Observations from the First Few Days
Jake Arrieta isn't human
But we already knew that. The wildcard dominance just reaffirmed it. In the second half, hitters hit .184/.204/.205 off of him scoring 12 runs. In 107.3 innings. That comes out to one run for every nine innings he pitched. If you're looking for someone to pull a Madison Baumgarner this year, he's the odds on favorite, and no one else is close.
Managers getting too cute
This isn't really specific to these playoffs but managers just seem to be trying too every year in the postseason, mainly while managing their bullpen. Last year Ned Yost inexplicably decided to put Yordano Ventura in the seventh inning of the wildcard playoff against the A's in 2014. This year, in game one of the Blue Jays-Rangers series Jeff Bannister pulled Yovani Gallardo after five innings in which he gave up two runs on 79 pitches. Yeah, you read that right. While Gallardo wasn't exactly cruising there's no reason to pull him just because he had given up one run the inning before. While it makes sense to be more careful in October, all the pitchers could be working for three weeks. It's just a nonsensical strategy.
Someone needs to give everyone on the Pirates a hug
Three years, three one game crapshoots in the playoffs and two frustrating exits. To put it bluntly: the playoff system is stupid. there is no reason for a one game playoff in a sport with as long of a season as baseball other than to make money and get some cheap excitement. This isn't fair to the Pirates, who have averaged 93 wins a season and deserve better than some gimmicky cry for attention from the MLB. That's been the rant. Now back to the regularly scheduled column.
Carlos Gomez: A strained intercostal has relegated Gomez to pinch running duties the first two games of the ALDS. He's been just as entertaining as usual, getting picked off in game two and drawing multiple throws in the first game. The Astros are being pretty noncommittal about his status but I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the lineup in game three.
Adrian Beltre: After straining his back, Beltre missed half of game one of the Rangers-Blue Jays series and all of the second game. The Rangers are saying he's day-to-day, so with the day off my guess is that he plays in game three.
Players to watch
In two sentences or less
He's 6'3" 215 pounds and goes all-out on every pitch, like Bryce Harper of a few years ago.
Could become a god in Queens if he leads the Mets to the World Series.
Kershaw is under arguably more pressure this October than any other player. He's melted down in the postseason two straight years and needs to do well to shed the reputation as a choker.
UPDATE: Kershaw wasn't dominant, but pitched decently, going 6 and 2/3 innings and allowing three runs, although he ran into some trouble in the seventh inning in the Dodgers loss to the Mets on last night. The jury's still out.