, and then in the bottom half of the inning, Trevor Story leads off hitting his 2nd homer of the series to tie the game.  However, Hendriks couldn’t hold the tie as Mike Moustakas leads off the 7th with his 2nd double of the game. One out later Starlin Castro singles and Moustakas slides around the tag at the plate and Sacramento regains the lead, 3-2.

We move to the bottom of the 8th and D.J. LaMahieu leads off, still hitless. Jacob Webb pitching and LaMahieu connects – it could be, but it falls a few feet short and rattles off the wall for a double and his first hit. However, Webb settles down and gets Story, Blackmon, and Giovanny Urshela to keep Sacramento up after 8, 3-2.

In the 9th with Adam Ottavino in for his 2nd inning, Francisco Lindor leads off with double deep to CF. With Moustakas up, Ottavino balks moving Lindor to 3rd, no outs. The infield is pulled in and Moustakas grounds to Story at short, Lindor breaks for home, the throw, the slide, the tag – OUT! One less run for Columbus to try and recover in the 9th. However, Garcia then works Ottavino for a walk and it’s runners at 1st and 2nd -1 out. But Ottavino gets Castro to fly out and Yadier Molina to pop out to end the top half. Sacramento just needs 3 outs to win the series and they give the ball to their closer Pedro Baez. Well, he doesn’t get it done as Ian Desmond leads off the bottom half with a solo homer (1) to TIE the game, 3-3. But then Baez shuts down the Explorers and it’s into FREE postseason baseball.

Yusmeiro Petit comes in for the 10th and pinch-hitter Melky Cabrera greets him with a line-drive single to RF. Delino DeShields, Jr. comes into PR, Eric Haase comes in to catch. Reddick grounds to the Petit who goes to 1st for the 1st out. Moreland then draws a walk to put runners at 1st and 2nd. Trey Mancini flies out and then Lindor grounds into a FC to end the inning. Jandel Gustave is not the Capitals hurler and he starts by fanning Enrique Hernandez. LaMahieu then dribbles one to 1stfor the 2nd out. Trevor Story up and he hits one to LF that might, it could, it carries to the wall, Mancini jumps – he comes down empty-handed and Story was hit a walk-off extra-inning homer (3), his 2nd of the game!  The series is now tied!

SAC 3-8-0 LP Gustave (0-2) BS Baez (1)     (10 innings)
COL 4-8-2 WP Petit (2-0)

Columbus 4, Sacramento 3 (10 Innings)

GAME #7 – Zack Greinke (23-6 2.52) vs. Jordan Lyles (15-5 3.84)

The TV sponsors and networks are thrilled, the series moves to 7 games, and so far filled with lots of drama.  Greinke makes his 3rd start – has been strong in both of the previous ones. Lyles will try to stay up with him as Columbus seeks to complete the comeback, nothing has been easy for them.

Both starters control the 1st two innings but in the 3rd, Lyles has to face Greinke in the batter’s box. Not good for Columbus but a big blasting boost for Sacramento as Zack hits his 2nd HOMER of the series and gives himself a big 1-0 lead! Lyles shrugs it off (but you can see he’s worried).  But he doesn’t allow anything else in his 5 innings.

Columbus fans begin to make noise the home team responds in the 5th. D.J. LaMahieu leads off with a single to RF. Giovanny Urshela singles him to 2nd. After Ian Desmond flies out, Robinson Chirinos launches one that Josh Reddick and Corey Dickerson begin to chase, but it’s no use as it flies into the stands for a 3 run homer (3) and a 3-1 Columbus lead!  So, it’s the top of the 6th, Columbus up 3-1, game 7, turn it over to Liam Hendriks! Greinke leads off and flies out, Reddick whiffs, but Corey Dickerson doubles to right-center. Trey Mancini walks and then Francisco Lindor singles to center field and drives in Dickerson and Mancini moves to 3rd, 3-2 Columbus. Mike Moustakas then bloops a single to TIE the game – and Hendriks is driven to the showers! Steve Cishek comes in, quells the riot, but the damage is done and the Capitals have climbed back to tie it up, 3-3!

Greinke has a new life with the score 3-3 as he comes out for the bottom of the 6th and he starts by getting Brock Holt to fly out. But then Trevor Story mashes a monster homer (4) and Columbus is back on top, 4-3. Greinke then gets Charlie Blackmon to ground out. But LaMahieu, who seems to have found a groove, doubles down the RF line. Urshela follows with a single to drive in LaMahieu and then he’s cut down at 2nd trying to advance. But the Explorers are now up 5-3. Columbus then brings in the defensive subs and after Cishek blanks the Capitals in the 7th, they turn it over to Yusmeiro Petit for the 8th (and 9th?). Jacob Webb and Pedro Baez gets the Caps through the 8th so we move to the 9th with Columbus up 5-3 needing 3 outs to wrap up the series!

Lindor leads off and grounds out on a great play by LaMahieu. But Mike Moustakas then drills a Petit pitch that clears Juan Lagares in RF and clears the wall, and Sacramento is now just one run behind. And when Avasail Garcia walks, Petit walks to the dugout and J.B. Wendelken trots in from the bullpen. Delino DeShields comes into PR, Eric Haase comes in to catch. With Yadier Molina up, DeShields steals 2nd. That was one of the very few successful steals in the game (and series – the catchers have been something more than amazing). Molina then takes advantage and delivers a base hit to RF, DeShields never hesitated and goes for home against Lagares great arm, but it was no contest as he crosses the plate standing up and the GAME IS TIED in the 9th.  The crowd moans! Still, just 1 out but Wendelken gets the next two batters so we go to the bottom of the 9th.

Oliver Drake comes in for Sacramento and he gets the first two batters but then pinch-hitter Asdrubal Cabrera singles but the rally ends when Matt Carpenter pops out.

Adam Ottavino comes in for the 10th and gets 2 Ks and a flyout. Drake still in and he gets 2 Ks and a flyout, so it’s on to the 11th!! Ottavino gives up a 1 out walk to Moustakas but that’s it. In the bottom half the Capitals turn the ball over to Kyle Hendricks and he sets down Columbus in order.

Top of the 12th – the crowd has not stood since the 9th, they are getting restless. Ottavino still hurling. Robinson Cano leads off with single and Schindel turns to a tired Matt Shoemaker and Mitch Moreland greets him with a single to RF moving Cano to 2nd.  Then Shoemaker throws the WP and the runners move up!  Columbus pulls in the infield and Josh Reddick steps up and chops one to 1st, only play is at 1st and the run scores and Sacramento takes the 6-5 lead and Moreland moves to 3rd! Corey Dickerson, along with Moustakas has been a wrecking machine, steps to the plate, and launches one high and far to RF. Lagares gets under it and catches it, Moreland tags, the throw – he’s OUT at home and that ends the top half – BUT THE CAPITALS TAKE the LEAD.

The bottom half, Hendriks looks to close it out. But Ian Desmond has other ideas and he leads off hitting a double off the wall in right-center! Cabrera then walks. Enrique Hernandez then comes into pinch hit for Shoemaker and he spanks one hard to the hole on the right side skipping it past Cano. Reddick fields it and Desmond heads for home, Cabrera heads for 3rd. The throw to the plate – SAFE – TIE GAME and Hernandez goes for 2nd on the play and is safe. So, no outs, runners at 2nd and 3rd, 12th inning, and it’s tied and it’s game 7. Capitals don’t bring in the infield as Eric Haase comes to the plate. Hendricks to pitch and throws it in and it gets by Molina for a PB, the ball goes to the backstop and Cabrera races home to score and WIN the GAME and WIN the series!!  The 12th inning is defined 1st for a WP and then by a PB!

SAC 6-10-0 LP Hendricks (0-1)   (12 innings)
COL 7-12-0 WP Shoemaker (1-0) BS Hendriks (1), Wendelken (1)

Columbus 7, Sacramento 6 (12 Innings)

SERIES SUMMARY –Well, this was an unbelievable series – both teams had big ups giving them momentum, but couldn’t follow up on it and then the final two in Columbus going to extra innings and then that wild 12th. Dickerson (.350, 2 hrs, 7 RBIs) and Moustakas (.296, 4 hrs, 7 RBIs) led the Capitals.  Story banged 4 homers and drove in 7 for the Explorers but the series MVP goes to Robinson Chirinos who hit .364, 3 homers, and 7 RBIs and seemed to be there when needed.

Congratulations to George on a great season and these games were all played live in one amazing sitting – and the heart rates of both managers took a long time to settle down.  Columbus now heads to Pittsburgh to take on the amazing Lumber guys who are prepped to batter their way to the World Series –  home town Columbus fans hope not and the quick drive between the two cities will be getting lots of use.

TRADING WILL
OPEN UP ON
TUESDAY 10/13/2020
AT 10:00 AM - ET!

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