I’m going to assume you all know the Astros lead the Yankees two games to none in the American League Championship Series and the Phillies and Padres are tied at one win each in the National League Championship Series. I’m also going to assume that you either know how those games went or that you know how to look up game recaps yourself.
It’s also become clear that the Astros are huge favorites to win it all this year. I don’t like to put gambling links in here, but the bookmakers agree with that. Of course, considering how many upsets there have been in the playoffs this year, the Astros probably shouldn’t be getting their ring fingers sized anytime soon.
- On that point, Dan Szymborski reminds us that the playoffs are still a crapshoot that have more to do with luck than anything else. Unless you’re the Minnesota Twins. Then they are a foregone conclusion.
- Alex Kirshner tells those who criticize the current playoff format that the playoffs have actually been awesome this year.
- Chris Gilligan agrees and notes that we’ve been treated to some compelling playoff games this year.
- R.J. Anderson has three possible reasons for the large number of upsets we’ve had this October.
- Jeff Passan talks to the Astros about how incredible a hitter Astros OF/DH Yordan Álvarez is.
- Molly Knight writes that the Dodgers decision to trade Álvarez in 2016 for reliever Josh Fields could end up as an “all-time franchise disaster.” She also quotes a rival scout who calls Álvarez the “best hitter he’s ever advanced.”
- Richard Justice writes that Álvarez is striking “Barry Bonds-level fear” in opponents. Justice also notes that in those trade talks, the Dodgers initially balked because they thought the Astros were asking for Yadier Álvarez, a pitcher who would never make it past Triple-A.
- Andy McCullough notes that the Astros have lost “generational talents” to free agency and they still keep winning. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Josh Criswell explains why Astros rookie Jeremy Peña makes a “heart sign” after big plays.
- Stephanie Apstein notes that Astros haters are “running out of ammo” as the team keeps winning.
- Ben Clemens issues managerial report cards for the AL Division Series.
- Turning to the NLCS, Paul Casella looks at the pitching possibilities for the Phillies and Padres the rest of the series. There are no more scheduled off-days in the NLCS.
- Zach Crizer thinks the Phillies 1-2 starter punch of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola gives Philadelphia the edge. He wrote this before Nola took the loss in Game 2.
- Tim Keown sat with the parents of Aaron and Austin Nola, who became the first pitcher/hitter brothers to ever face each other in a playoff series in Game 2. They clearly have divided loyalties and are trying to be supportive of both sons.
- Jayson Stark has more on the Nola matchup and other “Weird and Wild” facts from Game 2 of the NLCS. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Ken Rosenthal notes that Padres outfielder Juan Soto lived up to expectations in Game 2. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Leo Morgenstern notes that Padres first baseman Josh Bell’s hot streaks come when he’s more patient at the plate.
- AJ Cassavell has the story of Padres reliever Luis García, who was out of baseball and working as a barber 11 years ago. He signed with an independent team where he was ironically discovered by the Phillies, who signed him to a contract.
- Gritty, the beloved Philadelphia Flyers mascot, has declared Philadelphia the best city in sports right now. Between the Phillies, the Eagles, the Flyers and the Union, it’s hard to argue with that. Just ignore the Sixers.
- Bradford Doolittle has three questions for the Guardians now that their season is over. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- Blue Jays outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. underwent surgery on his wrist. He’s expected to recover in time for Spring Training.
- The Angels fired their hitting coaches, Jeremy Reed and John Mallee.
- Sam Blum takes a “nuanced” look at whether or not Shohei Ohtani wants to remain an Angel. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Former MLB outfielder Yoenis Céspedes is tearing up the Winter Leagues right now, looking like his old self.
- In case you missed it, here are the 2022 Gold Glove finalists.
- And finally, Jim Sergent and Gabe Lacques have 22 historic moments from the 2022 season.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.