Teams combined for 6 opening-frame homers in first 3 playoff games
By Andrew Simon
First-inning fireworks have been the norm early in this postseason.
In the first four 2017 playoff games through Thursday, 11 runs scored on six home runs in the first inning. During the entire '16 postseason, there were just seven first-inning roundtrippers, and there were as few as six as recently as '14. The year before, there were just two, and the first season of the current Wild Card format ('12) had five.
Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the Yankees and Indians on Thursday night was the first game this postseason not to feature at least one first-inning run (and at least one homer). Even then, Cleveland got leadoff man Francisco Lindor aboard on a walk and moved him to third base before Yankees starter Sonny Gray escaped. An inning later, the Tribe took the lead.
As the Yankees' postseason opener showed, playoff drama can come very quickly.
On Tuesday night in the AL Wild Card Game, Yankees starter Luis Severino lasted just one-third of an inning and gave up three runs on homers by the Twins' Brian Dozier and Eddie Rosario. However, New York immediately bounced back against Minnesota's Ervin Santana on a game-tying three-run shot from Didi Gregorius, then went on to win, 8-4.
These frenetic first-frame theatrics were not limited to the aptly named Wild Card round.
In Thursday's ALDS opener in Houston, an 8-2 Astros victory, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve stunned Boston ace Chris Sale with back-to-back one-out jacks for a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Sale had allowed only one first-inning homer all season, and just once previously in his career had he allowed multiple big flies in the opening frame, back in 2014 with the White Sox.
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.