July 6, 2022

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MLB Playoff Takeaways: Rays on the edge of the world series by Altow’s error

MLB Playoff Takeaways: Rays on the edge of the world series by Altow's error

Many players were disappointed from Tuesday’s games, but no more than the former MVP and three-time Sai Young Award recipient.

Clayton Kershaw was able to do that as the Los Angeles Dodgers trailed 7-0 in the game he was about to start. Despite the late rally, the Dodgers lost 8-7 as the Atlanta Braves took a 2-0 lead in the NLCS.

In the American League, the Tampa Bay Race defeated the Houston Astros 5-2 to take a 3-0 series lead. While Jose Altov is a homemaker to start scoring, we can’t remember his Game 3 performance.

Ben Nicholson-Smith is the baseball editor of SportsNet. Arden Zwelling is a senior author. Together, they bring you the deepest Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering all the latest news feedback and analysis as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.

Here are some observations after the maximum and minimum night in LCS

Altow’s throwing problems continue

The play is as routine as they get. No one topped in the sixth inning and with the runner, Brandon Lowe hit a grounder to Jose Altov, who fielded the ball clean and threw the ball into second. Simple enough for any second baseman, with only 10 years of experience.

Altov was the only Carlos to cross Korea due to his third throw error in the last two days. Immediately, the Beams did not reach the game with a five-run innings.

To his credit, Alto continues to hit, with another home run on Tuesday, his fourth in the playoffs. When a player makes too many errors in such a short period of time, it is a strong indication that it is not correct. It’s hard to pinpoint from a distance whether the source of those problems is mental or physical, but as the All-Star are playing second base six times, manager Dusty Baker looks set to stick with his guns for Wednesday’s game.

There is a difference in terms of defense

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The next day when Manuel Margot made one of the most impressive catches of the year, the race’s outfielders continued to make even more spectacular plays. Kevin Kiermeyer did two of them – first at the center field wall and then on the shallow right-middle field.

Then, with two runs in the seventh inning, right fielder Hunter Renfro caught his diving to hit George Springer. The next inning, Renfro ran and caught another diving to steal a hit from Kyle Tucker.

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From Margot to Kirmeyer to Renfro, the field tfield defense of the race is not uncommon for this series.

Teams had to trust more players

In previous years, there were generally two scheduled travel days during each LCS: one after Game 2 and one after Game 5. But with games taking place on neutral sites this year, there is no need to travel anymore and the small shift effects are playing time decisions.

Tuesday, for example, backup catchers. Michael Perez and Dustin Garnio started for Race and Astros, respectively, with starters Mike Junino and Martin Maldonado having part-time vacations.

This season, Dan picks an issue, trend, news item or story around the MLB and digs into it with the guest. And he does 15 minutes five times a day for a week. Enough time to inform and entertain, but get fans back to all the sports going on.

That’s an example of what broader challenge teams are facing now. Since there are no holidays, teams have to rely on a wide range of position players, starters and relievers. The star-heavy approach we usually see in October is virtually non-existent when there are no days.

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Caesar’s big year continues

Once Atlanta took a 7-0 lead, the game was over, but a three-run home run from Corey Caesar turned out to be interesting in the seventh, and two innings later he finished ninth with four runs in the RBI double.

In the end, it wasn’t enough, but Caesar’s big night at the plate still marks the continuation of his best offensive season. At 26, he is already a veteran of five full Big-League seasons, and by 2020 will have achieved no productivity on a per-bat basis. In 52 games, Caesar scored 15 home runs in the best way of his career. 943 OPS.

Now, Caesar’s building on those numbers when over-calculated for the Dodgers (time also works on a personal level – another year like this and Scott Boras sees a huge deal when the client hits a free agency in a year.).

The Dodgers will decline without their ace

Game 2 damage is a bit more considering who to start for the Dodgers. The Dodgers were a good team when Kershaw was on the mound, especially after an impressive playoff record, especially as his pace increased. But the back sprains put the left arm aside and Tony Gonzolin started instead.

True, Gonzolin had his own season, posting 2.31 ERA in 46.2 innings, but he failed against an offense committed by Atlanta and the Dodgers are now 2-0 behind. It is questionable whether Kershaw will be able to pitch later in the series, but manager Dave Roberts says the chances of him doing so are very good.

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He will not start on Wednesday, however, as the Dodgers will try to bounce back on the mound in Game 3 with Julio Urias.