Sunday, October 10, 2010

Game three of NLDS and Game four Tex-Rays recap

By Kshell

Today we saw three games played and saw two teams facing season elimination. One team was eliminated while another team forced a game five. As for the game that didn't have season ending implications well that game just saw lead changes in the bottom of the 8th then in the top of the 9th. So far this playoffs has been amazing to watch. With that here are the recaps.

Pena and Longoria bring series back home with 5-2 win over Texas

The Tampa Bay Rays when they had just lost game two and were heading to Texas down 0-2 appeared to be dead. Only one team has ever forced a game five after being down 0-2 and heading on the road. That team was the three time defending World Series champion the New York Yankees in 2001 over Oakland A's.

The Rays offense appears to have woken up after being in a slump for the first two games and 7 innings of the third game. The Rays pounded out 12 hits and had scored 5 runs by the the fifth inning. Carlos Pena who had a strong game three had another strong game going 2 for 4 with an RBI. Evan Longoria was 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBI's.

This has been a nightmare last two games for the Rangers. The Rangers are the only major league baseball franchise to not have a postseason series win. It was looking like that streak was ending then the Rangers blew an 8th inning lead in game three and got blown away in game four losing 5-2 but trailing 5-0.

The Rangers season now rides on the hopes of Cliff Lee. Lee is a hired gun for the Rangers who will most likely lose him to free agency at the end of the year. These are the type of games why Texas traded away their top prospects for Cliff Lee. The Rays will be throwing David Price who was off his game in game one. They are hoping Price will rebound from that tough start and go back to the Cy Young calibar of pitcher he was in 2010. One thing is for sure the New York Yankees are excited this series has gone five games. While the Yankees get to set up their rotation both teams will have used up their ace in game five meaning Price or Lee won't be able to pitch until game three.

Giants rally in the 9th to take series lead with 3-2 win over Braves

The Giants were one strike away from blowing back to back games to the Braves. The Giants had an incredible rally after it had appeared they had blown the game in the 8th inning for the second consecutive game.

The Giants were clinging to a 1-0 lead over the Braves in the 8th inning led by the great pitching of Jonathan Sanchez who gave up just one hit through 7 innings and struck out 11. Sanchez allowed just his second hit of the game in the 8th inning. With a runner on first and only one man down, Bobby Cox decided to pinch hit for game two hero Rick Ankiel for the right handed Troy Glaus. Thats when Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled Sanchez for Sergio Romo. Cox then pinch hit for Glaus with left handed hitter Erik Hinske. Hinske has appeared in the last three world series with the 2007 Boston Red Sox, 2008 Tampa Bay Rays and 2009 New York Yankees. Hinske hit a pinch hit two run home run to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. Romo didn't record an out and gave up two runs in the game two blown game.

The Braves turn to rookie sensation Craig Kimbrel for the save since Billy Wagner was hurt. Kimbrel with two outs and a runner on base had Freddy Sanchez with two strikes. He was one strike away from getting the save but Sanchez ripped a base hit up the middle to give the Giants first and second with two outs. Cox then went with lefty Mike Dunn who has pitched just 23 innings in his major league career to face Aubrey Huff. Huff ripped a base hit to right field which allowed Ishikawa to tie the game up at 2-2. Cox then went with Peter Moylan to face Buster Posey. Moylan got Posey to ground out to second base only Brooks Conrad had the ball go in between his legs allowing Sanchez to score the go ahead run. Conrad that was his third error of the game.

Giants closer Brian Wilson shut down the Braves in the ninth to regain home field advantage back and take a 2-1 lead in the series. The Giants had they lost this game would be put in a tough spot on to pitch Lincecum on short rest or not. Now they can save Lincecum on full rest for a game five if it comes to that. This was a huge win for the Giants and the Braves which they have proven they can do must find a way to overcome this hard loss. Game four is tomorrow and that could be be Bobby Cox last game ever as manager.

Cole Hamels pitches a complete game shutout in sweep of the Reds 2-0

Cole Hamels shuts down the Cincinnati Reds who were playing in their first home playoff game since 1995. Hamels was in 2008 playoff mode where he went 4-0 during that playoffs. Hamels threw a complete game shutout while striking out nine. Not bad for a third starter.

The Phillies only scored two runs today and managed to shut down the Reds offense who led the National League in hitting. The Phillies held Joey Votto to a horrendous 1 for 10 on the series. The Reds also committed another two errors today costing them a run. The Reds were introduced to playoff baseball having been competive in games two and three but not being able to turn that into wins.

The Phillies can now line up their rotation for the NLCS. The Phillies will be making the NLCS for the third consecutive year and given how Halladay and Hamels have pitched there is no reason to think they can't advance even further.

The Phillies had two complete game shutouts by their pitchers in this short series and with how Roy Oswalt pitched for the Phillies they are still the team to beat. The Phillies will host game one of the NLCS with Roy Halladay so they will be sitting pretty good.

What we learned today was homefield advantage means nothing as all three road teams won today. In fact in the American league the road team is 6-1 this playoffs. We have seen some dramatic comebacks in late inning and some terrific pitching.

Two series are already wrapped up and we still have two more to go. The Braves will be facing elimination tomorrow while the Rays will be hosting another game at home vs the Texas Rangers in a do or die game five on tuesday.

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