Setting the tone for a series in the MLB Playoffs is a crucial thing to do. While it’s not guarantee that the team that wins Game 1 will ultimately take the series, it certainly helps. And even more so in a shortened five-game series, which is what we have here. Both home teams on Thursday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers did just that, but they did so in totally different ways.
The Brewers were made to fight very hard for theirs. First, the Brew Crew jumped out in front of, you guessed it, Christian Yelich. The MVP candidate put them ahead of the Rockies 2-0 in the third inning with a home run, and for the longest time that looked like it would be enough to hold on. Alas, that wasn’t the case, as the Rockies fought back to tie the game in the ninth inning and send it to extras. Once again, Yelich would play a central role. This time, though, it was Mike Moustakas, whom they traded for in order to get experience in their team, that batted him in and won them the game 3-2 on a walk-off single.
In Los Angeles, the Dodgers had a much simpler task ahead of them against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves looked every bit their young selves in Game 1, failing to make hardly any noise. Riding a dominant Hyun-Jin Ryu, who only had a couple of shaky moments, the Dodgers were able to take a first inning lead off Joc Pederson’s home run. Max Muncy made it 4-0 an inning later, taking advantage of a frazzled-looking Mike Foltynewicz, who would only last two innings on the night. Enrique Hernandez also homered and they added a run via a sac fly to finish the game 6-0 up and make the ideal start to the NLDS with Game 2 coming tomorrow night.
In the NFL, the New England Patriots took on the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football, and the result continued to go the Pats in the series. It had been since 2009 that the Colts had beat them, and to no one’s surprise, that run has been extended for another game. That’s because Tom Brady was back to close to his best. He did have two INTs on the night, as did Andrew Luck on the other side, but he threw three touchdowns to give him 500 on his career. His 500th went to newly acquired Josh Gordon, showing just how big that signing could be for them. Brady joins Brett Favre (at 509) and Peyton Manning (539) as the only quarterbacks with 500 or more touchdowns. He could soon be first on the list.