KANSAS CITY -- Astros outfielder George Springer contributed to his club's offensive showing in Thursday's American League Division Series opener against the host Royals with his first career postseason home run.
The solo blast to left-center, coming in the fifth inning on a 3-1 fastball from Royals right-hander Chris Young, extended Houston's lead to two runs behind starter Collin McHugh.
KANSAS CITY -- With two solo homers against Astros right-hander Collin McHugh in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday night, Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales became the third player in franchise history to record a multihomer game in the postseason.
Morales connected on his first solo blast in the second inning on a 2-1 fastball from McHugh to get the Royals on the board, cutting their deficit to 3-1. The homer left the bat at 94 mph at a launch angle of 29 degrees, landing a projected 370 feet away, according to Statcast™.
KANSAS CITY -- The Astros struck quickly in their first Division Series since 2005, jumping on right-hander Yordano Ventura and the Royals for two runs in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium and tacking on another run in the second.
After Astros starter Collin McHugh got through the bottom of the second while allowing one run, the game was delayed on account of heavy rain at 8:27 p.m. ET.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Fan gets Arrieta's face shaved into his hair
By Michael Clair |
As someone whose cruel, cruel genes have stolen my hair from me at far too early of an age -- thanks a lot, Dad -- I can never have a hilarious and amazing gimmick 'do. That is, unless it somehow works with the already patchy patterns that are emerging atop my head.
So when I see people like this Cubs fan who is able to not only get Jake Arrieta and Arrieta's beard shaved into his head, but also the Cubs' logo with it, I can't help but feel extremely jealous.
KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura was going to be an option for a potential Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Astros on Monday (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1), and with a start shortened by rain in Game 1 on Thursday, it almost guarantees he'll get it.
Ventura went two innings, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts, before a 48-minute rain delay. The righty struggled early, loading the bases with nobody out in the first. Colby Rasmus and Evan Gattis had back-to-back RBI groundouts before Jose Altuve tacked on a two-out RBI single in the second for the Astros.
TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson's status for Game 2 of the best-of-five American League Division Series is up in the air after the star third baseman suffered a head injury during a collision at second base Thursday afternoon.
Donaldson was attempting to break up a double play in the fourth inning of Game 1 when he made a high slide into second base. Texas infielder Rougned Odor attempted to jump over Donaldson but instead kneed him on the side of the head. Toronto went on to lose, 5-3, at Rogers Centre.
TORONTO -- The Rangers could be without third baseman Adrian Beltre for Game 2 of the best-of-five American League Division Series and possibly longer after he left Game 1 with a strained lower back on Thursday.
Beltre had an anti-inflammatory injection during the game, a 5-3 Rangers win over the Blue Jays, and is listed as day to day. The Rangers are flying infielders Ed Lucas and Joey Gallo to Toronto just in case they need to replace him on the roster. If Beltre is unable to play Friday (12:30 p.m. ET/11:30 CT, MLB Network/Sportsnet), but the Rangers do not make a roster move, Hanser Alberto will likely start at third base. Alberto replaced Beltre on Thursday.
TORONTO -- Blue Jays starter David Price left a mark on Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor, right around his right shoulder with a cut fastball that never cut. Josh Donaldson left a little bruise, too, around Odor's kneecap, the result of a slide into second base that broke up a double play but also shook up Donaldson with a helmet-to-knee collision.
Neither, however, was bigger than the mark Odor left on Price's next pitch to him, a cutter he lined over the right-field fence in the seventh inning at Rogers Centre. It was a massive insurance homer in the Rangers' 5-3 win over the Blue Jays in Game 1 of their best-of-five American League Division Series.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Lester: Ball that hit Arrieta has contusion
By Mike Bertha |
If you consider yourself a baseball fan and somehow managed to miss Wednesday night's postseason showdown, you've by now surely caught the highlights of the Cubs' first postseason win since 2003. Jake Arrieta was (surprise) on point, tossing an 11-K shutout and stealing a base in the 4-0 Cubbies win.
KANSAS CITY -- Center fielder Carlos Gomez wasn't in the starting lineup for Thursday night's Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The Astros are being cautious with the lingering effects of his strained intercostal muscle, though manager A.J. Hinch said Gomez would be in the lineup for Friday's Game 2 at 2:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1.
"I'm a little sore, but tomorrow I'm going to be in," Gomez said. "My manager decided to give me a day."
Signups are underway for the MLB.TV Postseason Package and Postseason.TV now that the postseason field is set. Anywhere from 20 to 33 games (there were 25 last year) are on the slate en route to a trophy presentation at the 111th World Series.
If you already are among the millions who have subscribed to MLB.TV as a regular-season way of life, then you already get the Postseason Package -- either the U.S. or International version listed below.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Stroman ready for Game 2 showdown
By Jamie Ross
TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman's improbable return to the mound might be baseball's best comeback story of 2015. Expected to be lost for the season, the right-hander overcame huge odds in his rehab from a torn ligament in his left knee sustained in Spring Training, recovering months ahead of schedule to earn a spot in the Blue Jays' postseason rotation.
Stomping Grounds: Friends always pushed each other in college
By Carrie Muskat and Jenifer Langosch
ST. LOUIS -- When Jake Arrieta and Matt Carpenter were teammates at TCU, they created their own decathlon, including events such as ping pong, foosball and basketball. Since the Cubs acquired Arrieta in July 2013, the two have found themselves going head to head in the National League Central.
Carpenter said he could cheer for Arrieta when he was with the Orioles, but since the right-hander joined the Cubs, it's been tough.
LOS ANGELES -- Coming out of the All-Star break, dedicated to attacking the National League East race with everything in their arsenal, the Mets stacked their rotation for a critical three-game series against the Nationals. Matt Harvey pitched. Jacob deGrom pitched. Noah Syndergaard pitched.
At one point late in the series, Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki singled and jogged toward first base, where he struck up a conversation with the Nationals' Clint Robinson.
ST. LOUIS -- There likely will be a level of discomfort for Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who has torn ligaments in his left thumb, but he is determined to play against the Cubs and is on the 25-man roster for the National League Division Series that begins Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT on TBS.
Molina will wear devices to protect the thumb -- one for hitting and another for catching -- in order to avoid further injury, but he passed all the tests this week and is ready to go for the first time since sustaining the injury on Sept. 20.
LOS ANGELES -- Don Mattingly has managed the Dodgers into the postseason three consecutive years, something that Hall of Famers Walt Alston, Tom Lasorda, Joe Torre, Leo Durocher, Ned Hanlon and Wilbert Robinson never did.
Yet, critics are already speculating heading into Friday's National League Division Series opener vs. the Mets (6:30 p.m. PT on TBS) that Mattingly's job is on the line if the Dodgers don't reach the World Series this month.
Lester's ability to hold runners may prove critical
By Adam Berry
ST. LOUIS -- Jon Lester's last start of 2014 and his first start of 2015 exposed a potentially critical hole in the veteran left-hander's game and prompted a question that will inevitably follow him throughout the playoffs.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Matz-Stroman duel etched in Long Island lore
Stomping Grounds: High school matchup drew unprecedented attention
By Joe Trezza
NEW YORK -- Long before they profiled as postseason starting pitchers, Mets lefty Steven Matz and Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman faced off in what Long Islanders now call the most notable high school baseball game in recent memory.
The date was April 16, 2009, and when those Long Islanders talk about it, a few details remain ambiguous. Some, like Stroman's coach Anthony Frascogna, recall it being an "overcast day, one of those early-spring baseball days," that call for windbreakers and enough luck that the skies don't open. Lou Petrucci, Matz' coach at Ward Melville High, recounts it as "a beautiful day for baseball." Unsurprisingly, Petrucci is the one that shortly afterwards adds, "and it was even more beautiful that we won."
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully underwent a recommended medical procedure Thursday morning and will miss the postseason, the club announced.
Scully was said to be resting comfortably and "he's looking forward to returning to the Dodgers for the 2016 season, his 67th with the Dodgers," which Scully has already announced will be his final season.
ST. LOUIS -- Joe Maddon sat behind a table at Busch Stadium on Thursday afternoon, about 12 hours after the Cubs got into their hotel following a Wild Card celebration in Pittsburgh. He was asked if he sensed any sort of hangover from his club, whether it was real or ...
Just two players remain from last time Dodgers, Mets met in postseason
By David Adler
LOS ANGELES -- Nine years later, David Wright and Andre Ethier are the lone remnants of the Mets and Dodgers teams that faced off in the 2006 National League Division Series.
On Thursday, a day before the two clubs, hailing from the country's two biggest cities, open the 2015 NLDS at Dodger Stadium (9:30 p.m. ET on TBS), their longest-tenured players reflected on their first postseason baseball experience.
KANSAS CITY -- When the Astros, who compiled one of the best records in the American League, return to Minute Maid Park on Sunday to host their first game of the postseason, they're guaranteed to be playing in front of the largest crowd of the season.
Game 3 of the AL Division Series on Sunday (4 p.m. ET on MLB Network) is sold out, as is Game 4 on Monday (1 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1), if the series extends that far.
The Texas Rangers have the chance to be international robber barons, stealing two games across the border and heading back to Arlington to claim the bigger treasure over the weekend. The Toronto Blue Jays might have just encountered the only real speed bump of a postseason joyride that will now unfold exactly as predicted by the club's gargantuan in-season run differential.
In other words, Game 2 of this American League Division Series, set for Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET (MLB Network/Sportsnet), figures to provide even more drama, intrigue and hard-nosed baseball than Game 1, and given how eventful Thursday's series opener was in front of a deafening Rogers Centre crowd of 49,834, that's saying a lot.
They've faced each other 2,363 times lo these many years. They made the Brock trade. They played the "Sandberg Game." They provided the McGwire and Sosa chase. They've stoked about as much red vs. blue passion as an Election Day.
LOS ANGELES -- This has been a season of thrills, chills and spills for the Mets, champions of the National League East, and the Dodgers, NL West kingpins. Now we find out which wild amusement park ride is about to end -- at Coney Island or the Santa Monica Pier -- and which one moves on to even greater adventures.
A riveting NL Division Series loaded with big names and intrigue opens on Friday night with the Mets sending Jacob deGrom out to engage three-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. TBS will carry the Game 1 action starting at 9:30 p.m. ET.
ST. LOUIS -- Before getting started with the seemingly important stuff, there's one detail you should know about the National League Division Series.
Should the Cubs ever find themselves with a five-run lead, the Cardinals are advised to hold runners on first base, because the Cubs will look to steal bases and push the action to extend the lead to six runs.
TORONTO -- With his bullpen fully rested, Rangers manager Jeff Banister was able to go with his favorite pitching blueprint to take Game 1 away from the Blue Jays with a 5-3 victory on Thursday afternoon in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo gave the Rangers five strong innings before Banister, holding a 4-2 lead, turned it over to the bullpen. The only twist in the formula was right-hander Sam Dyson pitching the ninth inning to get the save instead of closer Shawn Tolleson.
KANSAS CITY -- Julianna Zobrist has performed the national anthem several times throughout her husband's baseball career, which means two things: She's an extremely gifted singer whose presence is welcomed before big games; and judging by the path Ben Zobrist's career has taken him in the last couple of years, she's used to belting it out in new, and maybe unfamiliar, surroundings.
Zobrist has played for the Rays, A's and now the Royals, having been acquired by Kansas City at the non-waiver Trade Deadline earlier this season. Julianna, a Christian pop recording artist, performed her first playoff anthem years ago during one of the Rays' earliest postseason appearances. She's also delivered the anthem multiple times before regular-season games, and on Thursday, the Royals appointed her to be their first anthem singer of the 2015 postseason.