ARLINGTON, Texas — The Los Angeles Dodgers were already having a grand time before Max Muncy’s big slam capped the highest-scoring inning in a major league playoff game.
That new ballpark in his home state of Texas where the Dodgers hope to keep playing right through the World Series suddenly doesn’t seem too big anymore, and they are right back in the National League Championship Series after a 15-3 rout of the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.
Muncy’s slam off Grant Dayton capped an 11-run first inning when Los Angeles benefitted from a game-starting replay challenge, hit three home runs and had nine consecutive batters reach base after two outs. The Dodgers set franchise post-season records for runs and home runs with five, cutting their NLCS deficit to 2 games to 1.
“It’s pretty cool. Not too many things that are cooler than that,” Muncy said. “But the biggest thing to me is our team got a W and got us back on track.”
Joc Pederson hit a three-run homer off starter Kyle Wright to start his four-hit night, and Edwin Rios went deep on next pitch. Corey Seager had a pair of RBI hits in the opening burst, then added a solo homer in the third as the Dodgers built a 15-0 lead — the first team with that many runs in the first three innings of a post-season game.
— MLB (@MLB) October 14, 2020
Winner Julio Urias, made his first post-season start and improved to 3-0 in these playoffs, striking out five while allowing one run and three hits over five innings. He walked the first two batters but no more.
Atlanta’s miserable start was eerily similar to the Braves’ flop in Game 5 of last year’s Division Series against St. Louis, when they gave up a 10-run first inning at home in a season-ending start by Mike Foltynewicz.
Manager Dave Roberts said Clayton Kershaw will start Game 4 for the Dodgers, two nights after the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner from Dallas was scratched because of back spasms. Bryse Wilson makes his post-season debut as the third rookie right-handed starter for Atlanta in this series in what will be his first appearance since the final day of the regular season on Sept. 27.
“We still are in a good spot with four games left,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Like I say, for the whole team, you just turn the page and get ready to go tomorrow.”
The Dodgers had left the tying run at third base in a four-run bottom of the ninth during an 8-7 loss on Tuesday night. They were the visiting team in Game 3 and sent 14 batters to the plate for seven hits, three walks and a hit batter over 32 minutes in the the 29,786th half-inning in post-season history.
“It was a carryover,” reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger insisted.
“That was fun to be a part of,” Pederson said. “I think some of the momentum from last night, the last inning definitely carried over and got us feeling a little bit more comfortable at the plate.”
Those 15 runs over two times up came after the Braves had allowed only nine runs in their previous six games plus eight innings, a stretch that included four shutouts en route to a 7-0 post-season start.
Bellinger walked and scored in the first, led off the second with a homer and added an RBI single in the third. His long ball came right after his running, leaping catch at the centre field wall to rob Ozzie Albies with two on to end the Atlanta first.
“It’s not ideal how we started the series, but we feel good about ourselves,” Bellinger said.
Wright gave up seven runs while facing only nine batters. He had had thrown six scoreless innings in the Game 3 NL Division Series clincher over Miami last Thursday.
Mookie Betts had an infield single on the first pitch of the game, though he was initially called out before a replay challenge overturned the call by umpire Dan Iassogna. Seager drove in Betts with a double on the next pitch before groundouts by Justin Turner and Muncy.
“To get that infield hit, and then the next pitch, you see two pitches and you’ve already got a run, that was quite the change,” Roberts said.
Pederson that overturn “got us going, and then from there you saw what happened.”
Nine consecutive batters reached with two outs. Will Smith had an RBI double to make it 2-0, when he just beat a throw to the bag to avoid being the third out before Bellinger’s walk and the homers by Pederson and Rios. After No. 9 batter Chris Taylor drew a free pass, Dayton walked Betts, gave up the the RBI single to Seager and hit Turner on the foot before Muncy’s 435-foot slam to right-centre.
“I just realized that we got all those runs with two outs. Just really good at-bats,” Roberts said. “We hit some homers, took some walks. Just really a well-played inning. I do think last night’s ninth bled over into tonight.”
When Braves No. 9 hitter Cristian Pache finally got to bat leading off the third, the rookie hit his first big league homer — in the regular season or playoffs. All but one Dodgers starter had already batted three times.
Ozzie Albies, who homered in the ninth inning in each of the first two games for Atlanta, this time had to settle in the final frame for a double and scoring the final run on Joahan Camargo’s two-out single.
“At the end of the day it only counts as one game, right? Everybody in the clubhouse knows that,” shortstop Dansby Swanson said. “Tomorrow we’ll come back and put our best foot forward. … There are things to build on.”
JANSEN IN RELIEF
Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers’ primary closer since 2012 and career leader with 312 saves, pitched a 1-2-3 sixth. It was a week after he needed 30 pitches to get two outs and gave up two runs without being able to finish the 6-5 victory in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Padres.
Roberts, who bypassed Jansen when he went to the bullpen to start the ninth in a 1-1 tie in Game 1 of this series, has avoided being specific about the closer’s role. The 33-year-old Jansen’s velocity had been noticeably down and his control inconsistent.
Jansen threw seven of his 10 pitches for strikes, all but one of them between 88-92 mph. He was averaging 93-94 mph earlier this season.
“Kenley’s still our guy,” Seager said. “You trust him to go out there and get outs. We expect nothing different.”
Including his final two at-bats in Game 2 and his first three in Game 3, Seager had a span of producing an RBI in five consecutive plate appearances. That ties Carlos Beltran with the 2004 Houston Astros for the longest such streak in post-season history.
Wright and Dayton were the second set of teammates to both allow at least seven runs in a post-season game after Cleveland starter Bartolo Colon (seven runs) and Steve Reed (eight runs) in a 23-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of the 1999 AL Division Series.
DEEP IN TEXAS
The Dodgers, who led the majors with 118 homers in the pandemic-shortened 60-game regular season, had only one homer in their three-game NL Division Series sweep of the Padres last week at the Texas Rangers’ new $1.2 billion ballpark with the retractable roof also open. They have eight through three games of the NLCS, where the World Series will be played.
LOT OF BIG NUMBERS
The 15 runs matched the most in an NLCS game — the Braves beat the St. Louis Cardinals 15-0 in Game 7 of the 1996 NLCS. … Only the Chicago Cubs, with six in Game 3 of the 2015 NLDS, hit more homers in any post-season game. … The Dodgers’ eight extra-base hits matched the franchise record for a post-season game, and their 18 total bases in the first were an MLB record for an inning. … Only three other teams have had five different players homer in a playoff game. … Atlanta was the only team in the majors with an 11-run inning during the regular season.
Raptors Could Play 20-21 Season In Louisville – RealGM.com
The Toronto Raptors may not be able to play the 20-21 season in Canada due to the COVID-19 travel ban with Louisville, Kentucky being broached as a possible alternate location.
Louisville wouldn’t be first in line in the event of relocation or expansion, but it seems to be an easier sell to house the Raptors for a short period.
The Raptors would play at the KFC Yum! Center.
No decision has been made on this topic as it is one of many the league must decide upon in the coming weeks.
Bayern Munich 4-0 Atletico Madrid: Initial reactions and observations – Bavarian Football Works
Initial reactions and observations
- Bayern’s midfield dominated the match and dictated the tempo. Kimmich was probably the best midfielder tonight and gave another amazing display.
- Bayern’s defense showed character, but David Alaba’s form is worrying. His head is simply somewhere else. On the other hand, Süle, Hernandez, and Pavard were amazing.
- Coman had a phenomenal match and was probably the best player on the pitch. He has improved in recent months, but the competition on the wings might have made him a better player.
FULL TIME! Bayern Munich 4-0 Atletico Madrid
83’ — Davies, Martinez and Choupo-Moting in for Muller, Goretzka and Lewandowski
73’ — Bouna Sarr and Douglas costa in for Pavard and Coman.
72’ — ANOTHER WONDER GOAL! Coman scores his second tonight!
66’ — Tolisso scores a wonder goal!!!
45’ — The second half is underway!
Halftime Observations and Analysis
- Kimmich is crazy good. The midfielder was all over the pitch in the first 45 minutes and made a world-class assist for Coman.
- Coman looking refreshed. The Frenchman was lethal so far. He scored and assisted and made some dangerous runs on the left flank.
- The defense was shaky in the beginning but got better as the game progressed.
- Good job for dealing with a team like Atletico. Bayern usually has certain difficulties when playing against teams like Atletico, but for now, the Bavarians are managing to keep them at bay.
Halftime: Bayern lead 2-0.
41’ — Leon Goretzka scores and makes it 2:0
28’ — Kingsley Coman scores after Kimmich’s perfect pass!
Kickoff! New season of the Champions League is underway
One hour until kickoff: Bad news, Muller is on the wing. Even worse, Davies isn’t playing. Hansi, why?
THE CHAMPIOONS! It’s the very first match day of the new season, and defending champs Bayern Munich face the giant-killers — Club Atlético de Madrid, scourge of Europe, ender of UCL seasons. With Serge Gnabry confirmed out due to the coronavirus, Hansi Flick has lost one of his best weapons against Diego Simeone’s men. How will Bayern fare?
Well, first of all, figuring out a role for Alphonso Davies is the best idea for cracking Atlético Madrid open. Whether he starts on the wing or at left-back, the young Canadian’s pace is crucial in the absence both Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry. The other keys to the puzzle will be our blockbuster duo of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, who’ve been unplayable since the season started. With them, the Bavarians have a nigh-unstoppable battering ram that will definitely make Oblak and co. pause and consider their options.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: 9:00 pm local time, 3:00 pm EST
TV/streaming: CBS All Access, Find Your Country
Tips for commenting:
- If you’re a new member, feel free to introduce yourself. We’re
mostlyvery friendly! Also, we’re from all parts of the world so don’t feel shy if you’re from a country that doesn’t seem represented on the blog.
- SBN is a little slow to show new comments. Refresh the page regularly to keep up with the discussion, especially after goals.
- The goal celebrations are for everyone to participate in! Even if you’re lagging behind the others, keep replying to the most recent call of the player’s name. Even if you missed the first call, just start from the second, and so on.
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Check out our beginners thread if you have any more questions. That’s about it. Auf geht’s!
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Toronto Raptors prepare for a very different NBA draft – The Globe and Mail
Taking place in November instead of June, and during a pandemic that has limited the ability to scout players in person, the Toronto Raptors are preparing for a very different NBA draft experience.
The Raptors have the 29th and 59th picks in the draft, which will take place on Nov. 18, a little more than a month after the NBA Finals concluded inside the bubble in Orlando. The process of evaluating prospects live at games, combines and individual workouts has mostly shifted to studying those players on film and interviewing them by video calls.
The Raptors scouting department works year-round and has scouts around the world. Their staff had already learned a great deal about prospects before the pandemic shut down the sports world, including March Madness, in the spring.
“I think that we’re a front office that spends a lot of time digging in on guys throughout the entire season, not just during the predraft,” said Dan Tolzman, Raptors assistant general manager and vice-president of player personnel. “So a lot of the work we’ve done, it happened earlier in the year while the games were still going on.
“We feel pretty comfortable where things were when everything got changed. I think it’s going to come down to trusting in our gut feeling on some of these players.”
Typically, NBA teams bring potential picks to their cities for individual workouts close to the draft, but the league restricted most player travel because of the pandemic. Some players did local workouts and teams connected by video to watch or talk to them.
“We value the visits … and we get to know [the prospects] in person,” Tolzman said during a video call with reporters, adding that it was also a good way to sell the potential players on the city. “A lot of these guys have never been out of the country or especially to Toronto. It’s unfortunate for that side of things to kind of miss out on that opportunity. We’re still getting some one-on-one time. We’re doing a lot of Zoom interviews. It doesn’t recreate the interperson discussions, but we’re doing our best to at least get to know them.”
The Raptors are still doing homework on the prospects, including speaking with people who know them. Tolzman added that it can be tough to evaluate virtually how a player is doing with goals he may have stated months ago, such as changing his diet, adding or losing weight or improving a particular skill.
“It seems like forever since we’ve seen these players. They might be completely different from the last time we saw them playing in March,” Tolzman said. “We’re basing a lot of these decisions on extensive film work, discussions as a staff and a lot of background digging on players to get as much info as we can to make an educated decision come draft night.”
All teams missed the scouting opportunities that would have come with U.S. college conference tournaments and the NCAA tournament.
“Those are two events that are so important for the performances under pressure, the different sort of environments that are really good for critiquing players and getting to see them in different settings,” Tolzman said. “It’s almost like the final exam of a scouting season where you can go to a conference tournament and you can see 12 different draft prospects in one day.”
Tolzman said he believes the market for undrafted talent could be huge this year, because some potential gems never got the chance to shine in front of scouts.
He added that international prospects might be more NBA ready than in in the past, because they spent four or five months before this draft training in the United States, rather than previous years when they would typically be playing back home.
“Because of this situation most of them are now State-side and they’re already doing the NBA-type training methods,” Tolzman said. “They might hit the ground running a little bit quicker than normal.”
The NBA has not released any details about how the draft will operate or what it will look on TV. The Raptors will still feel at home where key members of their staff usually work on draft nights, inside their Toronto training facility – OVO Athletic Centre – fitted with sophisticated analytics technology.
“We’re waiting to hear officially from the league on what to expect,” Tolzman said. “I think all the technologies and all the setups that we usually have at OVO for these sorts of thing, we’re going to have the same things right in front of us. It’ll just be a matter of it looking and feeling a little bit different. But we’re going to make sure it’s all set up and ready to go at least a week in advance to get comfortable and ready.”
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