Stephen Strasburg, Nats flamethrower, controversially m.i.a.
The 2012 playoffs have so far featured a botched infield fly rule call
against the hard-luck Atlanta Braves
and a number of other surprises. The biggest has to be the first postseason game since 1933 in Washington, D.C.
The Nats and St. Louis Cardinals are tied at one win apiece. Even better: The game is being played in daylight, starting at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time. The Baltimore Orioles
, the second Cinderella Team, tied the Yankees
on strong pitching and great infield defense. The Yankees had a power outage on the field, and then suffered a second as their train to New York broke down. Both Orioles and Yankees took the bus, not usually an aspect of major-league life aside from spring-training exhibition games. (One pitches a hurler from the Mexican League
; the opposing pitcher is from Japan
. Baseball is truly international, a point stressed in our book
.) The Oakland Athletics
benefited from a circus catch by Coco Crisp
and one other defensive gem against ultra-meaty Prince Fielder
to win their first playoff game against the muscular Detroit Tigers. The Tigers remain on the cusp of advancing, but who knows? The unusual, cricket-like dimensions of the A’s stadium does all sorts of things. The Cincinnati Reds, featuring super-fire-balling Cuban Aroldis Chapman
(he can throw the ball 106 mph), saw their home debut slip away from the San Francisco Giants on an error by star third baseman Scott Rolen
. I (Evander) thought Dusty Baker
would swallow his toothpick. This is one of the most unpredictable postseasons I could remember, a brilliant carryover from a terrific season.