Baseball Playoffs Head into the Weekend

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Baseball's playoffs are in full swing, with the Oakland Athletics up 2-0 over the Minnesota Twins. The New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers are tied 1-1 as their series moves to Detroit. National League series resume Saturday.


Well, here's what we expect today in the baseball playoffs. The Oakland Athletics, up two games to none, are hosting the Minnesota Twins. The New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers, tied at one game a piece, move their series to Detroit.

The National League series resumes tomorrow with the New York Mets traveling to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers. The St. Louis Cardinals host the San Diego Padres.

Commentator John Feinstein has been following all this from what may be the best place to watch baseball, at least this week, New York. John, good morning.

Mr. JOHN FEINSTEIN (Author, Vanishing Act: Mystery at the U.S. Open): Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: What's the atmosphere like there?

Mr. FEINSTEIN: Pretty wild, especially yesterday with the Yankees playing in the afternoon and then the Mets playing in the evening. In New York - in Manhattan yesterday afternoon it was almost like the old days when the World Series was played in the afternoon. And people would stop on the street to check scores, people standing around in restaurants and lobbies of hotels, watching TVs and watching the Yankees go down.

And then of course last night the scene at Shea Stadium with the Mets going up two-nothing on the Dodgers was wild, as you might expect.

INSKEEP: So you got to watch the Yankees game, or witness the Yankees game, as it seemed from the streets of New York, and then you actually went to the Mets game. And I gather there was a bizarre play as part of it.

Mr. FEINSTEIN: Well, the bizarre play came in the first game of the Mets and Dodgers in the second inning, when two Dodgers were tagged out at home plate on the same play…


Mr. FEINSTEIN: …bringing back memories of the Brooklyn Daffy Dodgers, and of the 1920s when they actually had a guy double into a double play, which is what happened on this play. One runner was going too slowly, Jeff Kent, and he was tagged out. And JD Drew, the second runner, didn't realize how slowly Jeff Kent was doing and he came right behind Kent and got tagged out by Paul Lo Duca on the same play.

You wait another 80 years, you might see that play again.

(Soundbite of laughter)

INSKEEP: And then how'd it go last night?

Mr. FEINSTEIN: Well, last night it was just Tom Glavine, the great future Hall of Famer dominating of the Mets and pitching six shut-out innings. And a marginal player named Endy Chavez, who they picked up during the off season, one of those little deals people don't notice because it doesn't involve millions of dollars, drove in two runs. And now the Mets go to Los Angeles with a two-nothing lead even though their key starting pitcher, Pedro Martinez, is out for the playoffs. And the guy who was supposed to start game one in his place, Orlando Hernandez, is also out.

INSKEEP: Do those injuries diminish the Mets' chances of winning the National League?

Mr. FEINSTEIN: I'm not so sure about the National League, because even though the Cardinals have looked good in taking a two-nothing lead over the Padres, they really stumbled coming down the stretch. I think the Mets have enough to win the National League pennant.

Whether they can win the World Series against the American League winner - and the A's certainly look good to get to the league championship series. The Yankees on the other hand are now struggling at one-one with the Tigers, and Alex Rodriguez is again getting booed because he can't get a clutch hit in New York. Whether the Mets would have enough pitching to get by the American League team in the World Series, I'm not so sure.

INSKEEP: Well, let's talk about the Oakland Athletics. They're really the surprise so far.

Mr. FEINSTEIN: They are, because the Minnesota Twins were the hot team coming into the playoffs. And the A's are known for putting together teams, you know, through signings and guys out of college and low-level players. But the key move might have been signing Frank Thomas during the off-season, who may again be a Hall of Famer someday, from the Chicago White Sox. He hit two runs in the first game, and then their pitching has just been terrific. And now they get to go home with a two-nothing lead, and nobody expected that.

INSKEEP: So you're not looking for that New York subway series just yet.

Mr. FEINSTEIN: Not just yet, but it's certainly a possibility. I mean the key for the Yankees tonight is Randy Johnson, who they're paying $16 million, bombed in game three last year against the Angels and they ended up losing that series. Tonight, Randy Johnson, game three on the road, series tied. He needs to earn his money for the Yankees tonight.

INSKEEP: John, thanks very much.

Mr. FEINSTEIN: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: The comments of John Feinstein, watching baseball in New York. A regular commentator here on MORNING EDITION. His latest book is Vanishing Act: Mystery at the U.S. Open.

And you're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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