MLB Playoff Roundup: Sonny Gray beaten black and blue; Rangers sweep

Division Series - Baltimore Orioles v Texas Rangers - Game Three
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

We saw the first CS ticket punched on Tuesday night as Texas dusted the O’s.

After the off day on Monday, both ALDS series were back in the swing of things Tuesday night, kicking off with Houston clobbering the feel-good Twins and Texas sweeping the Orioles right out of Arlington, becoming the first team in the bracket to advance to the League Championship Series.

ALDS Game 3

Houston Astros 9, Minnesota Twins 1

(Astros lead series 2-1)

The Twins were able to knot up this series with a big win at Minute Maid Park, and headed back to Minneapolis with their Cy Young candidate on the hill. There’s been much consternation among Yankee fans at how Sonny Gray has rebounded to being one of the more dependable starters in the game, and that feeling must have only gotten worse. Gray was hammered by a deep Astros lineup, but given that it was the Astros, the payoff may not have been as sweet as some Yankee fans would like.

Gray lasted four innings, getting himself into a 4-0 hole in the top of the first. Kyle Tucker knocked José Altuve in with an RBI single in the first, before José Abreu notched a crooked number:

Gray managed to keep the score just 4-0, but didn’t have a single clean inning all day. After a strong start in the Wild Card round against the Blue Jays, if this is the way his terrific 2023 season ends, it’ll be a bittersweet pill to put up this kind of outing the week before he receives major Cy Young votes.

This wasn’t the end for the ‘Stros of course, who slammed three more home runs over the final five innings, one each from Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Abreu again.

It was in garbage time, but with four home runs in three postseason games, Yordan looks like the most dangerous hitter on the planet. In a lineup with a lot of stars, he suddenly looks like the hitter you gameplan around.

José Urquidy will get the ball in Game 4 today, with the chance to send Houston to their seventh-consecutive League Championship series. The Atlanta Braves hold the record with eight, but this dynasty of sorts in the heart of Texas just keeps on marching.

ALDS Game 3

Texas Rangers , Baltimore Orioles

(Rangers win series 3-0)

Texas let the AL West slip through their fingers down the stretch, but you wouldn’t know it by their performance in the postseason so far. After brushing aside the Rays in the Wild Card round, Nathan Eovaldi led his squad to a sweep of the 101-win Baltimore Orioles, punching the club’s ticket to their first League Championship series since 2011.

Eovaldi was dynamite — his first batter faced, likely AL Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson, popped up on a hard cutter inside, and it was like that all night. Nasty Nate threw seven shutout innings, his second win in a series-clinching game this season after he took the ball in game two against the Rays.

Offensively, the Rangers jumped ahead almost from the word go, plating six runs in the first two frames:

I’m starting to believe Corey Seager was a solid free agency pickup.

The Rangers will await the winner of the Twins-Astros series, while enjoying four days off to set their rotation exactly how they want it. Jon Gray will be eligible to return from the IL, and while Max Scherzer is also technically going to be available, it’s unclear at this time if he’ll be activated. Whatever happens, the boys from Arlington will have the chance to get as ready as possible ahead of the ALCS.

For the Orioles, they’ll have to look at this as a disappointing end to their most successful season in some time. Henderson was stellar in his first postseason run, but the lack of pitching depth became evident as the Rangers were able to put up big innings more than once. They’ll be back in the thick of things next year, but they’re not crowned anything just yet.

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