After a stunning performance in the Red Sox’ division series against the Tampa Bay Rays that left him with a .500 2013 post-season batting average, Jacoby Ellsbury, along with his team mates, have been stopped cold by the Detroit Tigers’ pitching. After a 9 for 18 performance in 4 games against the Rays, Ellsbury is 0 for 6 in two games against the Tigers.
The division series’ have finished, and the number of Mormons in the playoffs is down to two. Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox and Doug Fister of the Detroit Tigers will both play in the American League Championship series, which begins on Saturday, and one of the two players will go on to face the National League champion in the World Series.
With the loss of the Pittsburgh Pirates to the St. Louis Cardinals last night, both Kyle Farnsworth and John Buck are out of post-season play. Not that their play has made much of a difference. The Pirates haven’t used Farnsworth at all, and had Buck substitute for catcher Russell Martin once — but Buck never got to the plate.
Just one game is left in the various division series, played tonight between the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers, who are tied 2-2 in their series. Both teams have Mormon players, although the Tigers’ starting pitcher Doug Fister is unlikely to make an appearance tonight.
Tiger’s starting pitcher Doug Fister struggled a little in the first two innings last night, giving up three hits and a run on a Jed Lowrie single. While Fister then settled down, he later gave up a 2-run home run to Lowrie in the 5th and was pulled after a scoreless 6th with the game tied. The Tigers later won the game 8-6.
No one is surprised, I suppose, that the Mormon athlete who performed best during the year is also best in the post season so far. Jacoby Ellsbury is nothing less than hot; hitting .571, scoring 6 runs and 2 rbis and swiping 3 bases in 3 games. The only question seems to be: can he keep it up?
Meanwhile, perhaps the most unlikely of the Mormons to start every game of the post-season, Elliot Johnson, will play no more, as the Atlanta Braves were eliminated last night by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Johnson’s performance wasn’t much help, he hit just .071 with 1 walk and 4 strike outs in four games and 14 at bats–worse than his regular season record by far.
Only one of three Mormon players on playoff teams in action last night stepped on the field, but neither of the two teams with Mormon players won, as the Los Angeles Dogers beat the Atlanta Braves 6-1 and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1.
Elliot Johnson was the first Mormon player to take the field in this year’s playoffs, starting the game at second base for the Braves. But the speedy Johnson was 0-4 at the plate, including 3 strike outs, and never really got a chance to steal a base. Johnson will likely see much of the playing time in the NLDS, because the Braves have left Dan Uggla off the roster, probably because his performance at the plate this year has been poor.
The only playoff team with two Mormon players, the Pittsburgh Pirates, beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 last night to advance to a five-game series against the League-leading St. Louis Cardinals starting Thursday. However, neither of the two Mormon players, backup catcher John Buck and reliever Kyle Farnsworth, appeared in the game. As backup players they may appear late in any of the Pirates’ future playoff games. And the heroic’s of the Pirate’s starting catcher, Russell Martin, in last night’s game may make Buck’s appearance in the playoffs less likely.
Adam Rosales chance to appear in a post-season game this year ended last night as his team, the Texas Rangers, lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in their playoff game to see which team would earn the second AL wild card spot. Rosales did not appear in the game.
Meanwhile, tonight two Mormon players could appear in the first NL wild card game as the Pittsburgh Pirates face the Cincinnati Reds. Both Buck and Farnsworth would only appear late in the game, and Farnsworth is the more likely to make an appearance.
With the end of the regular major league season yesterday, the post-season lineup has become clear, leaving 7 of the 14 Mormon players we follow on teams that have made the post-season in some form. The 7 players are:
- John Buck (Pirates)
- Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox)
- Kyle Farnsworth (Pirates)
- Doug Fister (Tigers)
- Elliot Johnson (Braves)
- Adam Rosales (Rangers)
- Eric Sogard (A’s)
Of these, Rosales has perhaps the most tenuous position. He hasn’t seen much playing time as the Rangers have fought hard to make the post season, ending up with a tie for the second wild card spot in the American League. As a result the Rangers face a one-game playoff tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays to see who will get the wild card spot. If they win, the Rangers will then face another one-game playoff on Wednesday against the other wild card team, the Cleveland Indians, to see who will face the Red Sox in a 5-game series starting Friday.
Four Mormon players are on teams that have clinched a berth in this year’s playoffs, and another 5 could still make it — and two almost certainly will. Jacoby Ellsbury (Boston Red Sox), Doug Fister (Detroit Tigers), Elliot Johnson (Atlanta Braves) and Eric Sogard (Oakland Athletics) will all experience the post-season. In addition, John Buck and Kyle Farnsworth (both with the Pittsburg Pirates) are very likely to also make the post season. And Jeremy Guthrie (Kansas City Royals), Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals) and Adam Rosales (Texas Rangers), all still have a chance of seeing the post season, if their teams win and others lose.