Holt hit for the first ever cycle in major league postseason history in ALDS Game 3 on Monday in the Bronx as the Red Sox embarrassed the Yankees 16-1. It was the most lopsided loss in Yankees postseason history in what is their 54th time in the playoffs.
After a single and two-run triple in the fourth inning and double in the eighth, Holt walked to the dish in the ninth a home run shy of history. He got to face backup catcher Austin Romine since the Yanks didn’t want to further burn their bullpen, and Holt yanked one down the right field line and over the wall for a two-run shot. Hey, he’ll take it.
Boston pounded out 18 hits, but Holt had their only home run and three of their five extra-base knocks on the night, as they mostly singled the Yankees to death while also benefitting greatly from eight walks. Andrew Benintendi (four times on base, three RBI) and Mookie Betts (three times on base, two RBI) also had nice nights at the plate.
Nathan Eovaldi wasn’t even a given to be in the Red Sox’ ALDS rotation, but on Monday he turned in one of the best pitching performances of this year’s playoffs. He tossed seven innings of one-run ball, allowing just five singles and no walks while notching five strikeouts. Eovaldi retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced and was still hitting triple digits in his final inning of work.
Luis Severino was charged with six runs on seven hits and two walks over three-plus innings of work in a clunker of an outing. It was pretty clear from a get-go that he didn’t have it and it was a surprise that manager Aaron Boone stuck with him as long as he did. It was also a surprise that the first reliever Boone turned to was Lance Lynn, who walked in a run, gave up a bases-clearing double and a single among the four batters he faced.
For what it’s worth, TBS analyst Ron Darling reported during the game that Severino began his warmup routine just 10 minutes before first pitch because he was unaware what time the game started. However, Severino, Boone and pitching coach Larry Rothschild all said that the righty went through his normal routine and there were no issues. Regardless, there’s no doubting Severino had a rough night. The only guy whose night might have been worse was umpire Angel Hernandez.
The Yankees were down 0-2 in last year’s ALDS versus the Indians before storming back with three straight victories to advance to the ALCS and will need another comeback this time around to stay alive. They’ve hand the ball to CC Sabathia on Tuesday and the Red Sox will counter with Rick Porcello as they try to move on to face the Astros.
Astros Spring into ALCS
George Springer was a relative disappointment from a power perspective during the regular season. Apparently he just needed to get back to the postseason to start swatting home runs again.
Springer popped two more longballs Monday in Cleveland as the Astros closed out their ALDS sweep of the Indians. His solo shot in the fifth inning got the scoring going for Houston and his solo blast in the eighth kicked off a six-run frame as the Astros ran away with what was ultimately an 11-3 victory.
Springer – who also added an infield single in the game – has now hit 10 home runs over 27 postseason contests covering 123 plate appearances, which is an Astros record. Seven of those longballs have come across his last nine playoff games.
The Astros also got a dinger from Carlos Correa on Monday, which was the shortstop’s lone hit of the ALDS. The hope, obviously, is that it will get Correa going after he struggled down the stretch while fighting through a nagging back injury.
Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Dallas Keuchel combined to allow just five runs over 17 1/3 innings (2.60 ERA) in their three starts after Keuchel held the Indians to two runs across five frames Monday. They had a 21/3 K/BB ratio over that span (thanks in large part to Cole’s 12/0 K/BB ratio in Game 2). How about Houston’s bullpen? The only run they gave up across 9 2/3 innings in the ALDS scored Monday on a Will Harris wild pitch.
After coming up just short in Game 7 of the World Series in 2016, the Indians have now been beaten in the ALDS two years in a row. Outside of Francisco Lindor, who homered Monday and went 4-for-11 with a couple longballs in the series, the Tribe’s offense didn’t really show up against the Astros. Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso went a combined 6-for-48 (.125) with zero extra-base hits in the series.
The Astros will face the winner of the Red Sox/Yankees series in Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday. They’ll host if the Yankees advance and will be on the road if the Red Sox move on.
Dodgers Down Braves
The Dodgers are back in the NLCS again.
Manny Machado had a big night as the Dodgers eliminated the Braves on Monday with a 6-2 NLDS Game 4 victory. The shortstop plated the first run of the game with an RBI double in the top of the first inning off of starter Mike Foltynewicz. He provided a deadly blow in the seventh with a three-run home run off of reliever Chad Sobotka.
The Dodgers also got a big hit from David Freese, who came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit, two-run single in the sixth inning to give Los Angeles a lead that they wouldn’t give up. Freese coming up with a big base hit in October. Imagine that.
Rich Hill walked five batters and lasted just 4 1/3 innings Monday, but the Dodgers’ bullpen once again came up big with 4 2/3 scoreless frames and just two baserunners allowed. Aside from a solo home run Alex Wood surrendered to Freddie Freeman in Game 3, the Dodgers’ pen didn’t give up a run the entire series.
The Dodgers’ big trade deadline acquisition, Machado went just 3-for-17 in the series and struck out seven times. However, he certainly picked his spots with those three hits, driving in six runs with a two-run homer, a three-run homer and an RBI double.
It was a rough series for the Braves’ bats in particular. They were shut out in Games 1 and 2 and the only runs they scored in Game 4 came on a pinch-hit, two-run single by Kurt Suzuki. In other words, their starting lineup didn’t drive in a run in three of the four games.
While the NLDS didn’t turn out as hoped, the Braves have to be pretty thrilled with their season. They were viewed by most coming into the season as likely at least a year or two away from being a contender, but they clicked sooner than expected and wound up winning the National League East fairly easily. With Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies and Freeman and a boatload of interesting young arms to build around, they could be a steady presence in October for a while.
As for the Dodgers, they will begin their NLCS matchup against the Brewers in Milwaukee on Friday. It’s a matchup of probably the most talented team in the NL against inarguably the hottest team in the Senior Circuit.
Quick Hits: Miguel Sano won't face criminal charges for an accident in the Dominican Republic on Sunday which left a police officer with a broken leg … Avisail Garcia underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee … Kevan Smith underwent successful surgery on his left ankle … The Marlins have fired pitching coach Juan Nieves, first base coach Perry Hill, assistant hitting coach Frank Menechino, and strength and conditioning coach Ty Hill …