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The Week In Sports: MLB Playoffs, Team USA Could Win A Spot In Women's World Cup


A Milwaukee relief pitcher takes a baseball bat to the Dodgers. And tonight, can the Bosox topple last year's champions? NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: My pleasure, Scott.

SIMON: I believe the last time the Milwaukee Brewers lost, wasn't Calvin Coolidge president?

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) You're close. It was actually the Warren G. Harding years.

SIMON: All right. Sorry.

GOLDMAN: No. OK. Sorry.

SIMON: What - 13 in a row they've won now? What is it?

GOLDMAN: Well, no. Actually, with September 22, they have won 12 in a row.

SIMON: Yeah.

GOLDMAN: And I'm going to tell you what - no one is happier than Wisconsin's meat eaters, Scott.

SIMON: Yeah.

GOLDMAN: George Webb restaurants in Wisconsin have had this promotion for years that if the Brewers win 12 in a row, the restaurant gives away free burgers. Last time this...


GOLDMAN: ...Happened was in 1987. So this coming week, it will be burger mania. You would think in 2018 there would be something for healthier eaters. But I haven't heard anything about any vegan promotion.

SIMON: Oh. And also, I mean, I know Wisconsin being from, what they call, the flatlands of Illinois. And I mean, you know, certainly bratwurst would be what I would think they'd give away. But, you know...

GOLDMAN: (Laughter).

SIMON: What do I know?

GOLDMAN: That's if the Cubs win 12 in a row. We'll stick with the Brewers.

SIMON: And the Brew Crew is really good, aren't they?

GOLDMAN: Yeah. You know, last night, on a night when their biggest star, outfielder Christian Yelich, was hitless, and he struck out three times, the other Brewers did their jobs. And in the case of relief pitcher Brandon Woodruff...

SIMON: Amazing.

GOLDMAN: ...Who you alluded to, he did even more. He pitched a great couple of early innings. And he hit this towering home run off LA starter Clayton Kershaw - the great Clayton Kershaw, who, Scott, does seem to become the troubled Clayton Kershaw in the postseason. Woodruff's home run - and, you know, pitchers aren't supposed to hit home runs, certainly in the postseason - it energized the Brewers. They took a 6-1 lead into the eighth inning. The Dodgers did make it close and actually had a chance to win at the very end. But Milwaukee held on, won 6-5 - should be more thrills today in game two.

SIMON: The 'stros and the BoSox - Boston has the most wins of any team this season and made quick work of the Yanks. But the Astros could be even stronger than they were last year, couldn't they?

GOLDMAN: You know, but by virtue of how they are playing right now, I like the defending champion Astros, Scott. They pounded Cleveland in the American League Division Series three games to none, by a combined score of 21-6. And the Red Sox beat the Yankees, as you mentioned. But two of the wins were kind of nervous one-run wins. So I'm liking Houston in this series.

SIMON: American women soccer team plays Trinidad and Tobago this week in the qualifying tournament for the World Cup. Trinidad...


SIMON: ...And Tobago were the ones responsible for knocking the U.S. men out last year, right?

GOLDMAN: Yes, that's right - the bums (ph).

SIMON: (Laughter) The bums.

GOLDMAN: You had to bring that up. It was a sad moment for the U.S. men, but we're talking about the U.S. women - nearly always a happy story. The game against Trinidad and Tobago already happened. It was a 7-0 win for the Americans. They dominated the round-robin portion of the CONCACAF tournament. That's this qualifying tournament for the World Cup. The U.S. had three straight victories by a combined score of 18 to nil. But the U.S. is ranked No. 1 in the world, Scott. And most of the CONCACAF competition, not as keen as it will be in the World Cup next year in France. Tomorrow, the U.S. plays No. 64 ranked Jamaica in the semifinals of the CONCACAF tournament. And a win will guarantee a World Cup spot. Even with a stunning loss, there would be other avenues to get to the World Cup. So it's looking good for the U.S., which is the defending World Cup champion from 2015.

SIMON: Yeah and something that every American should be proud of them. They're doing a great job. NPR's Tom Goldman - so do you, by the way - thanks so much. Good to be with you.

GOLDMAN: Good to be with you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.