The 2017 postseason has had a little bit of everything. Want a dramatic late-inning rally? We've got it. A historic walk-off dinger? Sure. Endless shenanigans? You know it. From high drama to high comedy, October has hit just about every point on the emotional spectrum. And, in accordance with the bylaws of the Baseball Gods, it's also been extremely weird.
If baseball has taught us anything, it's that any given play could provide something no one has ever seen before -- and this postseason has been no exception.
Aaron Judge runs into your everyday 9-4-replay-replay-6 putout
Yes, you read that right: During ALCS Game 4 on Monday, Aaron Judge was eventually ruled out on a play that featured not one but two replay reviews. Allow us to explain.
With Gary Sanchez at the plate, Judge took off trying to steal second base. But Sanchez popped one up to shallow right-center, and by the time Judge realized where the ball was, he was already rounding second. Despite a mad dash back to first, he was initially called out:
But we're just getting started. Joe Girardi challenged the call, and upon further review the umpires ruled that Judge beat first baseman Yuli Gurriel back to the bag. So Judge was safe ... until A.J. Hinch challenged, having noticed that Judge neglected to retouch second base on his way back to first.
Realizing that the Astros were about to successfully appeal to second, Girardi had one final trick up his sleeve: He told Judge to start running for second before Houston could throw the ball over.
The attempt was unsuccessful, but everyone involved gets an A for effort.
Rafael Devers provides the postseason's first inside-the-park homer
The Red Sox had their backs against the wall in ALDS Game 4 against the Astros: Down 2-1 in the series, Boston entered the bottom of the ninth trailing, 5-3, just three outs away from elimination. Things looked grim ... until Devers lifted a fly ball to deep center:
George Springer tried to scale the Green Monster, but he couldn't make the play. From there, the race was on -- and over the next few seconds, just about every Houston outfielder would end up on the ground:
Yu Darvish and Wade Davis apply to become #PitchersWhoRake
Neither Darvish nor Davis was particularly known for their abilities at the plate -- that is, until the NLCS.
First up was Darvish, he of the career .129 batting average. In the top of the sixth of Game 3, the Dodgers were hoping to extend their 3-1 lead, loading the bases with two outs. Though Darvish had been impressive on the mound to that point, this was a critical point in the game, and the conventional wisdom went that manager Dave Roberts would send a pinch-hitter up looking to break the game open.
But oh, how the conventional wisdom was wrong. Roberts stuck with his pitcher, and four pitches later, Darvish had an RBI walk -- and one heck of a bat flip:
Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. couldn't believe it:
Not to be outdone, Davis stepped to the plate in Game 4 the next night, armed with Kris Bryant's bat and ready to do some damage -- or, at least, foul off a whole bunch of pitches:
Davis fouled off five straight pitches from Tony Cingrani, before finally being retired on the ninth pitch of the at-bat -- marking possibly the first time a Cub has gotten a standing ovation at Wrigley Field for striking out.
The grand slam and the challenge that wasn't
After dropping Game 1 of their ALDS against the Indians, the Yankees jumped on Corey Kluber in Game 2, taking an 8-3 lead into the sixth inning ... at which point it all went fantastically off the rails.
With men on first and second and two outs, Lonnie Chisenhall appeared to get hit on the hand by a Chad Green fastball. We say "appeared" because, well ...
Though replays seemed to show the ball hitting Chisenhall's bat rather than his hand -- which would have been an inning-ending strike three -- Girardi neglected to challenge the call.
So of course the next batter, Francisco Lindor, went yard:
Jose Lobaton gets picked off first ... barely
Trailing, 9-7, in the bottom of the eighth of a do-or-die NLDS Game 5 against the Cubs, the Nationals tried to put together one more rally to save their season. Two walks got things started, and after singles from Michael A. Taylor and Jose Lobaton, Washington had cut the lead to just one and had the tying run in scoring position with Trea Turner at the plate.
And then, in a flash, it was over:
Though Lobaton got back to the bag in time, he slipped off just long enough for Anthony Rizzo to apply the tag. But really, that was but one bit of weirdness from a game that had more twists and turns than a roller coaster. Speaking of which ...
The entire fifth inning of NLDS Game 5
If you're wondering how an entire inning could qualify as a weird moment, just wait. Holding a 4-1 lead in the fifth, Dusty Baker decided to replace struggling Washington starter Gio Gonzalez with Max Scherzer -- on two days' rest.
Unfortunately, Mad Max didn't have his best stuff, surrendering three straight hits including a go-ahead two-run double from Addison Russell. And then things got really, really weird:
For those keeping score at home, the next four Chicago batters produced 1) an intentional walk, 2) a passed-ball third strike compounded by a wild throw to first from Matt Wieters (who complained of interference from Javy Baez), 3) catcher's interference on Wieters and 4) a hit-by-pitch.
Joe Maddon gets heated
Maddon is not usually thought of as a particularly fiery manager, but this NLCS has produced two particularly bizarre plays that resulted in him getting ejected.
First, in Game 2, the Cubs thought they'd thrown Charlie Culberson out at home plate on a great throw from Kyle Schwarber. Upon review, however, the call was changed -- Willson Contreras had stuck his leg out and blocked the plate:
Maddon got his money's worth after the call was reversed -- much as he would in Game 4 on Wednesday night, when it appeared that Wade Davis had struck out Curtis Granderson with Chicago nursing a one-run lead in the eighth. But again, the original call was changed:
And to think -- all this weird baseball, and we haven't even reached the World Series yet.