On Wednesday night, former Bruin Baseball Star and current San Francisco Giant Brandon Crawford became the first Shortstop in Major League History to hit a Grand Slam in the Postseason, as he led the Giants to victory in the NL Wild Card Game — And just for good measure, he went 3-for-4 last night in SF’s Game 1 win over Washington in the NLDS
We’re in the middle of Football Season now, with UCLA being undefeated heading into a tough potential trap game versus Utah. But let’s pause a minute and give a Bruin Baseballer his due. Brandon Crawford, who was a Bruin Baseball MVP not that long ago, just etched his name into Major League Baseball lore, by becoming the first Shortstop to ever hit a bases-loaded home run in the Playoffs. On Wednesday night, the San Francisco Giants were locked in a scoreless tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card showdown, when Crawford — who also happens to be married to a former UCLA Gymnast — stepped up to the plate with the bases jammed, and nailed a “Perfect 10” — he went yard, making the score 4-0 and propelling the Giants to an 8-0 triumph, and into the National League Divisional Series against the Washington Nationals.
Then in Game 1 of that NLDS, Crawford continued his October hot streak, going 3-for-4 with a Double in the Giants’ huge 3-2 victory over the Nats’ Ace, IN the Nats’ home park. Now the Giants have home field advantage in the best-of-5 series, hoping to advance to the NLCS against the rival Dodgers or Cardinals. With Clayton Kershaw starting Game 1 of the LA-StL series, and with the Dodgers staking him to a 6-1 lead, you would think L.A. would be leading that series. But St. Louis pulled off a shocking comeback, scoring 8 earned runs against the Cy Young winner, going on to pull off the stunner 10-9, with Yasiel Puig striking out to end the game with the tying run on 3rd. St. Louis, like San Francisco, has now stolen home field advantage in the best-of-5 series.
The Dodgers are not in good shape, losing the Kershaw home game, but they are still in better shape than the Angels are. The Angels lost both Game 1 and Game 2, both at home, both in extra innings, so now they have to win 3 straight to stave off elimination, with the next two games in Kansas City, where the fans will be rabid, enjoying their first Playoff Baseball in 29 years, all with Angel MVP Mike Trout mired in a horrid slump. Let’s just say it’s not looking good for a Freeway Series.
Brandon Crawford is not the only Bruin who deserves some props this week — Getting back to Football, THREE current Bruin Footballers received honors this week after UCLA’s big victory over Arizona State. Brett Hundley was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, Ishmael Adams won the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week, and Linebacker Eric Kendricks — despite NOT winning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week (because they don’t want to give all 3 awards to players from the same team), was named National Defensive Player of the Week, by the organization that gives out that award named after a player from the Clown College across town.
Congratulations to all three of those Bruins for their stellar efforts in Tempe, but all is not well in Bruin Football World. In order to get into the first-ever College Football Playoffs, the Bruins may need a splashy, signature win over a highly-ranked team. That win was GONNA be on October 11th when #2 Oregon comes to town. Unfortunately, the Bruins won’t get that opportunity to grab all the headlines, because Oregon got beaten AT HOME by Arizona on Thursday night. Sure, the Bruins will still make it if they run the table, and, they do get to play Arizona as well as Oregon later this season. However, if the Bruins lose one game this year, they still would have had a chance to make the Playoffs, by coming back to win the Pac-12 Title. But the Playoff Selection Committee would have been much more favorable to UCLA if they had a victory over the #2 team in the Country under their belt… especially with trojan Pat Haden on the committee, badmouthing the Bruins until he is blue in the face.
The only positive of Oregon losing is that now maybe, just maybe, the Bruins won’t be caught looking ahead to the Ducks this Saturday night, when the Utes will be in the Rose Bowl, getting physical with the Bruins and giving them all they can handle, if the last two years are any indication. The last two UCLA-Utah games have gone down to the wire, so the Bruins — who will probably be missing two Starting Offensive Linemen just like Oregon was — will have to be focused in order to prevail.