An unorthodox smash hit in the Bronx

Even Frazier figured this one had no business traveling over the right field scoreboard . . .

Even Frazier figured this one had no business traveling over the right field scoreboard . . .

Of all the people watching when Todd Frazier connected off Astros starter Charlie Morton in the bottom of the second Monday night, there were two who were the most disbelieving: Frazier and Morton themselves.

Aaron Judge putting a dent in his postseason-long slump in the bottom of the fifth was believable enough to Yankee fans and too believable to the Astros. But Frazier looking like he was stumbling over a rolling oil drum as he swung with two out and two aboard wasn’t supposed to hang up a three-spot with that swing.

Turner’s Gibson act isn’t music to the Cubs’ eyes

Justin Turner channels his inner Kirk Gibson on better legs . . .

Justin Turner channels his inner Kirk Gibson on better legs . . .

With one swing in the bottom of the ninth Sunday night, Justin Turner gave the Dodgers and their fans something they haven’t had most of this postseason. Just when it looked like both League Championship Series were going to be the anti-division series that preceded them, along came a little old-fashioned off-the-charts heroism.

Sweep the Diamondbacks just to get to this LCS in the first place? Boooooooring. Get to a 2-0 National League Championship Series lead like methodical businessmen or like John McGraw’s ancient “scientific” baseball men? Pfft. Too easy.

Verlander uses a new mind to pitch old school

Justin Verlander, a pitcher who thirsts for new analysis to pitch like the old school.

Justin Verlander, a pitcher who thirsts for new analysis to pitch like the old school.

Justin Verlander’s career could end today, and Saturday’s the game they’ll remember him for for years to come. The no-hitters of the past? The dominance he once had in Detroit and re-claimed down the stretch for this year’s Astros? Sure, you’ll think of that. Hard not to.

But Game Two of this American League Championship Series is the one you’ll remember. When he went out like his vintage self and struck out a lucky (for him) thirteen Yankees and surrendered one measly fifth-inning run while pitching a five-hitter and giving the Astros bullpen the day off.

A Cub shows too much leg

Umpire Winters actually let Maddon make a little case before tossing him, despite the rule calling for automatic ejection for arguing replay/review call overturns, as Maddon did on the illegal Contreras block Saturday.

Umpire Winters actually let Maddon make a little case before tossing him, despite the rule calling for automatic ejection for arguing replay/review call overturns, as Maddon did on the illegal Contreras block Saturday.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon doesn’t like Chicago’s soda tax. It took a play at the plate in Game One of the National League Championship Series to learn that.

Because Dodger shortstop Charlie Culberson was thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the seventh—no, he wasn’t, after Cubs catcher Willson Contreras blocked the plate before he had left fielder Kyle Schwarber’s throw in his possession.

This time, it doesn’t look encouraging for the Cubs

Flying the W against this year's Dodgers won't be easy for a drained collection of Cubs . . .

Flying the W against this year’s Dodgers won’t be easy for a drained collection of Cubs . . .

Before Cub Country begins salivating over the prospects of the Cubs reaching the World Series for a second straight year—after all, they’re the only one between last year’s combatants to get as far as a League Championship Series this time—a sobering truth must be faced. They’re going into their tango with the Dodgers with one and a half arms tied behind their backs.

The ballad of John Farrell’s execution

John Farrell---executed.

John Farrell—executed.

You can’t fire a third of the team, so it’s believed, so the Red Sox did the next best thing the day after they were shoved to one side by the Astros in a division series. They fired the manager who finally lost his way and control of the Red Sox clubhouse. Even if a lot of it wasn’t his fault.

A lot.

John Farrell was just too convenient a whipping boy for Red Sox Nation. To the point where enough believe he’d have been executed after 2015 if not for his courageous battle against cancer.

The Comedy of Errors tonight . . . on Chiller Theatre

When the original Mets drafted Giants catcher Hobie Landrith to begin the expansion draft that created the team in the first place, manager Casey Stengel explained it by saying, “You have to have a catcher, or else you’ll have a lot of passed balls.”

Scherzer after the top of the fifth, probably wondering, "Was I really there when this happened to us?"

Scherzer after the top of the fifth, probably wondering, “Was I really there when this happened to us?”

I’d pay money to know what the Ol’ Perfesser was thinking while watching Game Five of the National League division series between the Nationals and the Cubs Thursday night, from wherever he was perched in the Elysian Fields of heaven. “Amazin’” might have been his most understated thought.

Sometimes, the best team runs empty at the worst time

New York YankeesAfter the Yankees beat the Dodgers in the 1953 World Series, Duke Snider swore to New York Herald-Tribune writer Roger Kahn, much later to write The Boys of Summer, ”I still say we’re the better team.” The ’53 Dodgers owned the National League but lost the Series to the Yankees in five.

“That’s the hell of it,” Kahn replied. “That’s the rottenest thing in this life, isn’t it? The best team doesn’t always get to win.”

Strasburg breaks the mold and saves the Nats

Strasburg made no one but the Cubs feel sick in Game Four of their NLDS Wednesday . . .

Strasburg made no one but the Cubs feel sick in Game Four of their NLDS Wednesday . . .

Stephen Strasburg long-tossed in the Wrigley Field outfield before Game Four Wednesday afternoon. A couple of wisenheimers in the Cub bullpen wore medical masks over their noses and mouths.

Unavailable Tuesday even before the weather-induced postponement because changing weather caused him to breathe in mold—and feel feverish enough to be pumped full of antibiotics and IV fluids—Strasburg got the last laugh.

And the Nationals may yet get the last laugh with the division series moving back to Washington for Game Five.

Sweeping the Snakes, the Dodgers get a Hall of Famer’s endorsement

The Dodgers sweep the Diamondbacks. Now they wait for their NLCS opponent . . .

The Dodgers sweep the Diamondbacks. Now they wait for their NLCS opponent . . .

Psychologically speaking, when you get Sandy Koufax’s endorsement for a trip to the World Series it’s gilt-edged insurance. Speaking in baseball, alas, the Dodgers’ more than impressive sweep of the Diamondbacks out of their National League division series was just step one.

The Dodgers await the net results of the Nationals-Cubs division series. Which of them proves the Dodgers’ League Championship Series opponent didn’t exactly seem to faze Koufax as he stood outside the Chase Field visitors’ clubhouse while the Dodgers partied heartily enough after Monday’s 3-1 win.