Now the Playoffs Have Some Drama
October 15, 2018

The Dodgers did need four games to dispatch of the Braves and so did the Red Sox to take care of the Yankees. Neither, though, was much of a series. Milwaukee swept Colorado and Houston blanked Cleveland before we could say Nolan Arenado and Corey Kluber. Now, though, going into today, each best-of-seven League Championship Series was tied 1-1, and it looks like we're in it for the long haul.

If the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to return to the World Series, and perhaps win their first championship in three decades, it's going to take at least six games against Milwaukee to get there. The Brewers blanked the Dodgers 4-0 tonight to take a 2-1 lead, but LA did load the bases in the bottom of the ninth. The first two games in Milwaukee were both one-run affairs.

Odd, though, that the series was supposed to feature Dodger starting pitching against the Brewer bullpen. LA isn't hitting much, but it does seem that they wait until the late innings to get going. If that continues, the Dodgers could win the pennant. If the Brewers go to the World Series for the first time ever as a National League team (they were in the American League until 1998), it will be because Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and/or Ryan Braun got key hits off of Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Rich Hill, or Walker Buehler.

The Dodgers are down 2-1, with games four and five at Dodger Stadium tomorrow and Wednesday.

On the American League side, it seemed like the Houston Astros picked up right where they left off from Round One. They swept Cleveland, then went to Boston and opened the ALCS with a 7-2 victory over the Red Sox. That game was 3-2 until the ninth inning, though. On paper, the Red Sox lineup is better than Houston's, but the Astros have a significant pitching edge. The Red Sox came back and took game two 7-5. Boston got to Gerrit Cole, and led 5-4 after three innings, but up 7-4 in the ninth, closer Craig Kimbrel gave up a run. Games three, four, and five are in Houston starting tomorrow, and should be a whale of a series.

So. Trying to set aside a Dodger bias here as much as possible, which is the best World Series matchup? From the network's perspective and a ratings standpoint, Milwaukee-Houston would be an absolute dog. Baseball wise, maybe not much better, with the Astros having every advantage. Milwaukee does have the potential NL MVP in Yelich.

What about a Milwaukee-Boston showcase. The only thing these two cities have in common is that the Braves once played there. Other storylines will emerge, and you do have Yelich against the likely AL MVP in Mookie Betts.

The networks want Dodgers-Red Sox, and let's face it, that should be a great series. There's lots of baseball history there, and millions of fans of both teams spread across the country.

Then there's Astros-Dodgers. A World Series rematch for the first time since the Dodgers and Yankees in 1977 and 78. For Houston, there hasn't been a repeat champion since the Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000.

As the old saying goes, though, there's still a lot of baseball to be played.

Good seats, eh buddy?: Viewers of NLCS Game 2 on Fox were given a treat in the third inning Saturday. Not only did they invite “Mr. Baseball” Bob Uecker into the booth, but in the bottom of the inning, Joe Buck shut up and let Uecker do play-by-play. Uecker has been the radio voice of the Brewers since their inaugural season of 1971, and was a guest on the Johnny Carson show over a hundred times. Buck said he would have the same offer to Vin Scully when the series is in Los Angeles this week, but don't expect the broadcasting legend to take him up on it.

She is gonnnnne!: It was 30 years ago today (October 15, 1988) that a gimpy Kirk Gibson came up to the plate in game one of the World Series, and hit a walkoff pinch-hit home run to beat the Oakland A's 5-4. Yes, it was only game one, but the Dodgers would roll on to a championship, which is still their most recent. My cousin Andy Small once told me that happened on his 30th birthday, which makes it really easy now to figure his age. Happy Birthday Andy!

Yesterday (October 14) was the anniversary of my father's death. He passed away suddenly less than a month after his 50th birthday, in 1981. In the 37 years that has gone by since, not a day has gone by that I haven't thought about something to do with him. The one thing about not seeing someone for a long time, living or dead, is that you remember them the way they looked the last time you saw them. Looking at pictures, Dad looks younger than I do now, which, of course, he was.

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