Christopher Crawford

Baseball Daily Dose

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Postseason Dose: Didi Destroys

Thursday, October 12, 2017


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The Yankees have had their share of heroes in the postseason in their illustrious history, particularly from shortstops.


Didi Gregorius may not have the level of fame of a Derek Jeter, but his two homers off of Cleveland starter Corey Kluber and three RBI set the tone in the 5-2 victory over the Indians in Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday to allow the Yankees to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2012.


Those two homers give Gregorius three on the postseason, and he’s the first hitter to ever have three homers in elimination games (he homered in the Wild Card game against the Twins last week). Earlier this year he passed Jeter for most homers in a season by a Yankee (25), and his combination of power at the plate and prowess with the glove has been critical in the Yankees success in 2017.


Gregorius may have had the two big blasts, but Brett Gardner had the at-bat of the night, and maybe the entire postseason. Facing closer Cody Allen with two men on and with the Yankees holding just a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth with two outs, Gardner fouled off everything Allen had, and on the 12th pitch of the bat-bat his two-run scoring single gave New York a 5-2 lead.


And while the Yankees get to move on to face Houston for the American League championship, the Indians’ season ends once again with disappointment. After holding a 2-0 lead in the series, the Tribe lost three in a row, and combined with the World Series collapse, that’s now six straight losses for Cleveland in potential series-clinching games.


The narrative may be that the Indians failed, but in reality, it was another great season for the Indians; setting the American League record for most wins in a row and posting the best run-differential of any team in baseball. It’s likely of little condolence to Cleveland fans, but this was one of the best teams in baseball this year, and there’s little reason to think that will change in 2018.


The ALCS will start Friday, with Houston sending Dallas Keuchel to the mound, and while it hasn’t been announced yet, it’s very likely that the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to counterpart Keuchel in Game One.


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Strasburg Dominates Cubs in Game 4


We didn’t know who was going to start for the Nationals in Game 4 of the NLDS on Wednesday until a few hours before the game started.


Unfortunately for the Cubs, it was Stephen Strasburg.


Despite battling flu-like symptoms, Strasburg was exceptional on Wednesday; throwing seven scoreless innings while allowing just three hits. He also walked just two, and was able to strike out 12 batters, including reigning MVP Kris Bryant three times.


When you consider all of the factors -- Strasburg’s health, elimination game, inclement weather -- this is one of the best LDS performances we’ve seen. The Cubs had zero chance today, particularly when Strasburg was throwing his change. His ability to locate that pitch along with the ridiculous movement and impressive arm speed devastated the Chicago hitters all afternoon.


If the Nationals aren’t fortunate enough to win Game 5, they should still look back on this season as another step forward for Strasburg. Is he the other-worldly talented we expected coming out of the 2009 draft? Maybe not, but he’s still among the best pitchers in the National League, and he should be among the league leaders in strikeouts and ERA in the 2018 season if he stays healthy enough to do so.



Red Sox, Dombrowski part ways with Farrell


Before we had a single pitch of postseason baseball, we got big news from one of the eliminated playoff teams. The Red Sox announced that John Farrell will not return as manager for the 2018 season. Farrell leaves with a .533 winning percentage, but after winning the World Series in his first year in 2013, the Red Sox have yet to win a playoff series, and finished last in the division twice.


Even with some drama and reports of a difficult clubhouse, this will be one of the most highly sought after jobs in baseball. The Red Sox have one of the best lineups in baseball, and they have a talented pitching staff, including a potential Cy Young award winner in Chris Sale. Early candidates mentioned for the job include Brad Ausmus, Alex Cora, Jason Varitek and Ron Gardenhire, among others.



Quick Hits: Dodgers reliever Luis Avilan (shoulder) threw a simulated game on Wednesday. If he doesn’t have any setbacks, there’s a chance he’ll be added to the NLCS roster before Saturday’s Game 1 against either the Cubs or Nationals … Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller threw off of flat ground for the first time since he underwent Tommy John surgery in May … The Astros could add 21-year-old Francis Martes to the ALCS roster. The right-hander had a 5.80 ERA but also struck out 69 hitters in just under 55 innings this season at the MLB level .. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is scheduled to see two specialists this week about his knee … Japanese free agent Shohei Otani is scheduled to undergo surgery Thursday in Japan for a posterior impingement in his right ankle. The star of Nippon Professional Baseball is expected to be posted this winter for MLB clubs, and the surgery shouldn’t cause him to miss any real time.





Christopher Crawford is a prospect writer for Rotoworld. He's scouted and covered prospects since 2009 and resides in Coronado, Calif. Follow him on Twitter @Crawford_MILB.
Email :Christopher Crawford



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