It’s Wednesday which means we’re already seeing the Championship Series take some kind of shape, and for many, it might not be the shape they were expecting. The Braves lead the Dodgers 2-0, and the Rays have a edge on the Astros, leading the series 3-0, putting Houston on the brink of elimination.
For the Dodgers, however, the sad story is that of a late-scratched Clayton Kershaw, who was experiencing back spasms prior to Tuesday’s game.
Kershaw, who has long lived under the shadow of postseason yips, was finally having the kind of strong postseason run that many had wanted for him, so for his own body to be the thing that betrays him now makes it all the more disappointing. It’s unlikely we’ll see Kershaw return in the Championship Series, and it remains to be seen if there will be a trip to the World Series for the Dodgers this year.
- Tony Wolfe looks at the scratch for FanGraphs.
- Andy McCullough breaks down Kershaw’s postseason history in a series of portraits and moments. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- ESPN looks at what losing Kershaw might mean for the Dodgers.
The other major story this week is the passing of yet another Hall of Famer, as Joe Morgan passed away at the age of 77.
- Joe Morgan is the most recent in a slew of Hall of Famers we’ve lost this year. MLB.com has a video with Brian Kenny remembering the legend.
- Tim Kurkjian likewise pays homage to the incredible player and broadcaster.
- Jenna West of Sports Illustrated offers additional remembrance of Morgan.
- Eno Sarris wonders how long the Randy Arozarena experience can maintain its current momentum for the Rays. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- How does the 2020 postseason stack up to others? Jay Jaffe looks at the postseason by the numbers.
- Tommy Pham of the Padres is in good condition following a stabbing on Sunday, reports Michael Shapiro.
- A’s legendary exec Billy Beane looks to be on his way out of baseball, as reported by Jared Diamond, Joshua Robinson and Miriam Gottfried.
- Ben Clemens spotlights the “perpetually greenlit” Ronald Acuña Jr.
- Ken Rosenthal has the emotional story of umpire John Hirschbeck and his late son Michael, and the memorabilia that bonded them. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- On Monday, Rays outfielder Manuel Margot hit a three-run home run, then went ahead and did THIS.
Great catch by Manuel Margot!! To get Morton out of a jam pic.twitter.com/tVx0IfKTyj— Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) October 12, 2020
And then on Tuesday, Kevin Kiermaier did THIS.
- There has been plenty written about the Margot catch since Monday. Fabian Ardaya looks at it as a bright point in a dark year. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Michael Clair breaks that catch down frame by frame so you don’t miss an instant.
- The Braves have an incredible lineup of young pitchers, and Matt Baumann looks at how they’re getting an opportunity to show their value to the team this October.
- How did Ryan Weathers’ father get him ready for the Padres postseason? Ken Rosenthal shares the father-son story. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Who won the trade? Sam Miller investigates the major trades that got the final four teams to their place in the postseason.
- We saw fans at a live game this week, and Levi Weaver wonders how it felt to have real people in the stands again. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Chad Jennings would like to know who you’d rather sign: Jackie Bradley Jr. or George Springer? (The Athletic subscription required.)
- There’s plenty of writing out there about Babe Ruth, but Roger Cormier takes a deep dive into Ruthian lore.
- The Dodgers have a Kenley Jansen problem and no easy solution, writes Zach Kram.
- Mark Melancon made one heck of a catch for teammate Ozzie Albies on Monday night...
But one time wasn’t enough, so the pair did it again on Tuesday.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.