MLB’s Sweet 16

All day baseball.

Jim Rome
October 01, 2020 - 9:56 am
Chris Paddack

USA Today


MLB’s Sweet 16 really kicked into action yesterday with eight games. And here’s a quick summary: the Twins are done. They lost again. Their 18th straight postseason loss. Nothing but respect for the GOATS. You guys are the best. Turn up, love you guys, awesome.

The Rays finished off the Jays. New York beat Cleveland 10-9 in the longest 9-inning game in MLB history. That game was so long, they started playing it in September and finally ended it in October. Hey-ooooooo!

And they won it on with a DJ LeMahieu single.

So now Tampa Bay and New York will play each other in San Diego. That’s a sentence I’ve never said before, but 2020 is full of firsts. And given the dislike between those two teams, and the fact that Tampa Bay has “a whole bleepin’ stable of guys that throw 98” this should get really nice, really fast. 

And speaking of San Diego, Padre Fans, how are you feeling this morning? Because that did not go according to plan yesterday. I know you’re missing your number one and your number two, but when you make your return to the postseason after a long absence, you don’t want this happening with one man on in the first inning, Paul Goldschmidt goes yard.

Uh oh!  That’ll leave a mark. A big mark. Because the Cardinals weren’t done. That homer was followed by a double, an RBI single, another double, and then a sac fly. When it was all over, it was 4-0 Cardinals.

Chris Paddack got the start for the Padres and to say it didn’t go well would be an understatement. It went pretty horribly. 8 hits, 6 runs, and didn’t make it out of the third.  Again, no one expected this guy to be an horse or a horse. Well, except paddock, who for some reason, thinks he actually did pretty well:

"I noticed early that they were jumping on my fastball. I thought we did an awesome job of executing our pitches. I guess that's postseason baseball. I take all the blame for Game 1. "The game speeds up in a postseason start. Every pitch I was mentally fatigued because I knew every pitch was important."

That is an interesting quote, especially that part where he said “I thought we did an awesome job of executing our pitches.” My man, you just gave up 8 hits and 6 runs in 2 1/3 innings. And that’s an “awesome job of executing our pitches”? I love a positive attitude, but if leaving the game with an ERA over 23 is awesome, what would you consider bad? An ERA of 46? 92?

Or maybe I’ve got this wrong. When you say you did an awesome job of executing, what exactly do you mean? Do you mean an awesome job of locating? Because I’ll give you that: you did an awesome of locating the barrel of every one of their bats: if that’s your point, then yes, I’d agree, you executed flawlessly. If the goal was to make sure the cardinals squared up absolutely everything they saw, then yes, your execution was perfect.

But I’m not here to dump on the Padres. I’m just saying, it was a really bad time to have a really bad day. But they’ve got a chance today to win and keep your season alive.

If you wanted to see some postseason experts, you needed to take the 5 north to Los Angeles, because the Dodgers showed everyone how it’s done. And they showed just how talented they are.

Mookie Betts, playing in his first postseason game for the Dodgers, led off the bottom of the first with a double. Then the Dodgers followed that with a walk, a pop out, a walk, and then an RBI walk. Then a fly out. And then another RBI walk.

That’s two runs in the first inning off walks. Taking that many pitches with the bases loaded in the postseason, is serious patience. And some serious control issues for Brewers pitcher Brent Suitor. Four walks in the first inning, tying an MLB record. Unlike the Padres, I’m not so sure Suter was doing an awesome job of executing his pitches.

Chris Taylor led off the second with a double and then Betts came to the plate. 

3-0 Dodgers. And at that point, it looked like the rout was. If the Dodgers went on to win that game 12-0, I wouldn’t have been surprised. But they didn’t. The bats went quiet. And instead, they had to battle for everything.

You want some evidence of how good the Dodgers are? They had six hits and still won. They had six hits and scored four runs. They went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position in the first two innings and still won. And there’s more.

Walker Buehler only was battling blisters and only lasted four innings. If you told the Brewers before the game the Dodgers would only have six hits and Buehler would leave after four innings, Milwaukee would’ve been fired up. But it still wasn’t enough.

Because Julio Urias went three shutout innings and pretty much saved the game before turning over to the rest of the bullpen. In other words, even when the Dodgers have an off-night, almost across the board, they still win.

So here’s the challenge facing the Brewers and the rest of baseball at the moment – you have to keep the Dodger bats quiet, but that’s not enough. You have to hold the offense down and chase their starter early in the game. And even if you do both of those things, it still might not be enough. And even if it is enough, which it wasn’t last night, you get to face Clayton Kershaw tonight with your season on the line. Good luck with that. This is the best Dodgers team I’ve seen in quite some time, and they’re the ones to beat. Period.