Dan's Dugout: Don't Place Bets on Unpredictable Playoffs • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Don’t Place Bets on Unpredictable Playoffs

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Bobby Cox always insisted the Division Series was a crapshoot.

Anything can happen in a best-of-five series and usually does.

The scoreboard tells the story of the Yankees' win Credit: Bill Menzel

The scoreboard tells the story of the Yankees’ win
Credit: Bill Menzel

How else would you explain that months after winning 22 straight games to set an American League record, the Cleveland Indians lost an ALDS to a wild-card team composed primarily of young, untested players?

Or that the seasoned Indians, who won 33 of 37 games since August 23, are now 4-18 in their last 22 elimination games?

Or that Aaron Judge would follow his Rookie of the Year performance with a record number of strikeouts in the playoffs?

Or that Judge would turn the tide of the Yankees-Indians series with the defensive play of the postseason

The turning point of ALDS Game 3 was this full-court stretch by 6'7" Aaron Judge

The turning point of ALDS Game 3 was this full-court stretch by 6’7″ Aaron Judge

– stretching well above his 6’7″ frame to snare a would-be Cleveland homer with two men on base?

And how about Didi Gregorius filling the power vacuum with a pair of home runs in the 5-2 win that pushed the wild-card Yankees into the playoff for the American League pennant?

How else would you explain Cy Young contender Corey Kluber proving to be a mere mortal in the ALDS?

Or that super-reliever Andrew Miller, a postseason hero last year, would become a postseason goat by throwing a gopherball that Greg Bird turned into a 1-0 Yankees victory?

And what about Washington’s on-again, off-again romance with Stephen Strasburg, who begged off from a Game 4 starting assignment one day but reclaimed it the next?

And how about Strasburg throwing seven scoreless innings at Wrigley Field in a 5-0 victory that forced a decisive fifth game in the National League Division Series?

Max Scherzer followed his hitless start with a sloppy relief effort

Max Scherzer followed his hitless start with a sloppy relief effort

Max Scherzer, the only Washington pitcher better than Strasburg, flopped in an unfamiliar relief role in that game – prolonging the Nationals streak of never winning a postseason series. Las Vegas bookmakers couldn’t have predicted either of those events correctly.

Even before the Championship Series opened, the list of surprises was almost endless.

How about Michael Taylor picking up seven RBI for Washington over two nights with a pair of homers while the rest of the immediate world was wondering what became of Bryce Harper?

Thus far, the playoffs have saved Joe Girardi’s job, cost John Farrell his, and proved once again that Bob Costas is the best baseball broadcaster in captivity.

We’ll learn much more in the common weeks but it would be wise not to bet on the outcome.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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