One’s in, one’s not.
Ian Kinsler is projected as the starting second baseman for the host Boston Red Sox, while Joc Pederson is not among the opening nine for the LA Dodgers.
This marks the second straight year that two MOTs have opposed each other in baseball’s final showcase. You may recall that Pederson created quite a story in the 2017 Fall Classic, belting three home runs and a couple of doubles in a losing cause against the Houston Astros. Alex Bregman had a couple of long balls himself in that one for the ‘Stros.
Kinsler has appeared in two World Series, 2010 and 2011 while with the Texas Rangers, in which he batted .293 (12-for-41) with no home runs and two RBIs.
(Because Jews + hoops = Joops)
Omri Casspi made his 2018 debut with the Memphis Grizzles on Friday, scoring 11 points in 24 minutes off the bench to help his team beat the visiting Atlanta Hawks, 131-117.
The 30-year-old Israeli import — and the only Jew in the league at this point — hit on four of eight field goal attempts (missing both tries from three-point land) and three of six foul shots. He also pulled down four rebounds and made two assists.
Casspi — who seems to have missed more than his share of games due to various injuries and coaches’ ennui — did not appear in the season opener, a 111-83 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
The Grizzlies (1-1) are his seventh team in his nine-year NBA career,: Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Kings (again), New Orleans Pelicans (for whom he scored 12 points in his only appearance before before getting hurt), Minnesota Timberwolves, Kings (again!), and the Golden State Warriors, who mercilessly released him with two games left on the schedule last year. I can’t figure out why he can’t stick since he’s generally regarded as a great teammate and a solid bench player. Maybe this is his year.
QB Josh Rosen had a tough go of it for the Arizona Cardinals (1-6, T-3, NFC West) in their 45-10 loss to the visiting Denver Broncos on Thursday. He was 21 of 39 in passing with one TD and three interceptions, two of which were run back for Bronco touchdowns. Rosen also rushed once for 14 yards. Rosen sustained a sprained toe which might impact his next game.
Mitchell Schwartz appeared on all of the KC Chiefs’ 70 offensive plays plus another eight (30 percent) on special teams in a 45-10 win over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs are 6-1 to lead the AFC West.
Ali Marpet — who recently signed a six-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3, third, NFC South) — appeared on all of the team’s 95 (!) offensive plays plus another six (18 percent) on ST in a 26-23 overtime win over the visiting Cleveland Browns (2-4-1, fourth, AFC North). Kicker Greg Joseph did not have any field goal attempts but connected on three PATs for the Browns. Nice piece on the rookie in The Times of Israel.
Nate Ebner appeared on 27 ST plays (82 percent) as the New England Patriots (5-2, first, AFC East) beat the host Chicago Bears, 38-31. He assisted on one tackle.
Jordan Dangerfield and the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1, first, AFC North) were in their bye week.
Brad Ausmus returns to the ranks of field generals in baseball. He was named as skipper of the LA Angels, replacing long-time manager Mike Soscia who had ben with the team since 2000.
Ausmus, 49, led the Detroit Tigers for four seasons (2014-17). He took the team to the post-season in his rookie year, but was eliminated in the LDS series. Some say that his initial campaign was a success (90-72) because he inherited a good squad from his predecessor, Jim Leland. Ausmus finished under .500 in two of the next three years. He served in the front office of the Angels as a special assistant to the general manager.
As a player, Ausmus — primarily a catcher — enjoyed an 18-year career with the Houston Astros, LA Dodgers, Tigers, and San Diego Padres. He appeared in a JML-leading 1,971 games and finished with marks of .251 batting average, 80 home runs, and 607 runs batted in.
Ausmus was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. In a 2009 article published by the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, Ausmus — who also managed the Israeli National Team in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in 2013 — said, “I have had quite a few young Jewish boys who will tell me that I am their favorite player, or they love watching me play or they feel like baseball is a good fit for them because it worked for me, or it worked for Shawn Green or other Jewish players at the Major League level. It has been a sense of pride. If you can have a positive impact on a kid, I’m all for it.”
Congrats to Joc Pederson and the LA Dodgers. By beating the host Milwaukee Brewers, 5-1, on Saturday, they return to the Fall Classic where they will take on Ian Kinsler and the Boston Red Sox beginning tomorrow night at famed Fenway Park.
Pederson started in left field came out for a pinch hitter in the third inning after grounding out in his only at-bat leading off the game. Overall, he had three singles in 13 official plate appearances.
Ryan Braun was 0-for-4 in the deciding game. He had seven hits, including two doubles, in 29 at-bats and drove in four runs. The New York Times ran a nice feature on him on Saturday.
By the way, in case no one else mentions it among the hundreds of pre-Series background stories and fillers, Fenway — which opened in 1912 — and Dodger Stadium — 1962 — are two of the oldest ballparks in the Majors; only Wrigley Field (1916) is older than the Dodgers’ home field.
Another “fun fact” — the last time these two teams faced off in the World Series was back in 1916 when the Dodgers were known as the Brooklyn Robins (named after their beloved manager Wilbert Robinson). The Sox took the championship that fall, four games to one.
Congrats to the Boston Reds Sox. Their 4-1 win over the host Houston Astros puts them back into the World Series. Ian Kinsler was 2-for-4 as the starting second baseman, including a double and a run scored. Ales Bregman, once again at the top of the Astros’ lineup, was once again hitless, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Between the two MOTs, Bregman giveth…
And Bregman taketh away…
Now Boston has to await the winner of the Milwaukee Brewers (Ryan Braun) – Los Angeles Dodgers (Joc Pederson) NLCS with the former trailing the latter three games to two. That could be over tonight.
It took a circus catch by Andrew Benintendi to prevent Alex Bregman from being a hero once again for the Houston Astros.
The home team had the bases load with two out in the ninth and trailing the visiting Boston Red Sox, 8-6. If the ball drops, two runs would have scored, and if it got by Benintendi, the game would have been over. As it was, the Sox took a three-games-one advantage with the victory.
Perhaps it’s because he’s been so selective at the plate (11 walks in the post-season), but the Astros moved Bergman into the lead-off spot where he went 0-for-5.
Ian Kinsler appeared as a defensive replacement for the Sox in the ninth.
The fifth game takes place tonight.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers with a 5-2 win. Joc Pederson came on as a defensive replacement in the fourth inning and was 1-for-2 over the rest of the game.
Ryan Braun was 0-for-3 with a walk for the Brewers.
Game Six will have to wait for the teams to return to Miller Park tomorrow.
It took 13 innings and five hours and fifteen minutes for the LA Dodgers to beat the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, 2-1. Ryan Braun had three singles in six trips to the plate and stole a base with two out in the tenth.
Joc Pederson entered the game as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning and was hitless in three at-bats.
Shawn Green, who ranks second on the all-time home run list for MOTs behind Hank Greenberg, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The NLCS is tied at 2-2.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
The Boston Red Sox beat the host Houston Astros, 8-2, thanks mostly to a grand slam by Jackie Bradley Jr. Ian Kinsler started the game and was 0-for-3, remaining hitless in the LCS. He came out for a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Alex Bregman put on a defensive clinic, to paraphrase Ron Darling, making several excellent plays at third. Bregman tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth with a double to left, one of two hits he had in three official at-bats. He also walked — the 11th time he’s received a free pass in the post-season — to boost his OPS to a mind-boggling 1.214. More here.
Boston leads the ALCS, 2-1.
Geoff Schwartz and the visiting Kansas City Chiefs suffered their first loss of the year, coming at the hands of Nate Ebner‘s New England Patriots, 43-40. Schwartz appeared on all 54 offensive plays plus another eight (22 percent) on special teams. Ebner was in on 27 special team plays (75 percent) and assisted on a tackle. The Chiefs are 5-1, tops in the AFC West; the Patriots are tied for first with the Miami Dolphins with a 4-2 mark.
Josh Rosen got the start behind center for the Arizona Cardinals (1-5, T-3rd NFC West) in their 27-17 loss to the host Minnesota Vikings. Rosen completed 21 of 31 pass attempts for 240 yards (longest, 40), no touchdowns, and one interception. He was sacked four times for a loss of 32 yards.
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1, 2nd AFC North) strong safety Jordan Dangerfield appeared on four plays with the defensive unit (7 percent) and 20 (74 percent) on special teams in their 28-21 win over the host Cincinnati Bengals.
Ali Marpet appeared in all 66 offensive plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3, 3rd NFC South) plus another four (14 percent) on special teams, making one tackle in the team’s 34-29 loss to the host Atlanta Falcons.
Kicker Greg Joseph connected on two field go attempts (33 and 28 yards) but the Cleveland Browns (2-3-1, 4th AFC North) fell to the visiting Los Angeles Chargers, 38-14. He also appeared on five special team plays (17 percent).
As the saying goes, Ryan Braun drove in the only run the Milwaukee Brewers would need in their 4-0 win over Joc Pederson and the host LA Dodgers last night.
Braun hammered a one-out RBI double down the left field line in the opening frame.
He could have had an eighth-inning single following Christian Yellich’s bunt hit, but Yasiel Puig deked the base runner into thinking he would catch the ball on a fly and threw to second for the force out.
In the multiverse, this actually happened.
Pederson got the starting assignment in left, going 0-for-3. Mazel tov to him and his wife, Kelsey, on the birth of their daughter, Poppy Jett, on Sunday.
The Brewers lead the series 2-1. Game Four tonight.
The ALCS returns tonight as well as Ian Kinsler and the Boston Red Sox visit Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros. That series is tied at a game apiece. Bregman’s star is evident in Texas, but the postseason — both this year and last — is getting him wider recognition.