Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Ex Marks The Spot: Former Yanks, Mets Star On Opening Day Of MLB Postseason

Zack Wheeler got the start for the Phillies on Tuesday night. @Phillies.


The Major League Baseball Postseason commenced on Tuesday afternoon, and all throughout four games of the day, many recent members of the Yankees and Mets shined.

The Texas Rangers won the first game of their American League Wild Card series in Tampa Bay, as they shutout the Rays, 4-0.

Jordan Montgomery threw seven shutout innings, in which he scattered six hits and no walks, with five strikeouts, to earn the win for Texas, in just his second career postseason start (his first was also against Tampa Bay in the 2020 ALDS.

The left-hander, whom the Yankees traded to the St. Louis Cardinals at last year's trade deadline and they sent him to Texas at this season's, provided the play of this game, if not the day.

In the second inning, with Texas up 1-0, Tampa Bay had runners at first and third base when Jose Siri attempted a bunt. It turned into a pop-up down the first base line, which Montgomery leaped for and grabbed, landing along the basepath in front of Siri to secure the massive out. Monty then struck out Rene Pinto to end the frame.

Jordan Montgomery leaps for the Jose Siri bunt pop-up. @Rangers.

Jose Siri looks back as Montgomery completes the remarkable catch. @Rangers.

Later on, with Texas up 4-0, the Rangers turned to Aroldis Chapman, the former Yankees closer who began the year in Kansas City and struggled with Texas down the stretch. 

Chapman, who has a 2.40 postseason ERA, rose to the occasion, as he retired Tampa Bay in order in the eighth, with one strikeout.

In the next game of the day, the Minnesota Twins' 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, another familiar face from the Yankees' bullpen appeared.

Chad Green, who joined Toronto this year after seven years in The Bronx, came on in the sixth with the Jays down 3-0 and he pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings. 

It was Minnesota's first postseason win since they took Game 1 of the 2004 American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium, and then lost a record 18 straight in October.

The nighttime action began with the Milwaukee Brewers hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series.

Milwaukee had two ex-New York players in their starting lineup, ex-Yankee Josh Donaldson, who they signed in September after he was released, and Mark Canha, who was brought in from the Mets at the trade deadline.

Donaldson started at third base, and he singled to lead off the second inning and scored on Tyrone Taylor's two-run homer that made it 3-0 Milwaukee at the time.

Arizona then scored six unanswered runs to come away with the 6-3 win.

Donaldson would add another single in the fifth, and he went 2-4 with a run scored, and notably, no strikeouts. Canha went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

In the last game of the day, the Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Miami Marlins.

Where the other performances by the ex-New York baseball stars was a surprise, Zack Wheeler did what was expected of him.

The ex-Met, who joined the Phillies in 2020, went 6 2/3 innings, and allowed one run (earned) on five hits and no walks, with eight strikeouts.

Philadelphia, the defending National League champions, won the opening game, 4-1.

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