This is why baseball is still great, folks. We’re barely into the playoffs, and our expectations have already been broken, MVPs are already separating themselves from the pack, and a relief pitcher hit a two-run triple?? I understand if you’re more concerned with what sneakers Lonzo Ball is wearing during preseason basketball, except I don’t. Here’s a few of the biggest surprises of the postseason so far:
- Jose Freaking Altuve
Fans of the movie Rudy and people who shop local have got to be stoked on Jose Altuve’s career, and especially his three-homer game against Chris Sale and the Red Sox. As the most consistent player on the AL’s most powerful offense, Altuve is setting himself apart as the MVP frontrunner. Obviously, there’s still a bit of baseball left to be played before the World Series, but his ability to carry his team, particularly against an arm as dominant as Sale’s.
- Sale’s First Postseason Appearance Spoiled
Let me lay aside impartiality for a moment and say that I’m not the biggest fan of Chris Sale. Between his cutting up the jerseys for the White Sox’ throwback night in his last season with Chicago and the fact that he now plays for Boston, I don’t have a lot of reasons to cheer for the guy. All of that aside, he was clearly one of the best, if not THE best pitcher of the regular season, but we all know that the regular season means little to nothing for pitchers once they enter the postseason. Guys like Sale’s teammate David Price have notoriously faltered once the regular season finishes, even Clayton Kershaw has posted sub-par figures in his postseason career. This one start doesn’t mean Sale is a bad postseason starter, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he ended up being just OK or even sub-par as his career goes on.
- Bauer Shuts Down Yankees
Cleveland manager Terry Francona faced some tough questions regarding his choice to start Trevor Bauer in Game 1 over ace Corey Kluber, but right now he looks like a genius. If this isn’t sufficient redemption for his drone-wounded finger spewing blood on the mound last October, maybe the Indians can run a promotion where he buys everyone pizza or something. He took the powerful Yankee offense to the cleaners for 6 2/3 shutout innings. The same way the postseason can cast doubt on the Kershaws of baseball, it can immortalize names like Joe Panik and Trevor Bauer.
- Bradley Triples Home Two
Triples are certainly one of the most exciting plays in baseball, but what about when they happen in the Wild Card game, off the bat, of a reliever with an amazing beard? Incredible. Archie Bradley’s two-run triple in the seventh against Colorado. Although Bradley then gave up two home runs in the next inning, the D-Backs held on for the win.
Postseason play continues today, with the series between the Cubs and Nationals and Dodgers and Diamondbacks kicking off. Stay tuned for the locura (it means craziness in Spanish.)