Javier Baez hit a three-run homer and went 2-for-3, earning Box-Toppers Player of the Game as the Chicago Cubs won the National League Division Series in four games, eliminating the St. Louis Cardinals.
Also Tuesday, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw earned overall Player of the Day honors with his performance in the NL Division Game 4 win over the Mets, which forces a Game 5 in the series Thursday.
National League Division Series Game 4: Cubs 6, Cardinals 4
Baez had a Box-Toppers game score of +3.0, the highest of any Cubs player in the 6-4 win, as the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the best-of-five game series, 3-1.
The Cubs face the winner of the other NL Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, who are now tied at two games apiece in their best-of-five game series.
During the regular season, Baez had no Box-Toppers points—he had 2.5 points in 2014. Baez played in 28 regular season games in 2015.
Though the Cubs were the Wild Card team and had a lesser win-loss record than the NL Central champ Cardinals, they held an edge in Box-Toppers team rankings. The Cubs passed the Cardinals in the final 10 days of the season to rank third in Box-Toppers team points with 127.4. The Cardinals, with baseball’s best record, ranked fourth with 124.3. The Cubs surged at the end of the season, earning 11.0 Box-Toppers points in the final 10 days of the season. The Cardinals, by comparison, picked up only 3.5 points during that period.
The two teams were the highest ranked NL teams remaining in the playoffs after the Cubs knocked off the top-rated Pittsburgh Pirates (129.6) in the NL Wild Card playoff.
National League Division Series Game 4: Dodgers 3, Mets 1
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw struck out eight over seven innings, allowing one run and three hits, to even the series and force Game 5 Thursday in Los Angeles.
Kershaw had a Box-Toppers game score of +9.0, the highest of all Dodgers players, to win Player of the Day honors, beating Tuesday’s other Player of the Game, Javier Baez of the Cubs, who had a Box-Toppers game score of +3.0.
During the regular season, Kershaw had 25.7 Box-Toppers points, second among all players and second among NL pitchers, behind Jake Arrieta of the Cubs (29.1).
Notable—Through 18 postseason games, the team with a starting pitcher ranked higher in Box-Toppers player rankings has won 13 of those games and lost only five, which bodes well Wednesday for the Rangers and Royals (see below).
About Box-Toppers—Box-Toppers tracks who most helps their team win the most games. Using standard box score statistics, Box-Toppers uses a simple formula to determine a Player of the Game for each Major League Baseball game played. That player is the person who contributed most to his team’s win. In regular season games, players earn 1.0 Box-Toppers point for being named Player of the Game and can earn bonus points for being Player of the Day or top player or batter in their league for the day.
Top player from each game
Listed from highest to lowest Box-Toppers game score
|POG||9.0||Dodgers||Clayton Kershaw (W,1-1)||-||-||-||-||-||-||7.0||3||1||1||1||8|
|POG||3.0||Cubs||Javier Baez, SS||3||1||2||3||0||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
Coming Wednesday: AL Division Series playoff games conclude with two Game 5 matchups:
American League Division Series Game 5, Rangers at Blue Jays, series tied, 2-2
The pitching matchup Wednesday:
Rangers—Cole Hamels, 15.4 Box-Toppers points, 15th among all players, eighth among AL pitchers.
Blue Jays—Marcus Stroman, 2.7 Box-Toppers points, 368th among all players, 105th among AL pitchers. (Stroman was out recovering from injurymuch of 2015. In 2014, he had 13.7 Box-Toppers points, ranked 12th among AL pitchers.)
American League Division Series Game 5, Astros at Royals, series tied, 2-2
The pitching matchup Wednesday:
Astros—Collin McHugh, 9.7 Box-Toppers points, 49th among all players, 19th among AL pitchers.
Royals—Johnny Cueto, 12.8 Box-Toppers points, 25th among all players, 13th among AL pitchers.