The Changeup: Tampa Takes ALCS Game 1 ft. Some Bush League Plays, Sun 10/11
TB beats HOU 2-1 (TB Leads Series 1-0)
Close But Sloppy Game. This was a good game. I love games that are tied for a majority of the time and the final run differential is only 1 run. However, this game was full of bad defense and bad baserunning on both sides, so it’s amazing that the score stayed so low. Houston actually got 9 hits over Tampa Bay’s 6 hits, but Tampa still inched them out.
Tampa Hustles. I picked Tampa Bay somewhat arbitrarily as my new favorite horse in this race because they seem to play the game the right way. The more I watch them, the more impressed I become with their sportsmanship. The whole team is very level-headed. I didn’t see anyone throw a helmet in the dugout or break a bat over his leg. They hardly argued with the Blue at all. Brosseau got beaned in the back and his reaction was one of the mildest reactions I have ever seen to being HBP.
On every ball hit, Tampa hustles to the bag, even if it’s a routine ground out. TB Kiermaier doubled twice in the game, and both times he sprinted to 2nd despite being well ahead of the throws. He’s not afraid to dive and his jersey got filthy by the middle of the game. I love it, but his laundry team probably doesn’t.
Bottom 3, TB Kiermaier Misreads a Steal Sign? Kiermaier doubled to right and was hanging out on second. With 1 out and Zunino batting, Kiermaier tries to steal third and gets thrown out. The play is not close at all, but Tampa still challenges the call. It wasn’t a hit and run play either because Zunino didn’t even swing at the pitch. I honestly think Kiermaier may have misread the sign here because a straight steal of third base is a very high-risk low-success play.
Top 4, a One-Man Double Play. TB Adames turns an unassisted line out double play. Tampa Bay has the shift on for HOU lefty Tucker, so SS Adames is shifted all the way to the 1st base side of 2nd. Tucker lines out to Adames and Adames shuffles 10 feet to step on second, doubling the runner off. That’s one of the quickest double plays you’ll ever see. Blink and you’ll miss it.
Bottom 5, HOU Valdez Behind the Back Catch. Starting Pitcher Valdez makes a nice behind the back catch on a single hop ground ball hit straight back to him. He was still in his follow through motion, so catching that ball was pure instinct.
TB Snell Somehow Gets the Wins. Starter Blake Snell went 5 full innings, throwing 105 pitches and giving up 6 hits / 1 run. You’d think a Starter that goes 5 innings with only 1 earned run would probably only be at 70 pitches, but Snell’s pitch count got run up right in the 1st inning, where he had to throw 29 pitches. Some how some way, he pitched 5 full and secured the win for himself and for Tampa.
Sloppy Plays on Both Sides
Both Sides Get Hit By Pitches. TB Brosseau gets hit by a 95 mph fastball square in the back, right on the “B” on his letters. It was definitely painful, but he looks unphased. With his reaction, you’d think he just got lightly flicked on the shoulder. Later in the game, HOU Brantley gets beaned in the butt by TB. This could have been TB’s retaliation, but I think it was just an accident.
TB Wild Pitch and Passed Ball. In Top 6, a HOU runner advanced to third on a TB Zunino passed ball that was low and on the ground. In Top 8, a HOU runner advances on Reliever Loup’s wild pitch. I actually think both of these balls were catchable by Zunino and both should have been scored as passed balls. Luckily, neither of these ended up mattering anyways.
Top 2, HOU Springer’s Anticlimactic Pickoff. HOU Springer was hanging out on first and got caught running before TB Snell (LHP) started his motion. Springer trots to second in a sad attempt to escape the pickoff and just jogs into the second baseman’s tag. He didn’t even try to slide.
About the Author
Bonnie Young runs the Amplified blog. She shares her insights on market trends from US to Asia and interviews founders that are shaking up the tech scene. She has been passionate about baseball since the age of 13 and regularly attended A's games before the pandemic. Bonnie is currently looking for a growth equity or VC role in the Bay Area. You can reach her at email@example.com
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