The Rundown: Bizarre Night in Houston, Kershaw Gives Clutch Performance in LA, Joe West Back in Spotlight Again


I apologize for the length of this post. There’s so much to absorb in the Red Sox’ victory over the Astros last night. Their 8-6 win in Houston gives them a 3-1 series lead and the ability to clinch on the road this evening.

In the bottom of the 1st inning, it looked as though Mookie Betts was about to make a spectacular, home run-robbing catch until a fan reached for the ball as Betts extended above the right field wall. Umpire Joe West called fan interference and a replay ruling upheld the call, denying Jose Altuve of the game-tying tater. I believe Cowboy Joe got the call correct. Despite the fact that Betts’ glove was clearly closing, he was touched by at least one fan, though it’s tough to say if the fan reached over the wall into the field of play.

Five of the Astros’ 11 hits last night were for extra bases, but they stranded 13 runners. Alex Bregman lined out with the bases loaded against Craig Kimbrel in the 9th inning, securing the first six-out save of the closer’s nine-year career. It was a highlight catch by Andrew Benintendi, saving the day for the Red Sox and Kimbrel, whose shaky outings look like an ongoing audition to pitch for the Cubs next season.

Houston pitchers walked seven batters and hit three. They could not stop nine-hole hitter Jackie Bradley, Jr., whose nine RBI this series leaves him as the early front-runner for series MVP.

Justin Verlander, who is 6-1 with a 2.44 ERA in eight postseason appearances for the Astros, gets the start tonight. The Red Sox named David Price as their starter. Chris Sale is still unavailable as he recovers from a stomach illness.


In Los Angeles, the Dodgers needed a big-time performance from ace Clayton Kershaw to keep from falling behind 3-2 in the NLCS, heading back to Milwaukee. Kershaw delivered, relying on his devastating slider and curveball. He allowed just three hits in seven innings with nine punch-outs.

This game was not without a little controversy of its own. Brewers manager Craig Counsell started Wade Miley and lifted him after a five-pitch walk to Dodgers leadoff batter Cody Bellinger, a move that left announcer John Smoltz speechless.

It looked as if Counsell might have tried to bait the Dodgers into loading up their lineup with right-handed hitters to face the left-handed Miley. Roberts countered by sticking with his mostly left-handed lineup to prevent exploitation. “We were prepared for anything,” Roberts said.

Kershaw struggled early but escaped a 32-pitch 3rd inning with a bases loaded strikeout of Jesus Aguilar.

Los Angeles tied the game in the 5th inning on an Austin Barnes single, and Max Muncy hit a go-ahead single in the 6th inning for the defending NL champs. Kershaw held the lead, scoring an insurance run after walking in the 7th before exiting.

Game 6 will be played at Miller Park in Milwaukee on Friday evening. Miley gets the start for the Brewers while the Dodgers have Hyun-Jin Ryu slated to take the bump as LA tries to win the series.

Playoff News & Notes

Cubs News & Notes

Though free agency is not the only option for the Cubs to make improvements to their roster this winter, my wish list is short and simple: Sign Bryce Harper, Adam Ottavino, and Martin Maldonado.

There’s one question simmering under the radar in Cubs circles when it comes to this winter: How will the team solve the shortstop conundrum?

With Joe Maddon entering the final season of the five-year contract he signed with the team in 2014, agent Alan Nero says that there is “no urgency on his client’s part to get a new extension signed.”

Jason McLeod, who is a leading candidate to take over as GM in San Francisco, compares favorably with Brian Sabean, and though not a radical reinvention candidate, he would seem to slide seamlessly into San Francisco’s current infrastructure.

Baseball News & Notes

Major League Baseball released an official statement on Wednesday addressing concerns of cheating by stating that the matter was raised to the league commissioner’s office by several teams before the season even began.

In court documents filed this week in a lawsuit following the 2015 death of a fan who fell from the upper deck at an Atlanta Braves game, Nolan Ryan says guard rails at the Texas Rangers’ stadium had to be raised “to protect our fans from themselves.”

USA Today offers a look at baseball’s biggest modern day on-field villains.

The Yankees announced that Didi Gregorius had Tommy John surgery yesterday, which “went as expected.”  No further timetable was given in the press release announcing the operation.

Extra Innings

I can’t even…

They Said It

  • “[West] just said that it was fan interference on the field. And my argument was more about that the ball was leaving the yard, the trajectory was there. Jose paid kind of the ultimate price for something out of his control. I’m not sure if Mookie makes that catch. He’s a great athlete. But how it’s an assumed out, it’s unbelievable.”AJ Hinch
  • “Here’s the whole play. He hit the ball to right field. He jumped up to try to make a catch. The fan interfered with him over the playing field. That’s why I called spectator interference.” – Joe West
  • “What would you do as a fan? I would do the same. Trying to catch a ball. I don’t have anything against him. He’s another Astro[s] fan who’s rooting for us. I appreciate he was trying to help me.” – Jose Altuve
  • To go back to Milwaukee up 3-2 as opposed to being down 3-2 is huge for us. It’s been a battle every single game we’ve played them so far and we don’t expect anything different when we go back.” – Clayton Kershaw
  • “We’re in a good spot, man. We’re going back home, to me, in a position of strength.” – Craig Counsell

Thursday Walk Up Song

Don’t Get Me Wrong by The Pretenders. Seems appropriate.

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