I’ve got to say that if you told me in March that Joc Pederson would be one of the heroes of the National League Championship Series, I’d have been very happy. Or at least happier than I am now.
Baseball writer Joe Sheehan notes that in the Wild Card era, teams that are 16 games or more better than their opponent in the final regular season standings are 11-1 in playoff series. The Dodgers better get moving or it will be 11-2. In case you were wondering, the one exception was the 2001 Yankees over the Mariners.
- We interrupt this playoff update to bring you important news from the minor leagues. Jeff Passan first reported that MLB will now provide housing for all of their minor league players starting next season. Details have yet to be worked out, so we don’t know how this will work yet. It’s a major step in the right direction for minor league players and their dignity. They are still going to be underpaid, but by not nearly as much.
- Evan Drellich writes that this change took place in large part because the minor leaguers finally began to speak up for themselves. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- This article is a little old because it was published all the way back on Friday. But Zack Kram has a preview of the two Championship Series and says that the American League features slugging offense and the National League features pitching. That’s held up pretty well so far.
- One slugger over in the NL is the Braves’ Joc Pederson. Anthony DiComo looks at what’s gone down in “Joctober” so far.
- Jaylon Thompson writes about the bad base running error by the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor that doomed Los Angeles in game one.
- Dylan Hernández argues that the Braves didn’t win game one, the Dodgers offensive struggles lost it.
- Bob Nightengale agrees. The Braves had no business winning Game 1.
- Dodgers’ Game 2 starter Max Scherzer said his arm was “dead” during his start.
- Chad Thornburg lists the 14 teams that have come back from an 0-2 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.
- Over in the American League, Jeff Passan looks at the incredible hot streak that the Red Sox’s Enrique Hernandez is on. Also about Hernandez’s improbably rise to baseball stardom.
- Martín Gallegos writes about how Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo has embraced his Mexican roots and how Boston has come around to embracing him.
- Zach Crizer writes about how the Red Sox stuck with manager Alex Cora after his sign-stealing suspension and how they are reaping the rewards.
- On the other side, Crizer examines how Astros shortstop Carlos Correa has refused to hide from the scandal, but that he also refuses to let it define him.
- Brian McTaggart places the current Astros infield among the best infields of all-time.
- Bill Ladson spoke with former Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston and Gaston told him how much he’s rooting for his good friend Dusty Baker to win a World Series as a manager.
- Gabe Lacques writes that the Astros are counting on a trio of Latin American-born pitchers to get them to the World Series.
- Unfortunately, one of those pitchers, Luis Garcia, is dealing with a knee injury suffered in Game 2. R.J. Anderson looks at what the Astros’ options are for Game 4 now.
- Chris Cwik helps you pick one of the remaining playoff teams to cheer for if you already hate all four of them.
- Ben Clemens has a report card for all four managers from the ALDS.
- Michael Baumann believes that the Giants’ 2021 season deserved a better ending than the one it got.
- Matt Snyder examines where the Giants go from here over the off-season.
- Thomas Harrigan looks at which contract options for 2022 are likely to be picked up and which players are likely to become free agents.
- Former Cardinals manager Mike Shildt spoke for the first time since his firing and he admitted that there were some differences between him and the front office. (The Athletic sub. req.)
The Padres are expected to interview Mike Shildt for their managerial opening, sources tell @Britt_Ghiroli and me. Shildt, who was fired by the Cardinals on Thursday, oversaw three playoff trips in four seasons as St. Louis’ manager.— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) October 18, 2021
- And finally, Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin pitched in Game 1 of the NLCS wearing some beautiful cat cleats.
And may tomorrow be a better day than today, Buster.