MLB Postseason Recap, Day 8: Phillies, Padres set for NLCS while Guardians push New York to the brink

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI/Shutterstock (13468054aa) Cleveland Guardians right fielder Oscar Gonzalez celebrates while being swarmed by teammates and watched by New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo after hitting a game-winning two-run single in the ninth inning during game three of the American League Divisional Series at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Saturday, October 15, 2022. The Guardians beat the Yankees 6-5 to take a 2-1 lead in their best of five ALDS. Alds Yankees Guardians, Cleveland, California, United States – 15 Oct 2022

MLB Postseason Recap, Day 8: Phillies, Padres set for NLCS while Guardians push New York to the brink

NL Division Series, Game 4: Phillies 8, Braves 3 (Phillies win series, 3-1)

The defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves suddenly found themselves on the ropes after just three games with the Philadelphia Phillies entering Saturday, turning to veteran right-hander Charlie Morton with their season on the line today at Citizens Bank Park. He’d be opposed by Noah Syndergaard, a former Met with plenty of experience pitching big games in the NL East. After a scoreless top of the first, Morton got off to a bumpy start in the bottom of the inning as Philadelphia would start the afternoon with a walk and a single to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Morton would cut through the heart of the Phillies order to escape the jam, retiring JT Realmuto, Bryce Harper, and Nick Castellanos in order to keep things scoreless. The dam would break in the second, though, as Alec Bohm and Jean Segura reached with one out before Brandon Marsh launched a home run into the right field seats to put Philadelphia ahead 3-0 and send the crowd in attendance into a frenzy. Orlando Arcia would respond in the top of the third for Atlanta, yanking a fastball down the left field line just inside the foul pole for a solo homer. Charlie Morton took the mound with intentions of starting the bottom of the third inning for the Braves moments later, but Braves manager Brian Snitker would head to the mound with a member of Atlanta’s training staff and remove him due to some type of injury before he could make the inning’s first pitch. After Snitker turned to Colin McHugh in Morton’s place, JT Realmuto quickly greeted the righty with a deep drive off the center field wall that would become a deafening inside-the-park home run after it bounced awkwardly into no man’s land in right-center field. Atlanta would respond again in the top of the fourth, this time with a towering Matt Olson solo home run off Phillies reliever Andrew Bellatti to pull the deficit back to 4-2. The Phillies loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning yet again against McHugh, but this time a huge strikeout of JT Realmuto would allow the Braves to emerge unscathed. 

Philadelphia threatened again in the sixth, as a Jean Segura single and Kyle Schwarber hit by pitch set up a Rhys Hoskins RBI single to extend the lead to 5-2. Realmuto and Harper would follow with two more RBI singles, and Philadelphia led 7-2 before Atlanta could escape the inning. Travis d’Arnaud connected with a solo shot in the seventh to make it 7-3, but Philly’s bullpen would hold steady the rest of the way. A Bryce Harper solo home run in the eighth made it 8-3, and Seranthony Dominguez finished off the 3-1 series win in the ninth. Atlanta’s 101-win season ends abruptly with the loss. Philadelphia will head to San Diego for Game 1 of the NLCS.

AL Division Series, Game 3: Guardians 6, Yankees 5 (Guardians lead series, 2-1)

The ALDS shifted to Cleveland after the Yankees and Guardians split the first two games in New York, setting up a pivotal Game 3 in front of a passionate crowd at Progressive Field. Triston McKenzie took the hill for the Guardians hoping to build on a career season, opposing Yankees’ righty Luis Severino. Cleveland got off to a quick start, as three of their first four hitters picked up base hits en route to a 1-0 lead delivered by Josh Naylor’s RBI single. The Guardians would lead off the second similarly, with Gabriel Arias and Austin Hedges setting the table for a Steven Kwan RBI single that extended their lead to 2-0. The Yankees would respond in Yankees fashion in the top of the third, as Oswaldo Cabrera reached on a double in front of a towering 449-foot Aaron Judge home run, his first hit of the series to tie it at 2-2. Both pitchers kept things quiet until the fifth when Oswaldo Cabrera drove his first career Postseason home run into the right field seats to give New York a 4-2 lead. 

Luis Severino settled in nicely after the traffic he faced over the first two innings but would exit with two on and two out in the bottom of the sixth in favor of reliever Lou Trivino. Cleveland would push across a run with an RBI single by Will Brennan, pulling within a run heading into the seventh. Harrison Bader connected on a no-doubt home run against Guardians’ reliever Sam Hentges to left field half an inning later, extending New York’s lead back to two runs at 5-3. The homer by Bader was the first run allowed by the Guardians’ bullpen over five Postseason games, and they’d hold the Yankee lead where it was the rest of the way. Wandy Peralta would continue pitching into the ninth after a scoreless eighth for New York, but singles by Myles Straw and Steven Kwan would put runners at the corners and force Aaron Boone to turn to Clarke Schmidt. The Guardians kept the line moving, as an Amed Rosario RBI single ignited the Cleveland crowd as they cut the lead to 5-4. Jose Ramirez followed with a single, loading the bases ahead of Josh Naylor with one out in front of a ballpark ready to explode. Naylor struck out, but Oscar Gonzalez came through with his second walk-off hit of the Postseason – this time a ground ball through the middle that scored both Steven Kwan and Amed Rosario for a 6-5 win to put the Bronx Bombers on the brink of elimination. Cleveland will have an opportunity to close out the Yankees tomorrow as Game 1 starters Gerrit Cole and Cal Quantrill run it back. 

Game 4: Sunday, 6:07pm CT

NL Division Series, Game 4: Padres 5, Dodgers 3 (Padres win series, 3-1)

San Diego was abuzz all day in advance of Game 4, an opportunity of a lifetime to eliminate the team that had dominated them for years and reach their first NLCS since 1998. The Los Angeles Dodgers won 111 games during the regular season, finishing 22 games ahead of the Padres for first place in the NL West – but none of that mattered as they entered Saturday night’s rain-delayed game needing a win to stay alive in this Postseason. San Diego native Joe Musgrove, who dominated the Mets for seven innings to polish off the Padres’ Wild Card Series win, got a massive ovation as he took the mound with a huge opportunity ahead of him. After he and Dodgers’ starter Tyler Anderson each worked through two scoreless innings to start the night, the Dodgers would finally break through in the top of the third. A walk by Mookie Betts and a double by Trea Turner set the table for Freddie Freeman, who delivered a two-run double, putting the Dodgers on top. It was the Dodgers’ first hit with runners in scoring position since Game 1 of the series, following a ridiculous streak that saw them go 0-for-20 with runners in scoring position over the course of the week. 

Tyler Anderson’s start was just what the doctor ordered for the Dodgers – five strong, scoreless innings in which he only allowed four baserunners while striking out six. San Diego picked up two singles in the sixth off new Dodgers pitcher Chris Martin, but Martin wiggled out of it by striking out Wil Myers to keep it 2-0. San Diego also turned to their bullpen in the top of the seventh, but Steven Wilson struggled with the fearsome three at the top of Los Angeles’ order. Mookie Betts’ walk was followed by a Trea Turner single, and the bases would be loaded moments later after Freddie Freeman was hit by a pitch. Will Smith smacked a sacrifice fly to left field to make it 3-0 Dodgers, and both Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman stole bases to set up an opportunity to break the game wide open. Padres’ manager Bob Melvin turned to lefty Tim Hill to escape the jam, and he did his job successfully by retiring Max Muncy and Justin Turner. San Diego’s offense would respond to the momentum gained, stringing together a walk and two singles against Tommy Kahnle to plate their first run of the night. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Kahnle in favor of Yency Almonte following the Austin Nola RBI single, and Ha-Seong Kim would immediately slap a ground ball double down the left field line to make it 3-2, followed by a Juan Soto single that tied the game – all with nobody out as the San Diego crowd rained down loud chants of “Beat LA.” Almonte finally stopped the bleeding with a huge strikeout of Machado, followed by a foul pop-out by Brandon Drury. Dave Roberts dipped into his bullpen again, looking for the final out, turning to Alex Vesia for the lefty-lefty matchup against Jake Cronenworth despite Vesia not having warmed up in the bullpen. The Dodgers then inexplicably allowed Juan Soto to take second base without a throw, strangely deciding that pursuing that out wasn’t worth doing. It would cost them moments later when Cronenworth’s two-run single made it 5-3 Padres. The rain started falling harder over the game’s final two innings, but the party had already started in the crowd at Petco Park, and nobody seemed to care. Robert Suarez continued his run of dominance with a scoreless top of the eighth, and Josh Hader handled business in the ninth to end the Dodgers’ record-setting season with a whimper. It’ll be Phillies-Padres in the NLCS, starting Tuesday night from San Diego.

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