That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Red Sox wait for Astros or White Sox; Braves on the brink; Giants coming off some miracle pitching need one more

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (left) is Amaury’s pick for the 2021 Manager of the Year Award here he has a laugh with bench coach Tim Hyers (right) during game 3 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays Sat Oct 9, 2021 at Fenway Park in Boston (AP News photo)

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary:

#1 The Boston Red Sox who have had their share of walk off wins now wait for their next opponent after getting a ninth inning walk off in their game four victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. The Red Sox will face either the Houston Astros or the Chicago White Sox.

#2 The Houston Astros who have a 2-1 ALDS series lead over the Chicago White Sox tonight at Guarantee Rate Field in Chicago need one more to advance to the ALCS and face the Boston Red Sox. But not before battling with Tony LaRussa’s White Sox. Chicago knows they have their backs to the wall against a very well prepared Dusty Baker’s Houston Astros.

#3 The Atlanta Braves have had just nothing short of great pitching in their last two games against the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS. The Braves got two back to back shutouts by scores of 3-0 to take a 2-1 lead in the series after the Brewers took game 1. The Brewers will be starting Eric Lauer a left hander against the Braves Charlie Morton in game five today at Trusit Park in Cobb County.

#4 The San Francisco Giants got their wins on shutouts against the Los Angeles Dodgers mighty line up. The Dodgers are without Max Muncy and Clayton Kershaw during this NLDS did that handicap them? The Dodgers got an offensive outburst in game 2 with a 9-2 win against Giants starter Kevin Gausman. The Giants got shutouts out of pitchers Logan Webb and Alex Webb in games 1 and 2 but really depend on starter Anthony DeScafani who matches up against the Dodgers Tony Gonsolin in game four tonight at Dodgers Stadium.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: The Wild Card Game-Will It Be History?

The Los Angeles Dodgers Cody Bellinger scores ahead of Chris Taylor who hit the game winning two run home run in the bottom of the ninth on Wed Oct 6, 2021 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles in the NL Wild Card game to advance to face the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS on Fri Oct 8, 2021 (AP News photo)

The Wild Card Game – Will It be History?

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Major League Baseball Wild Card game was added to the postseason in 2012. I would be surprised if the powers to be, maintain the Wild Card Game for years to come. Once in a while, you get a great result that makes justice from a Wild Card game. Best example: the LA Dodgers who won 106 games and finished second to the 107-win-season of the SF Giants defeated the St Louis Cardinals and therefore the Dodgers advanced to what should be an epic showdown in the National League Divisional Series against the SF Giants. These great rivals (only surpassed by the Yankees vs Red Sox rivalry) will face each other for the first time in a postseason since 1883 when both franchises played in New York.

(History) In 1951 both the NY Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers finished season with identical record. Played a NL 3-game tie-breaker series to decide the winner. In game three Giants Bobby Thompson hit the walk off home run known as “Shot ‘Heard ‘Round the World”. I believe the Wild Card should also be a 3-game series, not a one-game win or go home.

In a sport where you play a 162 game season, there is no reason than a team that finishes with 106 wins, which could have won anyplace except their own division, has to play an elimination game in order to stay alive in the playoffs.

It just doesn’t make any sense. If the Cardinals would have eliminated the Dodgers, everybody and their uncle, would be talking today about it and forever. Okay, so everybody agrees that baseball is a marathon.

A marathon is a a race of 26.1 miles. Have you ever seen a marathon where the winner is then asked to run a 100 meter sprint with the guy that finished behind, to decide the race?

This 2021 was a great season for baseball, specially after a covid-shortened 60 game season last year. A week ago there was a chaotic scenario in the American League, where a total of 4 teams could have finished in a tie fighting for two (2) wild card spots.

That did not happened, but it will repeat itself under the current playoff structure. Although I understand the other opinion, where people say “that’s a lot of fun” to have a half dozen teams involved at the end of the season, prior to the postseason.

A lot of casual fans, the ones that do not attend baseball games with frequency, love to watch a game where one team celebrates and the other team cry. It is the thrill and drama of a guaranteed conclusion.

We can all expect more changes in baseball in the years to come and I cannot say today that the Wild Card game is here to stay. The season will come to an end later this month and we will crown a new champion. The most exciting game in baseball is not the Wild Card game, the most exciting game in baseball is the seventh game of the World Series. Period.

Amaury Pi-González elected the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame (BARHOF), Cuban Sports Hall of Fame (Miami), Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame, Advisory Board of ASA (American Sportscasters Association) NYC, Broadcasting sports for over 40 years, and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: The Ultimate Baseball Face-off – Dusty Baker vs Tony LaRussa

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker (left) and Chicago White Sox manager Tony LaRussa meet at Minute Maid Field in Houston on Thu Oct 7, 2021 for game 1 of the ALDS (file photo NBC Sports)

The Ultimate Baseball Face-off – Dusty Baker vs Tony LaRussa

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

The American League Divisional Series is an attractive one. Two of the best hitting teams in all of baseball with very good pitching also. Manager Dusty Baker of the AL Western Division Champion Houston Astros, who will host Tony La Russa Manager of the Chicago White Sox Champion of the AL Central Division. Two excellent managers, who both return to the show after a few years of “unemployment”.

The two managers cut their teeth here in the Bay Area, Tony (The Hall of Famer) with the Athletics and Dusty (The Players Manager) with the Giants, they are two “old school” managers, not necessarily going by today’s super hyper stats of high-velocity pitches and hits, infield shifts, launch angle and all the other stuff which some media and fans overdose these days. Both not afraid of using the bunt, sacrifice, or as well as the hit and run or ‘run and hit’ and very much manage with their guts in-game situation.

Tony LaRussa is the active manager with the most wins ever 2,821, which places him second all-time behind the legendary owner and manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, Connie Mack who won a total of 3,731 baseball games.

Dusty Baker occupies No.12 in the all-time managers in wins with 1,987. Having covered both managers and traveled with them, there is a rivalry between both, the two oldest managers in baseball this season, Tony 77, Dusty 72.

They both speak conversational Spanish. In the 1980’s I recorded “El Show de Tony LaRussa” which was a three minute inside pregame show for radio. Tony would talk about the previous game with his take as a manager. With Dusty, many times I interviewed him including in the late 1990s when he was managing the Giants including 2002 when he won the National League Pennant and lost the World Series to the LA Angels.

This American League Divisional Series begins this Thursday, October 7 at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, who finished the season with 95-67 winning the West, while the Chicago White Sox ended with 93-69. This is the best-of-5 and Houston owns home-field advantage. Prediction: It will be a 5 game series. Houston is a much experienced postseason-proven team than Chicago. They didn’t clinch until the last week of the regular season.

Chicago White Sox won the Central Division (the weakest in baseball, second-place Cleveland Indians finished 13 games from Chicago). The Sox had their share of injuries, but they were never really challenged, they are a dynamic and mostly young ball club, which many critics believe (before the season) that LaRussa would be “too old” to win with this young group of players, but he proved those guys wrong and here is another Tony LaRussa team in the postseason.

Some great hitters for Houston in the series: José Altuve, Carlos Correa, Jordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Yuliesky Gurriel, who just won the league batting title with a .319 average, which today is the equivalent of hitting .340 decades ago, a breakthrough year for Kyle Tucker who was a First Round pick in the 2015 Draft, for the Astros and ended this season with his best numbers at 24 years of age, hit .294 with 30 home runs and 92 RBI. Their rotation is solid and a good bullpen to complete the game.

The Chicago White Sox can swing it with anybody. Tim Anderson, José Abreu, Yoán Moncada, Luis Robert, César Hernández, Eloy Jiménez, Yasmani Grandal, some of the names that can hit and hit for power. A very good pitching staff with Carlos Rodón, Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease, and a very strong bullpen with Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendricks to close the game.

I give the edge to Houston in 5 games, but if Chicago wins, they have the potential to run the table and go all the way and win the World Series.

About the Wild Card game: (Note) I never liked the Wild Card game, just one game to decide a season. The LA Dodgers won 106 games this year and finished second. The first team ever to finish with 106 wins and not win their division. The Dodgers play the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, Oct 6.

The winner advances, the other team goes home. Just image winning 106 games and getting eliminated in the first round of the postseason? Something is not right here. This is not the NFL. Solution? Wild Card should be the best of 3 games. Just reduce the season to 152 games instead of 162 to even the whole year schedule, so the World Series doesn’t end by Thanksgiving Day. Who really likes the ‘due or die games’? Fans and especially, television, who usually score very good ratings.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez call post season baseball on CBS Spanish radio and reported for Telemundo TV and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com