Verlander’s Dominance and the Red’s Team Effort Highlight Day 1 of the LDS

Game 1 of the ALDS from Detroit

Coco Crisp leads of the game with a home run off Justin Verlander! Then we remember that it’s Justin Verlander on the mound.

That was the problem for the A’s yesterday. They struck first against the Tigers ace, and even gave Jarrod Parker a lead before he even set foot on the mound for his first ever playoff start. But unfortunately, facing the daunting lineup of the Tigers was a tough call for him. He surrendered the lead in the bottom half of the inning, and from there on out, it was all Verlander’s game. A mental mistake by Parker in the 3rd inning fielding a bunt put the A’s in a hole, and then a solo shot in the 5th was all the insurance Verlander would need.

It’s tough to face the Tigers in short series, especially with the imposing Verlander going 2 games and facing their daunting lineup, it’s tough. Especially with the A’s being a strikeout prone team, and the Tigers staff possessing swing and miss stuff, its a tough matchup. It seemed like the A’s could never sustain a threat against Verlander in his 7 innings. He struck out 11, including 5 at one time. The A’s did have a chance though, in the bottom of the 8th inning, Brandon Moss flew out to to the wall and with that any serious chance the A’s had at tying went away.

Pat Neshek touches the patch with his son’s initials after getting the 2 biggest outs of his career.

 

On a more serious note, Oakland A’s pitcher Pat Neshek came in with 2 on and one out, getting out of the jam in the bottom half of the seventh inning. It was an emotional outing for Neshek, as it was his first appearance since his the death of his son October 3rd, a mere 23 hours after he was born. The A’s players are wearing a patch with Gehrig Jon Neshek’s initials on their right sleeve, and as Neshek was running off the field, he touched his sleeve and looked to the sky. He said those would be 2 outs that he would remember forever. This is another great thing about the A’s, their whole family got behind him in this tough time, even in the midst of the playoffs to back a fellow teammate and stick behind him. Another reason why I love them.

Game 1 of the NLDS in San Francisco

Game 1 of the NLDS. Probably the most intriguing matchup of the first round. Two evenly matched teams, both hungry to make a deep run this playoffs, after missing out on the party last year. The Reds sent out their ace, and Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto, against Matt Cain, the Giants ace who also is a Cy Young candidate.

Unfortunately for the Reds, Cueto didn’t make it out of the first inning, leaving with back spasms. But lucky for them, they have a manager in Dusty Baker who knows how to move things around and fix most situations. He brought in Seth LeCure for an inning and 2/3 before giving the ball to game 2 starter Mat Latos. Latos, who the Reds brought over in an offseason trade to bolster the Reds pitching staff, has experience pitching against the Giants so he was no stranger to this lineup. He came in and pitched admirably. He worked 4 innings, throwing only 57 pitches, enough to pave the way for the Reds 2012 version of the Nasty Boys relief crew. By keeping his pitch count low, he kept the idea open that he could come back for game 3.

The real star of this game was Brandon Phillips. He hit a 2 run home run in the 3rd inning, and added 2 more hits later in the game, including a key insurance run in the top half of the 9th inning. Phillips also made a HUGE defensive play in the 6th, saving an errant throw from going into the outfield and keeping the runner at 1st. Later in the game, he made a matrix like play on a ground ball, avoiding the tag of Marco Scutaro and keeping the rally alive. The Reds didn’t score that inning, but it was just another day in the life of Brandon Phillips, aka @DatDudeBP on twitter. It makes things interesting going forward in the series and the Giants are going to have to stop him if they want to win this series.

Today there is a full ledger of games, all 4 division series are in action. The A’s start the day with game 2, aka a HUGE game. If they win, they have momentum going home for the final 3. Should be an intense game. Following that will be game 1 of the Washington/St. Louis series. The night games, will lead off with game 1 of the Baltimore/New York rivalry revisited, this time hopefully no Jeffery Maier sighting. Followed by game 2 of the Giants/Reds series. Even though this is a day for football, I am all about baseball today!

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