Well if you’re an MLB fan who loves pitching duals and low scoring games, you were creaming your panties while watching the ALCS and NLCS games yesterday. They both ended with a 1-0 score with the Tigers and Cardinals taking Game 1.
In both series, the guys on the hump were the lawnmowers and the guys at the plate the grass. Let’s start in Boston where the Green Monster at Fenway was anything but and Big Papi was tiny at the plate with the Tigers ruling the American League’s most potent offense on their home field.
Detroit Tigers starter Anibel Sanchez was a stud on the mound, hurling six innings on no-hit ball while fanning 12 Red Sox in front of a frantic sold out crowd at Fenway. The erratic bullpen for Detroit came in and finished the job, allowing a 9th inning single to Nava, Boston’s only hit of the game, while striking out an additional five to raise the Tigers’ total for the game to 17. The final scoreboard at Fenway shown on the right said it all.
It was the first time Boston has been shut out in a playoff game since 1918, yep almost a century ago and to add a little icing on the cake, Sanchez did a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1908 when he stuck out four in the first inning.
When Tigers manager Jim Leyland yanked Sanchez after six to go to his pen, it was the longest stint a pitcher has ever gone with a no-no on the line in the playoffs before being yanked. But like Leyland said in the post game presser, “I didn’t care about a no hitter or anything like that…”
BTW, Jhonny Peralta hot off a long suspension after failing a drug test has been the hot bat for the Tigers in some of these postseason games. He went 3-for-4, had the only two extra base hits of the game and had the RBI hit that provided all the run support the Tigers would need.
In all, the Tigers left 12 on base while the Red Sox left all eight of their runners on for a total of 20 LOB in the game. So it was a stressful game to watch if you were a fan of either of these teams with so many runners spending several pitches so close, but yet so far from home plate.
Across a few state lines in St. Louis, pitching was also the dominating force of the NLCS game. That game also finished with a 1-0 score with the Cardinals squeaking past the Los Angeles Dodgers in that series’ opener.
The Dodgers bats wasted a pitching gem by their ace Clayton Kershaw who tossed six innings of two-hit ball with five Ks and only one walk. The kick in the nuts here is, the lone run that came in the bottom of the 5th inning was unearned and although the Dodgers pitching staff held the Cardinals to a total of two hits and zero earned runs, they still came away with a loss.
In the home dugout, the Cardinals rode the backs of rookie starter Michael Wacha (6.2 innings, 0 runs, 5 hits, 8 SO). The Cardinals bullpen cleaned up the final 2 1/3 innings allowing no hits and adding another 5 Ks with the help of closer, Trevor Rosenthal, who came in and fanned the side in the 9th to pick up the save.