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.

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.

The Indians go to the Series on Merritt

"I bet he's shaking in his boots," said Bautista of Merritt before Game Five. Bautista lost that bet . . .

“I’m sure he’s shaking in his boots,” said Bautista of Merritt before Game Five. Bautista and the Blue Jays lost that bet . . .

The Blue Jays picked the absolute wrong time to get shut out for the first time in postseason play. Ever. And thanks to a kid who’d only thrown eleven major league innings ever until Wednesday afternoon, aided and abetted by that skin-tight bullpen, the Indians are going to the World Series after hammering down the Jays, 3-0.

Now, it’s Miller time

With his Indians up two games to none, the ALCS is Miller time, thus far . . .

With his Indians up two games to none, the ALCS is Miller time, thus far . . .

If the Blue Jays have any prayer of coming back to win an American League Championship Series in which they opened two games in the hole, they have but one recourse. They’re going to have to arrange Andrew Miller’s kidnapping.

“[B]aseball is so rooted in traditions,” tweeted Dodger pitcher Brandon McCarthy, after the Indians beat the Jays a second straight time Saturday afternoon, “that hitters still take their bats to the plate against Andrew Miller even though they’re not needed.”

The Royals win the pennant on the run

In 1946 it was Enos Slaughter’s mad dash home in the eighth inning while Johnny Pesky held the ball. (Actually, he didn’t, but Pesky had no chance to throw home in time after taking a high throw in from center field.) ¬†And it meant a World Series triumph for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Almost seventy years later, it was Lorenzo Cain’s mad dash home while Jose Bautista threw to second. Also in the eighth inning. But it meant a trip to the World Series for the Kansas City Royals Friday night.

Lorenzo Cain, channeling his inner Enos Slaughter . . .

Lorenzo Cain, channeling his inner Enos Slaughter . . .

Edinson lights up for the Royals to open

Volquez after wringing his way out of the sixth inning on a night he owned the Blue Jays otherwise.You thought Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets bullpen knew how to handle the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League division series? You should have seen Edinson Volquez and the Kansas City Royals handling the Toronto Blue Jays in Game One of the American League Championship Series.

And if you thought often-enough criticised Mets manager Terry Collins figured out a few ways to work on the fly against a very deficient Don Mattingly, you had to watch often-enough criticised Royals manager Ned Yost defy a few expectations himself.

The crowned Royals ride the roach coach to the Series

Greg Holland, Salvador PerezJ.J. Hardy’s two-out, down-to-the-Orioles-last-strike hopper caught Mike Moustakas right where Moustakas wanted it on the third base line. Moustakas’s high throw across the infield caught first baseman Eric Hosmer right where he wanted it. OK, a little bit high, but nothing to it. We do this kinda stuff to ‘em all throughout the picture.

Just like the only two runs the Royals would need to put on the board all day long scored on a pair of grounders and a sacrifice. Big deal. We do this kinda stuff to ‘em all throughout the picture.

The Oriole elephant falls to the Royal mouse again

Cain channeled his inner 1969 Met in Game Two . . .

Cain channeled his inner 1969 Met in Game Two . . .

Have you noticed the same two things I’m noticing about the Kansas City Royals? Thing one: They seem to have positioned themselves as giant killers. (And who knows that they won’t get a chance to be Giant killers, too?) Thing two: Contrary to swelling popular opinion, they don’t always need extra innings to make a postseason statement.

It might have shocked enough people that they dispatched the Baltimore Orioles, 6-4, in Game Two of the American League Championship Series in nine regulation innings. It probably has shocked enough people that they’re halfway toward a second consecutive sweep of a regular season powerhouse.

The Yankees Lose a Game and a Captain

So much for the play he’s made a thousand times no muss, no fuss . . .

It’s the kind of play Derek Jeter has been making since he came into the Show in the first place. The kind of play he has made often enough that you would not be surprised to learn he could have been blind and still made it.

Nothing more dangerous than a middling little ground ball up the pipe in the top of the twelfth, courtesy of Jhonny Peralta, and nothing more strenous for the Yankee captain than ranging to his left, reaching for it, and, if he was going to tumble, as he must have known he would, shoveling the ball to second baseman Robinson Cano for a relay to first to get rid of Peralta.

Hold Those Tigers

Jim Leyland was emphatic enough. Seeing Justin Verlander on the mound again this postseason was going to be the best thing, he said, because it would come in the World Series. As for the rest of the American League Championship Series, Verlander wouldn’t even be a topic.

Not in the Detroit Tigers’ manager’s mind, anyway. And it proved a moot point after the game, gutsy, but gimpy Tigers took one of the worst elimination beatings in postseason history in Arlington Saturday night.