Now that the MLB playoffs are down to the final four teams, the intensity is picking up with the stakes of each game on the rise. We saw that on Saturday with Game 2 of the NLCS and Game 1 of the ALCS.
A night after Washington Nationals pitcher Aníbal Sánchez fell four outs shy of a no-hitter, Max Scherzer continued to quiet the St. Louis Cardinals hitters. While Adam Wainwright did everything in his power to help St. Louis on the mound, he couldn’t match Scherzer and the Nationals rolled to a 2-0 series lead.
Pitching shined in Game 1 of the ALCS. Houston Astros pitcher Zack Greinke was sharp early, but New York Yankees stars Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton rocked him in the sixth and that’s all Masahiro Tanaka needed to win.
Road teams stole the show on Saturday night with tremendous pitching performances and monumental wins. Now let’s take a look at the six things we learned from Saturday’s MLB postseason action.
Max Scherzer is strengthening his Hall of Fame resume
After a rough performance by Scherzer’s standards in the wild-card game, he bounced back with a shutout relief appearance in Game 2 then kept Washington’s season alive with seven brilliant innings in Game 4 of the NLDS. Scherzer raised the bar and strengthened his Hall of Fame resume on Saturday.
Max Scherzer, Disgusting 86mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/SQGK4wc6Y6
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 12, 2019
The 35-year-old allowed a one-out walk in the first inning before retiring the next 16 batters faced. He carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Paul Goldschmidt lined a single right in front of Juan Soto. Scherzer relied on a 1-0 lead for most of the day and finished with 11 strikeouts, just two walks and one hit allowed in seven outstanding innings. If Washington’s pitchers keep this up, Scherzer could rest until Game 1 of the World Series.
It’s time for a dramatic shakeup to Cardinals’ lineup
St. Louis came into the postseason with the lowest-scoring lineup among playoff teams. The explosion in Game 5 of the NLDS was nice, but the Cardinals’ lineup hasn’t left the ground through two games.
This team’s woes at the plate go even deeper than scoring one lone run in this series. St. Louis entered the seventh inning with zero runs in its last 21 innings and its starting lineup went hitless in its last 45 at-bats. Leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler is 2-for-29, Yadier Molina is 3-for-36 and Matt Carpenter is hitless as a starter this postseason. If manager Mike Shildt doesn’t make dramatic changes to the lineup in Game 3, this team is practically giving away a shot at the World Series.
Adam Wainwright’s postseason dominance keeps getting wasted
Wainwright seems to be snakebit in October. The 38-year-old dazzled in Game 3 of the NLDS with 7.2 shutout innings and eight strikeouts. Despite receiving little run support from his teammates, he was in position for the win until Carlos Martinez blew the game. St. Louis wasted another gem from Wainwright on …read more