Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright share intimate embrace

Yadier Molina Adam WainwrightYadier Molina and Game 5 pitching hero Adam Wainright shared this intimate embrace after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 on Wednesday night. I mean they were a couple of inches away from a kiss there. It’s kind of sweet seeing how close they are. All that was missing was a little Diana Ross and Lionel Richie doing Endless Love.

Koji Uehara and David Ortiz could learn a thing or two from their tenderness.

[Read more...]

Adam Wainwright: Pirates divulged their game plan to media

Adam Wainwright NLDSYou know how some players and coaches are grumps with the media and don’t say a whole lot to reporters? A lot of times that’s because they are protecting valuable information. Perhaps the Pittsburgh Pirates should have taken that approach prior to Game 5 of the NLDS.

Prior to the decisive Game 5 that the Pirates lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1, a few Pittsburgh hitters revealed part of their game plan for facing Cards starter Adam Wainwright. They said that they swung at too many of his breaking balls in a Game 1 loss to him, so they were planning to lay off of it this time.

After throwing a complete game for the win Wednesday, Wainwright said in his postgame interview with TBS that he knew how to attack the Pirates hitters because his opponents divulged their game plan.

“They said in the media that they were going to try to not swing at any of my breaking stuff,” Wainwright said with a smile. “I guess I had to go out there and prove I could throw it for strikes.”

Wainwright did just that — he threw 96 pitches, 66 of which were strikes. According to analysis from Joe Lucia of The Outside corner, Wainwright threw 48 curves in Game 5 compared to 33 in Game 1. He got five outs in play on it both games, but knowing that the Pirates would try laying off of it more, he used his curve more in Game 5. Baseball Tonight researcher Justin Havens says the 48 curveballs in Game 5 were the most Wainwright had thrown in a start in his last five years.

So how did he know what the Pirates’ approach would be? Just take a look at these comments from some of Pittsburgh’s hitters made prior to Game 5.

[Read more...]

David Freese hits big Game 5 home run, remains Mr. October (Video)

David Freese, who played so well in the 2011 MLB playoffs that he inspired me to change the website name for a day, was at it again during Game 5 of the NLDS between the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates.

David FreeseFreese went deep off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole with a man on in the second inning to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. That was pretty much all Adam Wainwright needed, because he didn’t allow a run until the seventh. Then Matt Adams pretty much put the game out of distance with a 2-run bomb in the eighth to make it 5-1, and they closed it out with a 6-1 victory.

Freese entered Game 5 only 2-for-13 (.154) in the series, and he struck out in his other two at-bats, so it’s not like he’s been scorching this series. But he delivered the big blow, which is all too familiar of a feeling from him. Freese now has hit seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 36 career postseason games. He laid an egg going 5-for-26 (.192) in last year’s NLCS, but he’s trying to make up for it this time around.

Between Freese’s near 1.000 career postseason OPS and Carlos Beltran’s unreal career playoff stats, the Cardinals have a couple of the best postseason hitters in modern history on their side.

Fan interference helps give Victor Martinez home run (Video)

Victor Martinez fan interference

A fan’s interference in right field at Comerica Park helped give Detroit Tigers DH Victor Martinez a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie Game 4 of their ALDS with the Oakland A’s at 4.

The original call on the field was a home run. Umpires met to review the play and upheld the original call. That seemed to be the correct decision.

There appeared to be definitive proof that Martinez’s ball was going past the yellow line above the right field fence even without the fan touching it. As long as a ball hits above the yellow line, it’s considered a home run.

There was some speculation that A’s right fielder Josh Reddick may have been able to rob the home run, but he appeared to be hitting the wall and running out of room as the ball was flying over the fence. He would have been close but likely come up short.

Below is a video and GIF of the home run:

[Read more...]

Juan Uribe hits thrilling 2-run home run to win game for Dodgers (Video)

Juan Uribe home runJuan Uribe helped send the Los Angeles Dodgers to the NLCS with a thrilling two-strike, two-run home run off Atlanta Braves reliever David Carpenter in the bottom of the eighth to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead in Game 4 of their NLDS.

The Dodgers were down 3-2 and six outs away from the series going to a fifth game until Uribe delivered the big blow. His homer came after Yasiel Puig led off the inning with a two-strike double to right. Another great aspect of the homer is that it came after two failed sacrifice bunt attempts. When Uribe had the chance to swing away, he delivered with a bomb into the left field bullpen.

While the Dodgers move on to the NLCS, the Braves suffered their seventh straight playoff series loss in a row.

Jose Lobaton hits walk-off home run into Rays Tank (Video)

Jose Lobaton home runJose Lobaton on Monday hit a walk-off solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 4-3 win in Game 3 of their ALDS against the Boston Red Sox.

The home run cleared the fence in center and splashed into the Rays Tank, making the blow all the more sweet for the Rays. It was also improbable for a few reasons. Lobaton entered the game with just nine career home runs in 495 at-bats. He also hit it off Koji Uehara, who surrendered just his second earned run since June 30. June 30. This was Uehara’s first home run allowed since that date. And it came off the bat of Lobaton. Who saw that coming?

Was Jacoby Ellsbury tagged out at third?

Jacoby Ellsbury third base

The Boston Red Sox benefited from a close call in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays that helped them score two extra runs.

Jacoby Ellsbury was on second with one out in the top of the fifth when Shane Victorino hit a chopper in the 5-6 hole. Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar bobbled the ball and decided to throw to third instead of first. Ellsbury didn’t slide on the play, perhaps thinking Escobar would be going to first. It looked like Evan Longoria may have tagged him out, though the umpire ruled Ellsbury was safe on the bang-bang play (replay evidence probably was not conclusive enough to overturn anyway had manager Joe Maddon been able to challenge).

On the next batter, Alex Cobb threw a wild pitch that allowed Ellsbury to score and Victorino to move up to second. Dustin Pedroia grounded out for the second out, then David Ortiz followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0. Mike Napoli grounded out to end the inning.

Had Ellsbury been called out, the inning would have ended on Pedroia’s ground out and the score would have remained 1-0. Longo’s 3-run home run in the bottom of the inning would have given the Rays a 3-1 lead instead of tying the score.

With games this close in the postseason, those calls make a huge difference.