The Cleveland Indians took Game 1 of the ALCS 2-0 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night. Corey Kluber showed why he was a Cy Young candidate pitching 6 1/3rd innings of shutout baseball against a very good hitting Blue Jays line up. After Kluber the Indians went to their bullpen; first to Andrew Miller to hold the game for and 1 1/3rd innings and to closer Cody Allen for a 1 inning save and a 1-0 lead in the series. Kluber gave up 6 hits and walked 2 while striking out 6 batters. Kluber’s pitch total piled up as he reached 100 pitches over his 6 1/3rd innings. Miller did give up a hit, but struck out 5 while Allen struck out 1 batters in his inning of work.
The Blue Jays got very good pitching out of Marco Estrada, but just couldn’t give him any runs to work with. Estrada saved the Blue Jays bullpen pitching an 8 inning complete game. Estrada gave up 2 runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 6. A 2-run home run by Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor in the bottom of the 6th inning was the only real mistake Estrada made. Estrada was able to get through the game on just 101 pitches.
The Indians got 6 hits in the game and 3 of them where by Lonnie Chisenhall. Interestingly Chisenhall got his 3 hits while seeing just 4 pitches. Lindor was 2 for 3 with a run scored and 2 RBI’s. Carlos Santana had the other Indians hit while Jason Kipnis scored the other run after he walked in front of the Lindor home run.
The Blue Jays got 7 hits in the game with 2 Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders each getting 2 hits a piece. One of Encarnacion’s hits was a double. Troy Tulowitzki had the other hit for Toronto. The Blue Jays may be dealing with an injury as 2nd baseman Devon Travis left the game in the bottom of the 5th inning with what was being called a right knee injury.
The teams turn right around for Game 2 this afternoon. Toronto is sending 20-game winner J.A. Happ to the mound to try to even the series while the Indians are going with Josh Tomlin as their Game 2 starter. Originally Trevor Bauer was going to get the Game 2 start for Cleveland, but he cut the pinky on his throwing finger and needed stitches. Because of the injury Bauer has been moved back to Game 3.
The NLCS gets started tonight with the Chicago Cubs hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a must win situation in Game 5 of the NLDS the Dodgers pulled out all the stops. Closer Kenley Jansen pitched 2 1/3rd innings in the game while throwing 51 pitches; so there’s a good chance he won’t be available for a closing situation tonight. Then after making a start on 3-days rest Clayton Kershaw came in to get the save in Game 5. Kershaw did only throw 7 pitches in the game, but he had to warm up and again he was coming off a start he had made on 3-days rest. So taking this all into consideration the Cubs should have a big advantage in Game 1 and maybe even in the series. The Dodgers are going with Kenta Maeda as their Game 1 starter. Maeda took the loss in Game 3 of the NLDS. He lasted just 3 innings and gave up 4 runs. The Cubs in contrast where able to set up their starting rotation and will go with Jon Lester in Game 1. Lester threw 8 shutout innings while picking up the win in Game 1 of the NLDS. There was some talk yesterday that Kershaw will try to come back for Game 2, but that it would be for just 5 or 6 innings. While the Dodgers are scrambling the Cubs are set. They know that it’s Kyle Hendricks in Game 2, Jake Arrieta in Game 3 and John Lackey in Game 4. Not only is the rotation set, but the Cubs will have a full bullpen to use if needed. That has to be a big plus for the Cubs coming into this series.
Now both teams have some hitters they’d like to see get going in this series. While Corey Seager did hit 2 home runs in the series against Washington his average was just .130. Adrian Gonzalez homered in the NLDS as well, but his average was just .200. Chase Utley at .188 and Yasmani Grandal at .125 are two other players the Dodgers would like to see start hitting. On the Cubs side both Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell where 1 for 15 (.067) in the NLDS series. Jason Heyward’s hitting struggles continued into the first round of the playoffs as he hit .083 in the NLDS. Dexter Fowler at .133 and Ben Zobrist at .188 are two other guys the Cubs would like to see get going in this series against the Dodgers. Both teams where able to advance with these hitters struggling, but it could make things so much easier for them of a few or even better all of them could get on some type of hot streak even for a game or two.
We had our fantasy hockey draft last Saturday night and I was pretty happy with the way my team came out. Then the injury bug hit me right before the season started and then into the first couple of games. I grabbed defenseman Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins late in our draft. It’s a category league and he is a solid plus minus guy though his career. Miller broke his ankle right before the season started and needed surgery on it. Miller is scheduled to be out 6 to 8 weeks. Then the season started and Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres went crashing into the boards in their first game of the season and cracked 3 ribs. There’s no real timetable for Kane’s return as Sabres head coach was quoted as saying “It’s weeks, depending on the severity, and in the oblique area it’s something you’re going to deal with even when you come back with the rotation and the discomfort.” Then believe it or not I picked up one more injury. In the first game of his season Bryan Little of the Winnipeg Jets collided with Bryan Bickel of the Carolina Hurricanes and got hurt. Little has a Lower Body Injury and is expected to be out an indefinite period of time. Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice said “We’ll have a better idea of just how long in a couple weeks.” So it’s going to be weeks before they even know how long Little will be out. Hopefully your fantasy hockey season didn’t get off to the same type of start mine did. Looks like I need to get on the waiver wire.
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