The National League Division Series got underway on Friday night. First up was Washington (NL East champs) hosting the LA Dodgers (NL West champs). It was a matchup of aces, as Clayton Kershaw faced Max Scherzer. Neither pitched all that well, but the Dodgers won 4-3.
Scherzer allowed two home runs, one to rookie Corey Seager on the first pitch he saw in the first inning and a two-run homer to Justin Turner in the third. Scherzer allowed four runs on five hits over six innings. He struck out five.
Kershaw, who does not pitch well in the postseason, allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk over five innings in the victory.
Former KC Royal Joe Blanton followed Kershaw with 2/3 of an inning of relief. Blanton got two quick outs in the sixth before a walk ended his night. He is the only former Royal on the Dodgers playoff roster (relievers Louis Coleman, Jesse Chavez, and JP Howell were left off the roster).
Former Royal Clint Robinson came on as a pinch-hitter for the Nationals in the bottom of the eighth with two outs against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. Robinson doubled down the left field line (and was pinch run for). He is the only former Royal on the Nats playoff roster.
Up next, the Chicago Cubs (NL Central) hosted the Wild Card winning SF Giants. Former Royal Johnny Cueto got the Game 1 start for the Giants. The Cubs took Game 1, 1-0 on a Javier Baez 3-2, one out solo homer in the bottom of the 8th inning off Cueto.
Cueto allowed that lone run on just three hits over eight innings. He struck out ten. Cueto allowed his first hit in the fourth with one out (a Kris Bryant double) and the second came in the fifth (a Baez two out single). Cueto then retired eight in a row before the Baez homer, including four strikeouts in a row after the Baez 5th inning single.
Also in the starting lineup was former Royal Gorkys Hernandez, who led off and started in center field. He led off the game with a single, but was thrown out trying to steal second base. Overall, he went 1-for-4 and was called out on strikes (a check swing on a 3-2 pitch) to start the top of the ninth against Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman.
In the top of the ninth, Gregor Blanco (another former Royal on the Giants) pinch ran for Buster Posey with two outs, as Posey doubled off the left field wall.
Cueto’s World Series teammate last season with the Royals, Ben Zobrist, started in left field for the Cubs. Batting fourth, Zobrist went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Earlier in the day were the second games of both American League Division Series. Both teams who won on Thursday were victorious again today.
Toronto once again used the long ball to beat Texas, this time by a 5-3 score. Troy Tulowitzki put the Blue Jays on the board in the second with a two-run home run. In the 5th inning, they hit three solo homers (Kevin Pillar, Zeke Carrera, and Edwin Encarnacion). All four were hit off Yu Darvish.
That was enough offense for the Blue Jays. Starter JA Happ allowed a run on nine hits and a walk while striking out five over five innings. Joe Biagini threw 1.2 scoreless innings. Closer Roberto Osuna threw 1.2 scoreless innings for the save.
Former Royal Jose Bautista went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored for Toronto.
There was a scary moment when lefty Francisco Liriano was hit in the back of the head by a line drive in the 8th inning. He walked off the field, but is in the hospital getting more tests.
Former Royal Carlos Beltran once again was the DH for the Rangers. He went 1-for-5 with an infield single.
The series now moves to Toronto with Aaron Sanchez starting for the Blue Jays and Colby Lewis getting the nod for the Rangers on Sunday night.
Cleveland shut out Boston, 6-0 to take a 2-0 series lead. The series now moves to Boston with Josh Tomlin getting the start for the Indians and Clay Buchholz starting for the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.
It was another poor start from lefty David Price, while Indians ace Corey Kluber just mowed down the Red Sox suddenly silent offense.
Price allowed four runs in the 2nd inning, three scoring on Lonnie Chisenhall’s home run. Price was pulled in the fourth. Meanwhile Kluber scattered three hits and three walks over seven-plus innings. He was pulled after a walk and a hit batter in the 8th inning.
Dan Otero escaped the jam with a perfect eighth and Bryan Shaw needed just ten pitches to finish off the Red Sox (and the middle of their order) in the ninth.
Former Royal Coco Crisp did not play for the Indians.