The League Championship Series are underway in MLB, so we thought it would be a good time to check in with the final four teams left playing in baseball with the prize of the World Series within site.
DIAMONDACKS (Behind 0-1 to the Phillies)
Arizona has a .808 OPS in six playoff games.
Corbin Carroll has two homers, two steals and a .381/.519/.714 slash line as he continues his absolutely remarkable rookie campaign.
Zac Gallen gave up a leadoff homer to Kyle Schwarber, and then like five pitches later Byrce Harper also took him deep (Nick Castellanos then homered in the second). During the regular season, Gallen allowed 22 homers with a 0.94 HR/9 rate with only a single three homer allowed effort over 34 starts (four against the Dodgers on August 28th).
Evan Longoria has nine strikeouts in 20 at-bats.
Paul Sewald has racked up four saves in six games while allowing no walks and just two hits over the four frames.
The Phillies are 27-11 at Citizens Banke Park, the best winning percentage at home in the history of the playoffs (min. 20 games).
The Phillies have 12 more homers than their opponent, the largest differential over seven games ever. Speaking of bombs…
Bryce Harper homers – and his team can do the victory dance.
Harper is part of a historic homer duo with Nick Castellanos.
Rhys Hoskins is holding out hope that his mates make the World Series. Then, he’s hoping to be able to help them on the field. Out all season long as he works his way back from a torn ACL, he’s been facing live pitching since October 4th in Florida. “Rhys just isn’t quite ready yet,” manager Rob Thomson said. “Just some timing. Turns on the bases look just a little bit tentative for me. In talking to him and talking through it, we just felt it was safer to hold off for a minute and see if we can get him [back] if we move on. Hopefully, we move on to the next series and have him available then.” If Hoskins returns, he would only be a pinch hitting option. A slight chance of DH work is theoretically possible, but Kyle Schwarber isn’t very good out there with a glove on, and it seems like quite the task for a player to take their first official at-bat of the season in the W.S., does it not?
Zack Wheeler lowered his WHIP to 0.70 over nine postseason starts, the lowest mark ever over a nine game start span.
ASTROS (Behind 0-2 to the Rangers)
Only two teams in the last 26 years have come back to win a 7-game series down 0-2.
The Astros went 6-1 at Globe Life Field this season and were 51-30 on the road. They swept the Rangers in a three game series in September outscoring them 39-10.
Yordan Alvarez had a rough Game 1 with three strikeouts, he was dealing with the flu, but he blasted two homers in Game 2. He has six homers and a 1.701 OPS while driving in eight of the Astros’ 24 runs scored. He also has 29 of the teams 91 total bases in the six games. He’s been a monster.
Framber Valdez allowed four runs on the first 16 pitches he threw.
During the playoffs the Astros are batting .232 with a .284 OBP. Here are some of the stragglers…
Kyle Tucker is a mess right now going 2 for-22. He’s not taking great at-bats. He’s not the only struggling player though as Jose Altuve is 1-for-17 of late. Yainer Diaz has five strikeouts and no hits in 10 at-bats. If we want to take things back to the regular season, how about this one. Mr. Biceps, Jeremy Pena, last hit a home run on July 5th.
The Rangers are the 6th team to start a postseason 7-0 and are one win short of tying the 2014 Royals’ record. The club has trailed at the end of just a single inning in the seven games.
Teams that are up 2-0 in a seven game series win 84 percent of the time (75 of 89 times).
Evan Carter has a .536 OBP in seven games over 27 plate appearances.
Nathan Eovaldi picked up the win in Game two allowing three runs, with nine strikeouts, over six innings. In the fifth, with the bases loaded and no out, he escaped without allowing a run (he led the AL with a .168 BAA with RISP – min. 140 IP). That effort left him with a career playoff ERA of 2.87 and 2.29 this season (with a 0.86 WHIP and 32 percent K-rate). How is it possible that he’s been that dominant given his terrible six start September where he allowed seven homers, had a 1.92 WHIP and permitted 21 runs over 20.1 innings? Just remarkable has been the turnaround.
Jose Leclerc has pitched in all seven games for the Rangers this postseason. No pitcher has ever done that before which isn’t shocking in the least. What a workhorse he’s been as manager Bruce Bochy has gone old school here in the playoffs (like leaving Eovaldi in with the bases loaded and no outs). Love seeing a guy use his staff with guts/guile/brains – vs. simply pivoting to a spreadsheet.
Nathan Lowe has 12 Ks in 30 ABs with only one walk.