The first day of NLDS play is over. As you're no doubt aware, the Cardinals popped the Pirates by a score of 9-1, and the Dodgers bested the Braves by a tally of 6-1. And now it's report card time ...
|A||Yes, the entire team. The offense pounded out nine runs on 10 hits, including two doubles and a prodigious Carlos Beltran homer. Adam Wainwright was dominant, working seven strong innings and allowing only three hits and a run while striking out nine. The defense did its job as well, unlike the Cardinals' counterpart (we'll get to them). In all, it was a beatdown that was almost symbolic, like they were saying "welcome to October, kid."|
|B+||Let's go with the Dodger offense in particular. They roughed up Kris Medlen, who doesn't get roughed up often, and put six runs on the board, which is more than enough when Clayton Kershaw's on the mound.|
|B+||This space is reserved for Yasiel Puig. Puig went 2-for-4 on the night and also reached base via the HBP. As well, he set the tone early when he went first-to-third in the second inning on a single that would've left almost any other player on second base. Puig hustled home on a shallow sac fly one batter later. That's to say nothing of his turning a 9-3 double play in the second. Also, he played the entire game without getting an impromptu lecture from Brian McCann!|
|D-||We're talking the Atlanta lineup here. Sure, you're entitled to your struggles when Kershaw is on the mound (hence the promotion to a D-), but 15 Ks? No extra-base hits? 5-for-31 at the plate? 1-for-8 with RISP? The Braves had their chances, but they couldn't get to any of the three Dodger hurlers on the night.|
|F||Yes, the entire team. What a catastrophic introduction to the divisional round -- the Pirates first appearance in it in franchise history. The offense only managed four hits -- two by superstar Andrew McCutchen -- and never threatened to do much damage at all in any given inning. The only run came on a solo homer by Pedro Alvarez. Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett was pitiful, the bullpen needed to work six innings with Game 2 coming less than 24 hours away and the Pirates also committed three errors. Basically, they got schooled. They better recover quickly.|