By Tim Peterson
Love or hate the best of three game Wild Card Series in the first round of the baseball playoffs, you have to admit one thing. It’s definitely entertaining.
You hate it because the Houston Astros, who are despised by every baseball fan in America outside of Houston and finished below .500 in the regular season, have already advanced to the American League Division series with a two game sweep of the Minnesota Twins. But you love it because you hit the remote and switch over to Braves – Reds game that lasts 13 innings.
Eight playoff games in one day? That’s a baseball fan’s dream. They need to bring back the split screen on TV.
I, as everybody else I have talked to, hated seeing the Astros advance. I’m with Dodger reliever Joe Kelly on this one. Throw at them, mock them, make faces at them, everything is fair game. What they did was cheating at the highest level and to pour salt in the wounds, they got away with it. How was their 2017 World Series Championship not vacated?
That being said this is on the Twins. They simply didn’t show up. They lost four of their last five games to close out the regular season and it continued into the playoffs. The Twins scored two runs in two games. You’re not going to beat a team down at Millham Field with that offensive production. Did you know the Twins have now lost 18 consecutive playoff games overall? They never had a chance.
Alex Rodriguez, who did a little cheating of his own when he played, did make a good point however during the Braves-Reds marathon Wednesday. What happened to the sacrifice bunt? I understand chicks dig the long ball and everybody has that guy that can immediately turn a game around with a three-run bomb. But that doesn’t always happen. When you’re in a scoreless game in the 12th inning and the leadoff batter gets on you need to move that runner over. One run is the ballgame. Neither team ever laid one down to advance a runner late in the game. Both teams were hurt by it and it ultimately cost Cincinnati the game. The Reds left eight runners on base in the last three innings and lost 1-0. Bring back the sacrifice bunt! It’s a fundamental staple of the game.
I like the Dodgers in three over the Milwaukee Brewers in a series that gets underway Wednesday night. But the three game series is scary. Just ask the Twins. Walker Buehler goes in Game 1 which is the right move. If he can have a solid performance and pick up the win there the Dodgers will be in good shape. They need to close it out in Game 2 though. The pressure in an elimination game is always amped up and anything can happen. That being said I think it will go three. The Dodgers never make things easy and this year will be no different. They will avoid an early exit though and advance. But if they don’t the Dodgers have hit the most homeruns in baseball so they, as every other team in the league, won’t rely on the bunt. So you can blame it on that.
Is it time for the Angels to trade Mike Trout? Before you scream “SACRILEGE!” consider this. They haven’t won with him. Trout has spent nine years with the club and has played in three playoff games. Three! It’s not working with him so why not see what can happen without him? I love Trout but he would bring in a huge haul. The Angels need pitching, pitching and well…pitching. If they don’t shake things up soon it’s going to be the same thing year after year. Trout won’t be opposed to it either. He wants to win a title. It’s not happening in Anaheim. The Angels fired General Manager Mike Eppler, who was close to Trout, so the groundwork has been laid. The new GM needs to make a move, a blockbuster move, and that would mean dealing Trout.
No I didn’t forget the Lakers are in the NBA Finals. I just got caught up with eight playoff baseball games being played in one day. I’m not locked in on the NBA like I used to be but here we go. I like the Lakers in six. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are too much for anything the Miami Heat will bring. The only thing that concerns me, as it did in the earlier rounds, is that beyond Lebron and AD, the Lakers don’t have anything else. And the Heat has Jimmy Buckets and I really like Jimmy Buckets. If the Heat wins the series can I write the headline “The Butler Did It” ?
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tspeterson40.