Position battles to watch at Astros spring training
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)HOUSTON – The Houston Astros are back for the 2021 season after a surprising run to Game 7 of the 2020 ALCS despite a losing regular season. Much of the 2021 Astros are set, but there are a handful of positions up for grabs. Myles StrawThe Astros versatile speedster started one-third of the season in center field last year, setting up as the incumbent for the job. Pedro LeonPossibly the most exciting of the Astros prospects, Houston signed Pedro Leon out of Cuba this offseason. Baez was strong again last season, pitching to a 3.18 ERA as one of LA’s set up pitchers.
Dodgers 1 win from title after 32 years and more than $3.6B
FILE - In this Oct. 20, 1988, file photo, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser holds his World Series Most Valuable Player trophy following the Dodgers' decisive 5-2 win over the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Ca. Since Hershiser struck out Oaklands Tony Phillips for the final out of the 1988 World Series, the Dodgers have played 5,014 regular-season games and 113 more in the postseason in pursuit of their next title. The rookie right-hander hopes to keep the World Series from reaching a Game 7 for the fourth time in five years. The Rays and Cash have impressed Roberts with their relentlessness, evidenced by their ninth-inning rally to win Game 4. Hershiser, the 1988 World Series MVP, says each time the postseason is lengthened it adds another level of uncertainty to the competition.
Power surge: Home runs more than half of scoring in playoffs
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)ARLINGTON, Texas – For all the talk about pride in advancing runners and manufacturing runs, teams in the postseason have really dug the long ball. Home runs drove in 235 of the 456 runs in the postseason through World Series Game 4, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That comes to 51.5%, up from 46.6% last year and highest since the postseason expanded beyond the World Series in 1969. That gave the Rays 33 homers in the postseason accounting for 52 of 76 runs (68.4%). The reason they’re in postseason, playing postseason baseball is because a lot of that coincides with great pitching and that’s what we’re seeing.
Dodgers 1st team to clinch playoff spot, beat Padres 7-5
The Los Angeles Dodgers bench claps for Will Smith after he hit a two-run double against the San Diego Padres in the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Derrick Tuskan)SAN DIEGO – The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the pandemic-shortened season, beating the San Diego Padres 7-5 Wednesday behind Dustin May's gutty effort out of the bullpen and home runs from AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor. Los Angeles is seeking its first World Series title since 1988. Grisham angered the Dodgers by briefly posing at the plate after homering off Clayton Kershaw in the Padres' 7-2 win Monday night. He was scheduled to have an MRI in Los Angeles on Wednesday after facing just one batter Tuesday night.
Lamet outduels Kershaw, Padres top LA 7-2 to tighten NL West
The Padres cut the Dodgers’ lead in the NL West to 1½ games. Lamet matched his season strikeout high with 11 while holding the Dodgers to one run and three hits while walking only two. Myers hit a leadoff single and Jurickson Profar had a one-out base hit to chase Kershaw in the seventh. Oña greeted Pedro Baez by lofting a double down the left-field line to give San Diego a 2-1 lead, and the Padres kept adding on. The Padres had a prime chance against Kershaw an inning earlier when rookie Jake Cronenworth hit a leadoff double.
Astros rally to beat Dodgers 7-5 despite angry LA fans
Bregman scored on Yuri Gurriel's sacrifice fly to center off Adam Kolarek for a 7-5 lead. The Astros improved to 7-17 on the road after coming in with losses in eight of their previous nine games. But there were multiple reminders that Dodger fans haven’t forgotten the Astros’ cheating scandal from their championship three years ago. Fans aren't allowed inside this season because of the coronavirus, but a group of Dodger supporters greeted the Astros' bus as it pulled in. Dodgers: RHP Dustin May, who took a line drive off his left foot in Arizona, had a CT scan that revealed a contusion but no fracture.