Crazy night on the coasts tonight. I cannot begin to say how much I really don’t like extra innings in the postseason. Look, I get the necessity because you must have a winner, but in the regular season, the pace of the game continues as usual. But in the postseason (because more is on the line), the game slows down progressively. And there has only been 1 day of baseball without extra innings (the NLDS Wild Card Showdown), and the Royals play tomorrow so you know where you can get “free baseball” if you happen to be near Kansas City.
But I jest (sort of)…
No, tonight’s game in the Capital was one for the records, officially the longest postseason game ever played in MLB history at 6 hours and 23 minutes. Of course, playing a full 18 innings probably had something to do with that. Yes, I said 18 innings. Basically, the Nationals and Giants played the equivalent of 2 back-to-back games, ending just after midnight in D.C.
The Nats scored in the 3rd with an RBI single and spent the majority of the game defending their 1-0 lead. That is, until the top of the 9th, when the Giants scored their own run, an RBI double. (That play was challenged only because a 2nd runner tried to score and was thrown out at the plate, which was challenged and the call was upheld — only 1 run was legitimate and tied up the game.) It was 1-1 for nearly 3 more hours. Right up until the top of the 18th inning, when the Giants’ lead-off hitter belted (pun intended as the batter’s surname is Belt) a long solo home run into the 2nd deck of the right field seats. It was 2-1 Giants, something San Francisco did everything in their power to defend, something they did with much success.
NLDS Game 2a — Giants over Nationals 2-1 (in 18)
And over on the left coast, the Dodgers hosted the Cardinals. The Dodgers sent up another of their ridiculously amazing starters, and that certainly helped them in tonight’s game, going 7 innings. And it looked like the Dodgers were certainly on their way to win tonight’s game. In the 3rd, the Dodgers jumped ahead with some offense. A lead-off double, a single, an RBI ground out (an interesting play itself — an overturned challenge found that a fielder never properly tagged one runner he was trying to get as part of a double play), a strikeout, and then an RBI single. The Dodgers were up 2-0 right then, forced to rely on their bullpen to keep it intact.
No such luck. Once their starter was out of the game, the Cardinals pounced. Now, both teams were halted, even with bases loaded a few times during the game, but the Cardinals took advantage of a weaker spot in the bullpen and tied up the game with a single and 2-run home run. Of course, the Dodgers got their lead back in the bottom of the 8th with a lead-off solo home run. It was kind of a giveaway that this was going to be the Dodgers’ game tonight, and honestly, the Cards just weren’t putting up the same kind of tenacity that I saw yesterday.
NLDS Game 2b — Dodgers over Cardinals 3-2
No Yankee news… not surprising this week. Let’s stick to the “no news is good news” assumption and enjoy a week of peace in Yankee Universe. And it’s still weird watching so much baseball without one Yankee game. Maybe that’s why I keep (subconsciously, I guess) rooting for guys that have played for the Yankees at some point and now play for one of the teams in the postseason. I feel a little like Rogers Hornsby’s tongue-in-cheek quote… looking out the window and waiting for Spring. In more ways than one.