Saturday October 1, 2011
Sam Evans (Intern – MLB reports): Going into the day, the opening day of playoffs had some pretty high expectations to live up to. While the games weren’t as electrifying as the last day of the season, it was pretty fun to finally watch some high pressure postseason baseball. Here is a recap of what happened today:
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers: ALDS Game One
The Rays came into this game with energy and by most accounts, the number three rated prospect in all of baseball taking the mound. Perhaps the most emotional part of the game was the first pitch thrown out by Cooper Stone. Cooper’s dad Shannon was killed after falling while trying to catch a foul ball. The game started in pleasant 80 degree weather in Arlington with a stadium filled with fans wearing Rangers colors. After the Rays had scored six runs in the first three innings, it became obvious that the Rangers would need to rely on their offense. This is something they’ve done all year, but Matt Moore proved to be too much for the Texas sluggers. He was so dominant that in the sixth inning Josh Hamilton, of all people, tried to bunt for a hit (his effort was unsuccessful). Moore pitched seven scoreless innings while allowing only two hits. Talk about impressive. Matt Moore is only twenty-two years, and this was only his second start in the majors (fourth appearance). If the Rays thought they could hide Moore in the minors for a few months next year, now it seems next to impossible. To have such a big time performance in front of the whole country will be something that will stay with him forever. (Another thing that will stay with him forever is his extremely bushy eyebrows, but that’s a different story for another time.) The Rays other hero was Kelly Shoppach, the thirty-one year old backup catcher. Shoppach went 3 for 5 with 5 RBI and 2 homers. That’s pretty impressive considering he batted .176 with 11 HR on the season. When asked after the game about Matt Moore, Shoppach had this to say, “His nameplate said Matt Moore and I said, ‘Who is Matt Moore?’ … Nobody will forget his name now.” This game wasn’t a thriller but it showed how many different players on a given day have to contribute in order for the Rays to have success.
Result: Rays win 9-0 to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers: ALDS Game One
This game started off with Delmon Young going deep off C.C. Sabathia to right field. The ball carried just inches over Nick Swisher’s glove and gave the Tigers an early lead. However, the Yankees battled back to score in the bottom of the first. After that, the rain started. This is becoming a trend for postseason baseball and it’s not good for the game at all. In my opinion, Bud Selig should shorten the season or start spring training earlier in order to avoid this in the future. Nobody enjoys watching how weather affects the game. We just want to see the best players square off against each other. Anyways, the rain kept coming until at fifteen minutes past 11PM in New York, the umpires decided to suspend the game. Since this is the postseason, that means that the current score, outs, strikes, etc. will be delayed until Saturday at 8:37PM ET. The only real bummer is that Sabathia and Justin Verlander won’t be able to finish their matchup. Sabathia wants to pitch tomorrow but I think that’s doubtful and a bad idea no matter how thin the Yankees rotation is. According to Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch, Ivan Nova is likely to get the start tomorrow. So if that is true the “starters” will be Nova for New York, and Doug Fister for Detroit. Fister is 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA since being traded to Detroit, so he will provide a challenge for the Yankees offense. It should be a fun game to watch, providing the rain holds up.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter.***
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