Oct 20

NLCS Game Five, 2016

Cubs at Dodgers, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

On paper the pitching matchup looks to favor the Cubs; LHP Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) faces RHP Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA). Lester has pitched 14 innings in the playoffs and given up just one run; Maeda hasn’t made it into the fifth inning in either playoff start and has a 9.00 ERA over the seven cumulative innings he’s pitched.

Said in Chris Berman’s affected voice: “That’s why they play the games.”


Oct 19

NLCS Game Four, 2016

Cubs at Dodgers, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Cubs send wily veteran RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) out to face the Dodgers’ rookie LHP Julio Urias (5-2, 3.35 ERA) in hope of tying the series up. Lackey has made 11 career starts in 12 appearances against the Dodgers and has a career 1.75 ERA against them. Urias started twice against the Cubs during the regular season, working six innings to beat them on Aug. 27 at Dodger Stadium after getting beaten up at Wrigley Field in his second Major League start.


Oct 18

NLCS Game Three, 2016

Cubs at Dodgers, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Cubs send RHP Jake Arrieta (18-8, 310 ERA) to the mound to face LHP Rich Hill (12-5, 2.12 ERA) of the Dodgers. The last time Arrieta faced the Dodgers at this start time was last August; all he did was throw a no-hitter at them. Since then he’s faced them once in May of this season and shut them out for seven innings. He’s not been quite that good in the second half of this season and he hasn’t gotten much help: The Cubs lost all five of his starts in July and four of his last six entering the NLCS start. His ERA is 4.44 in his last 16 starts. Hill, a mid-season acquisition by the Dodgers, hasn’t been able to produce as much as they hoped due to blister issues and an inability to go deep in games. He pitched into the fifth inning in a 5-2 loss at Washington in Game 2 of the NLDS and came out in the third inning of Game 5 when he was working on three days’ rest.
Someone post the lineup when it’s out, please. I’ll be in the air to Honolulu and won’t arrive until about the sixth inning.

Oct 16

NLCS Game Two, 2016

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Dodgers once again ask LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) to pull their bacon out of the fire or stop the bleeding or pick your cliché. He’s pitching on regular rest from his last start, as long as you don’t count his bullpen heroics in Game Five of the NLDS against him. He’ll face RHP Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA). Hendricks finished up strongly, going 7-1 with a 1.72 ERA in his last 11 starts. Like Lester, he’s been his best at Wrigley Field (9-2, 1.32). We know what Kershaw’s done, although his strikeout to walk ratio is still startling: he struck out 172 hitters while walking only 11 (one intentionally). That is a 15.6-1 ratio.

The visitors always want to steal a game in the other team’s home park. The Dodgers had a shot at it last night but failed. They’re hoping they can do it tonight.

Interesting note: the Cubs didn’t face any of the Dodgers’ three most likely starting pitchers in this series during the regular season. Kershaw faced them twice in 2015, beating him at Wrigley and losing at Dodger Stadium.


Oct 15

NLCS Game One, 2016

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

I’m pretty sure when RHP Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA) signed with the Dodgers last off-season he didn’t expect to be starting Game One of the NLCS. Nonetheless, that’s what he’s doing. He’ll face LHP Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) of the Cubs. Yes, another lefty. Maeda started Game Three against the Nats in the NLDS and gave up four runs on five hits in three innings. Lester started Game One of the other NLDS against the Giants and threw eight shutout innings to pick up the win.

We all know the history here: the Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since 1988, but that pales in comparison to the Cubs, who haven’t made it to a Series since 1945 and haven’t won one since 1908. What more needs to be said?

In case you missed it, yesterday Orel Hershiser posted this:

I don’t know why Twitter isn’t posting those in normal format. Click the Pic link to see the Dodgers’ roster for the NLCS.

Someone post the lineup when it’s up; I’ll be dining out at game time (what was the committee thinking)?

Oct 11

NLDS Elimination Game(s), 2016

Nationals at Dodgers, 2:00PM PT, TV: FS1

To extend their season the Dodgers have decided to go with Clayton Kershaw on short rest. He’s done this three other times in the postseason and put up a 1.89 ERA. However, those other times he hadn’t spent two months of the season on the DL with a bad back. We shall see. His opponent will be RHP Joe Ross (7-5, 3.43 ERA). More preview here from ESPN.


Cubs at Giants, 5:30PM PT, TV: FS1

The Cubs go with RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) against the Giants’ LHP Matt Moore (13-12, 4.08 ERA). Lackey is a postseason veteran who’s got an 8-5 record with a 3.11 ERA over 127 1/3 postseason innings. This will mark the 16th playoff series for him. Moore has given up two runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts, so he’s on his game.

Oct 10

NLDS & ALDS Games Three, 2016

Nationals at Dodgers, 1:00PM PT, TV: MLBN

The Dodgers hand the ball to “rookie” RHP Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA) and ask him to hold the Nats at bay while they solve the lefthanded servings of Gio Gonzalez (11-11, 4.57 ERA). Maeda has never pitched in the postseason; he pitched for the Hiroshima Carp in the Japanese league, and it hasn’t made it above third place since 2000. He was the only Dodger starter who never missed a start the entire season, and the Dodgers were 19-13 when he took the mound. Gonzalez had a horrible year for him: he’d never had an ERA above 3.79 in his previous four years with the Nationals. The team went 14-18 in games he started.

Lineup when available.

ALDS Game Three between the Indians and Red Sox starts at 3:00PM PT and can be seen on TBS. It features RHP Josh Tomlin for the Indians and RHP Clay Buchholz for the Sox. See the previous post for further details about the pitchers.

NLDS Game Three between the Cubs and Giants starts at 6:30PM PT and can be seen on FS1. It features the reigning Cy Young winner RHP Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA) against LHP Madison Bumgarner (15-9, 2.74 ERA). Bumgarner is 5-1 with a 0.79 ERA in 68 2/3 innings over his last nine postseason appearances dating back to 2012. Arrieta’s gone 7-6 with a 4.44 ERA in his last 16 starts, and his last time out he allowed seven runs on 10 hits at Pittsburgh.

Oct 09

NLDS Game Two, ALDS Games Three, 2016

Dodgers at Nationals, 10:00AM PT, TV: FS1

After a rainout the NLDS series between the Dodgers and Nationals resumes with the Dodgers up one game to none. The starters will be the same as were scheduled for Saturday’s game before the rains came: LHP Rich Hill for the Dodgers and RHP Tanner Roark for the Nats. See the previous post for further details about their respective seasons.

ALDS Game Three, Indians at Red Sox, 1:00PM PT, TV: TBS

The Series moves to Fenway Park in Boston for Game Three with the Red Sox down two games to none. The Indians start RHP Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA), who had a horrid August (11.48 ERA) and then filled in admirably as two starters went down with injuries in September, posting a 1.40 ERA in the last month of the season. He’ll face RHP Clay Bucholz, who had a weird year himself. In his first 18 appearances he put up a 5.91 ERA and was temporarily moved to the bullpen. He came back strong in his last six starts, going at least six innings and giving up two runs or fewer in five of them.

ALDS Game Three, Rangers at Blue Jays, 4:30PM PT, TV: TBS

This Series moves to Rogers Center (formerly Skydome) in Toronto with the home team up two games to none. The Rangers send RHP Colby Lewis (6-5, 3.71 ERA) to the hill to face the Jays’ RHP Aaron Sanchez (15-2, 3.00 ERA). Lewis has made nine postseason appearances, eight of them starts, and put up a 2.38 ERA in those games while going 4-1. He didn’t do well in the last half of the season, though: he lost three months with a strained right lat muscle and went 0-4 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts after rejoining the rotation on Sept. 11. This was Sanchez’s first year as a starter and it was spectacular. He finished strongly, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his last three outings. He made nine relief appearances in last year’s playoffs and didn’t allow an earned run in 7 1/3 innings.

Oct 08

NLDS Games Two, 2016


Dodgers at Nationals, 1:00PM PT, TV: FS1; Radio: ESPN

The Dodgers ask mid-season acquisition LHP Rich Hill (12-5, 2.12 ERA) to win Game Two. He’ll face RHP Tanner Roark (16-10, 2.83 ERA). Hill made six starts for the Dodgers and had a 1.83 ERA to show for them, even with his finger blisters. Roark was a good starter for the Nats in 2014, his first season in the big leagues, finishing 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA. In 2015 he was forced into the long man/spot starter role when the Nationals acquired starter Matt Scherzer from the Tigers. This season Jordan Zimmerman was gone from the rotation due to free agency, so Roark reclaimed his role as a full-time starter.

Lineup when available.

Giants at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1; Radio: ESPN

The Giants ask RHP Jeff Samardzija (12-11, 3.81 ERA) to stop the Cubs from taking a 2-0 lead in the NLDS. The Cubs will counter with Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA). Samardzija spent the first nine years of his MLB life in the Cubs’ organization until he was traded to the As in 2014. Oddly, Hendricks essentially replaced Samardzija in the Cubs rotation that season, as he made his first start for them five days after Samardzija was traded away.