MLB Playoffs: Yordan Alvarez’s walk-off homer gives Astros a comeback win over Mariners

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Alvarez and Houston completed a big comeback after having trailed Seattle since the first inning.

The Mariners advanced past the Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card Series after an incredible comeback win in Game 2. That saw them advance to the ALDS against the Astros where they were on the other end of one.

Seattle led from the first inning, putting up six runs on Astros’ ace Justin Verlander, knocking him out after the fourth. However, Houston slowly began to chip away at their deficit and went into the bottom of the ninth trailing just 7-5.

For the ninth, Seattle brought in their closer, Paul Sewald, who got two outs either side of hitting pinch hitter David Hensley with a pitch. Sewald then got within one strike of closing out a victory, only for Houston shortstop Jeremy Peña to keep the game alive with a single.

At that point, Mariners manager Scott Servais went back to his bullpen and brought in Robbie Ray, who is normally a starter and struggled in the series against the Blue Jays. Ray was tasked with facing Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez, who has been one of the best hitters in baseball this season. The move to Ray is now likely destined to be one of the most questioned ones this October, as Alvarez crushed a pitch to give Houston a walk-off 8-7 win.

The Astros have been one of the most successful franchises in baseball in the past couple years, and it’s easy to see why after that homer. They were down a couple runs after their ace had put in probably his worst outing of 2022. That’s a hard thing to overcome in most games, but apparently not this one.

Meanwhile, it was a real gut punch for Seattle. It’s not everyday that you can put up six runs against and knock out Verlander, but they did it in fairly impressive style. Even though they did all that, they still ended up trailing 1-0 in the series.

MLB Playoffs: Justin Verlander rocked by Mariners early in ALDS

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Verlander’s first start of the playoffs ended up being his worst of 2022 so far.

Justin Verlander has had a very remarkable career, the legend of which has only been added to in 2022. Despite missing most of the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy Jogn surgery, Verlander returned to the Houston Astros’ rotation this year and looked like prime Verlander. His 1.75 ERA in in 175 innings has him in the running for a third career Cy Young Award.

Verlander has been so good that even though he missed some time late in the season, the Astros still made him their #1 starter in their American League Division Series against the Seattle Mariners. He even closed out his regular season with five no-hit innings against a Phillies’ team that made the playoffs. However, in his first playoff start since Game 6 of the 2019 World Series, he didn’t come close to matching his regular season success.

Seattle jumped on him for a run in the first thanks to a Cal Raleigh RBI single, and followed that up by dropping three in the second. The big blow for the Mariners came on a two-RBI double by Julio Rodríguez that made it 3-0.

Verlander eventually exited the game after the Mariners added two more runs in the fourth inning. In total, the Astros’ ace allowed six earned runs on 10 hits in just four innings. The runs and hits both match his high from the regular season, which also came against the Mariners back on May 27th. He only gave up more than three earned runs in a start on just two occasions in the regular season.

Meanwhile, the Mariners’ dream run in their first playoff appearance since 2001 continued as they got off to the perfect start against a normally dominant Verlander.

Davante Adams shoved a stadium worker after the Raiders Monday night collapse

Davante Adams should have picked a better target for his frustration with the Raiders’ latest loss.

The Las Vegas Raiders had the mighty Kansas City Chiefs on the ropes on Monday night to end Week 5. Superstar wide receiver Davante Adams was having his best game yet for the Raiders, scoring on a 58-yard touchdown in the first quarter and a 48-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Adams’ second TD put the Raiders within an extra point of tying the Chiefs.

Instead, Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels decided to go for two, and KC got the stop. The Chiefs won, 30-29, to move the Raiders to 1-4 on the season.

The Raiders had one last chance to drive into field goal range in the final seconds, but the officials overturned a reception by Adams that ultimately led to Vegas turning the ball over on downs to end the game. As Adams walked off the field with the loss, he stupidly took out on his frustration on an apparent camera guy (or sound guy?) near the tunnel.

You can’t do that, Davante Adams. Take your frustrations out on the coaching staff, or maybe even your teammates behind closed doors, but absolutely do not take them out on a normal guy just trying to do his job.

Adams apologized to the guy after the game:

Adams also tweeted out an apology after the game:

The Raiders remain a disaster. We’ll update this story if Adams faces any punishment for his shove.

We thought the dubious roughing the passer penalty on Tom Brady was the worst call of the week. We were wrong.

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The Chris Jones sack of Derek Carr takes the lead

As football fans, thought nothing could top the roughing the passer penalty called on Grady Jarrett during his fourth-quarter sack of Tom Brady during Sunday’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

We were wrong.

During Monday night’s game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs, defensive tackle Chris Jones accomplished something that in over three decades of watching football I did not think was possible.

Commit a roughing the passer penalty while holding the football:

Jones breaks around the edge and tracks Derek Carr down from behind, ripping the football out of his hands and crashing to the turf with the quarterback.

Instead of the Chiefs taking over possession, with a chance to cut into Las Vegas’ 17-7 lead, the Raiders’ drive continued. Las Vegas finished the drive with a field goal, extending their lead to 20-7.

As was the case with the Brady sack on Sunday, the reaction on social media was quick, and filled with shock.

As with the penalty called on Jarrett in his takedown of Brady, the officials likely looked at a portion of the roughing the passer rules when throwing the flag on this play. According to the rules, the following conduct is considered a penalty:

When tackling a passer who is in a defenseless posture (e.g., during or just after throwing a pass), a defensive player must not unnecessarily or violently throw him down or land on top of him with all or most of the defender’s weight. Instead, the defensive player must strive to wrap up the passer with the defensive player’s arms and not land on the passer with all or most of his body weight.

While Jones’ play here might technically qualify as a penalty, it is hard to believe that what he does here in the strip-sack of Carr is consistent with the spirit and purpose of the rules. He is making a football play, ripping the ball out of the quarterback’s hands, and then crashing to the turf in the process, along with Carr.

Asking a defender in Jones’ position to do something different seems like an impossible ask.

After the game on Sunday, Jerome Boger pointed to this portion of the rulebook as the reason for the flag on Jarrett:

We can only anticipate a similar statement following tonight’s game.

Buck Showalter called for a foreign substance inspection of Joe Musgrove, and only jokes were found

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Mets manager Buck Showalter called for an inspection, and hilarity ensued

With the New York Mets trailing the San Diego Padres 4-0 in the sixth inning of an elimination game, it was clear that the home team needed a spark. Manager Buck Showalter’s idea to provide that spark, however, touched off an internet frenzy.

Prior to the bottom of the inning, Showalter met with the umpires and requested that they inspect Padres starting pitcher Joe Musgrove for foreign substances. Through five innings, Musgrove had allowed just one hit, a single from Pete Alonso in the fourth inning. The umpires then inspected Musgrove at Showalter’s request, paying particular attention to his … ears?

The incident touched off a frenzy of jokes on social media.

While the request from Showalter might have been made to try and throw Musgrove off his game, it did not have the desired impact. The Padres starting pitcher enjoyed another 1-2-3 inning after the substance check, getting a groundout from Eduardo Escobar, a strikeout of Tomas Nido, and a flyout from Brandon Nimmo.

After the punchout of Nido, Musgrove seemed to share a reaction in the direction of Showalter and the Mets’ dugout:

While Musgrove passed the in-game inspection, that did not stop speculation on social media about him potentially using something to stay locked in. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Andrew McCutchen speculated that Musgrove might be using “red hot” to stay in the zone while on the mound:

That’s … certainly one way to stay focused.

Musgrove returned to the bump for the bottom of the seventh, and despite walking the leadoff hitter, Starling Marte, he managed to get through the inning unscathed. He got shortstop Francisco Lindor to ground out to first base, with Marte advancing to second, and then Alonso lined out to right field for the second out of the inning. Second baseman Jeff McNeil then grounded out to first to end the inning.

But not the jokes on social media.

The Cleveland Browns just can’t get out of their own way

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While other teams are finding ways to win football games, the Cleveland Browns are finding new ways to lose them.

The Cleveland Browns are a comedy of errors that have managed to find new ways to lose games that a professional football team should never lose under any circumstances.

The only thing that has prevented the Browns from starting the season 5-0 has been … well the Browns. They are currently 2-3 after losing to the Chargers 30-28 despite Brandon Staley trying his absolute best to give them the game in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Staley went for it on 4th and 2 from the Chargers 45 yard line with 1:14 left in the game.

It would be one thing if the Browns were bereft of talent and overmatched every Sunday, as Browns fans have seen plenty of times since the team came back in 1994, but what makes this particular Browns team special is how they consistently find ways to blow games they should win in spectacular fashion.

You would think after the Browns managed to blow a 13 point lead to the New York Jets with less than two minutes left in the game, that would be the lowest point of their NFL season. However, this is the Browns we’re talking about so of course it’s only the beginning of a season that will undoubtedly be filled with frustration and misery.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the real issue because there seem to be multiple things falling apart simultaneously that snowball into inexplicable and indefensible losses. Against the Jets it was miscommunications in the secondary, a missed extra point and not securing an onside kick that ultimately doomed them.

Against the Atlanta Falcons, the playcalling inside the red zone was simply too cute and it felt like Kevin Stefanski was overthinking everything. The Browns had the ball on the Falcons 1 yard line on 2nd and goal and decided to call a pass play that led to a holding penalty and them eventually settling for a field goal, instead of just giving the ball to Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt. Combine those missed scoring opportunities with a defense that couldn’t stop the run if their lives depended on it in the second half and that cost the Browns a very winnable football game.

That brings us to Sunday’s Week 5 loss against the Chargers. Kevin Stefanski’s decision to go for it on 4th and 1 within his own 34 yard line in the third quarter with the Chargers leading 24-21 was dangerous as it is, but not allowing Jacoby Brissett to sneak the ball when it’s virtually an automatic conversion was cringeworthy. The Browns defense giving up 238 rushing yards to a team that was statistically one of the worst rushing teams in the entire league coming into today was embarrassing.

Jacoby Brissett’s fourth quarter endzone interception, which was his third pick in the final two minutes of a game this season, completely ruined what would have been another very good performance from him this season. Despite all of this, the Browns had a chance to win the game if Cade York wouldn’t have missed the game winning field goal from 54 yards out, his second miss of the game.

The Browns three losses have been by a combined 6 points. There’s no one thing you can point to that needs to be corrected, because it’s something different every single week, but when an NFL team is consistently losing close games because of self inflicted errors it is just as much a reflection of the entire coaching staff as it is the players on the field.

There are twelve more games left to be played and the Browns are talented enough to turn their season around, but it’s difficult to believe this team can start beating teams like the Ravens, Bengals and Bills when they can’t even stop beating themselves.

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