The first official game of the MLB postseason took place on Tuesday night with the Chicago Cubs playing host to the Colorado Rockies. And much like the finish to the regular season, it did not disappoint in terms of drama. The game was tight, just like you’d imagine a playoff game to be. Every pitch mattered and every run was ultra-important in the end. The Rockies took an early lead that they would hold for a very long time in the first inning of the contest after they pushed across Charlie Blackmon via a sac fly from Nolan Arenado. That gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead, and they would hold that lead until the eighth inning.
That’s because both starting pitchers were irresistible on the night. Jon Lester was tremendous apart from the first inning, and the Rockies got a magnificent performance from 25 year old rookie Kyle Freeland. With him on the mound, the Cubs decided not to start the likes of Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward due to match up problems. In a sense, the Rockies had already won in that regard. Both pitchers eventually exited, but the scoring didn’t just explode. Javi Baez, though, took advantage of reliever Adam Ottovino for a double in the next-to-last-frame of regulation to drive in the controversial Terrance Gore, who had at one point faked being hit by a pitch on the night. Such was the desperation to score.
The desperation was ratcheted up a notch as the Cubs brought Cole Hamels in. But in the end, Tony Wolters was the hero. With two outs in the top of the 13th inning, the man who hadn’t got a hit since September 10th, came up trumps with a tie breaking RBI single to give his team a 2-1 lead. The hit gave the Rockies their first NLDS berth since 2009, and it helped them get over the hump from last season after they were eliminated at this stage.
Wednesday night’s AL Wild Card Game will pit the Oakland Athletics against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. And the starters have been named. Ever the unorthodox team of MLB, the A’s have named Liam Hendriks as the starting pitcher. Yep, that’s right. A reliever. It looks like it will be a bullpen game from them, as they take on Luis Severino from the off for the Bronx Bombers. Two totally different strategies. Which will pay off, and who will be left watching the other play the Red Sox in the ALDS?