If major league baseball is going to have four playoff games in one day, it should be on a weekend. But the schedule is what it is, and fans were treated to a quadrupleheader today. Now, you may not believe this, but it actually is a little taxing to watch four games in one day. I decided to play hooky from work (actually had a comp day and got permission in advance) and give it a try.
First of all, I don't get the MLB Network, so I couldn't watch the Oakland-Detroit game, which was first on the list, and began just after 10am Pacific Time. So instead, I listened to it. It was a great ball game, filled with three A's homers, and even a shouting match between Oakland reliever Grant Balfour and Detroit hitter Victor Martinez. A's won 6-3 and took a two-games-to-one series lead in the best-of-five Division Series.
The second game started at noon, just two hours after the A's-Tigers game began. Playoff games usually last around three-and-a-half hours, so I taped it, then watched it in its entirety after the first game ended. Only once did A's play-by-play man Ken Korach give the St. Louis-Pittsburgh score, but I was able to plug my ears and didn't hear it. Also, with a tape-delayed start, I could fast-forward through the commercials.
This game was a fantastic game. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 2-1, but Cards starter Michael Wacha was perfect through five, took a no-hitter into the eighth, and then lost it on a monster Pedro Alvarez home run. I was rooting for the Bucos, but still very entertaining, and I would have missed it if I was at work.
Sometime after 3pm, though, time seemed to stop. Maybe the earth's rotation slowed down or something. The Cardinals-Pirates game was over in time for the start of the next tilt—the Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays. This game took for-EVER. Seriously, the first four innings took two hours, and the score was 1-0. There was no way the game would be over by 6:30, when the Dodger game was to start.
I had a decision to make. I can't tape one channel and watch another (I know, sucks), so I bailed on Red Sox-Rays, and turned over to TNT, where they shipped the start of the Dodgers-Braves game until the Boston marathon concluded on TBS. Turned out to be a great decision. Carl Crawford homered in the first inning, and again in the third. 2-0 Dodgers.
I even went multi-media—listening to Vin Scully on the computer with the TV sound down for the first three innings. When Adrian Gonzalez made his second error, and the score was tied 2-2, I thought my day on the couch was going to have a sad conclusion. I would have just been getting home from work around this time, so I would have missed a lot. When the game went to the seventh inning, I turned Scully back on in time to hear him refer to the 'underbelly of the Dodger bullpen'. He meant the seventh inning in general, but it was personified by Ronald Belisario. The Braves went up 3-2.
Mentally preparing for how I was going to tape game five Wednesday night in Atlanta, and when I was going to watch it, Yasiel Puig led off the Dodger eighth with a double. Juan Uribe, who my mom thinks is fantastic, even when I constantly remind her that he hasn't done anything in three years, homered to give L.A. a 4-3 lead. Kenley Jansen shut the door on the Braves in the ninth, and the long baseball day ended with the Dodgers advancing to the National League Championship Series. Even though I knew mom was about to call with an “I told you so” about Uribe, staying home was worth it. I realize it doesn't quite rank up there with Ferris Buehler, but it was still a pretty good day off.
Quote of the day: Scully after Uribe bunted a ball foul, and then homered on the next pitch--”Isn't it amzing what somebody will do when they can't bunt?”
Donnie Genious: I have to say I didn't agree with Dodger manager Don Mattingly's decision to start ace Clayton Kershaw instead of scheduled pitcher Ricky Nolasco, but it worked out. A win would have set up Kershaw for a Game One start in the NLCS, but now it will be Greinke. Since the series doesn't start until Friday, Mattingly will likely have Kershaw for Game Two.
Old(er) school: I always thought that it was just the younger baseball broadcasters who are superstitious when it comes to no-hitters, but apparently the veteran and venerable Dick Stockton didn't want to be accused of jinxing the game. Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha had a perfect game through five innings, but the 70 year-old Stockton (71 later this week) didn't use the “P-word” until Russell Martin walked to lead off the sixth. Then he said, “(Wacha) doesn't have the perfect game anymore, but he still has the no-hitter going.” The no-no was broken up in the eighth when Pedro Alvarez homered.
Sager-metrics: He may have a myriad of permutations and combinations when it comes to his bright-colored suits, but TBS commentator Craig Sager's numbers were a little off on Sunday. First, in a live in-game interview, he congratulated Tommy Lasorda on his 53 years in the Dodgers organization. Lasorda quickly and strongly corrected Sager, saying it's been 63 years. After the game, Sager interviewed Carl Crawford and referenced his two-run home run. It was actually a three-run shot, but Crawford didn't say anything.
Bone(s)less: I know it's a rerun, but I kind of feel sorry for the (mostly) women who were watching Bones on TNT, when, right in the middle of the show, they interrupted it to show the beginning of the Dodger game. That's happened a few times when a game has run past its three-and-a-half hour alloted time. There's really not much the Turner people can do about it, and TNT only seems to run Bones, Castle, and C.S.I reruns anyway.