Oct 16

Player and Managerial moves, 2019

The Angels have hired Joe Maddon, late of the Cubs and Rays, to manage the team for the next three years. He spent 31 years in the Angels organization before leaving to manage in Tampa in 2006, so he’s familiar with the stadium, the owner, and the traffic patterns in Orange County.

Maddon, who was considered the favorite as soon as the Angels dismissed Brad Ausmus a day after the regular season, won the job over candidates Buck Showalter, John Farrell and Johnny Washington. The four candidates were all interviewed last week.

Oct 12

ALCS 2019

Game One: Yankees at Astros, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: Fox

Two righthanders go at one another: Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees and Zack Greinke for the Astros. Tanaka’s career postseason ERA is 1.54. Greinke has not been his usual dominant self in recent postseason appearances: he’s got a 9.49 ERA in his last three.

Game Two: Yankees at Astros, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

LHP James Paxton takes the hill for the Yankees. He’ll try to match innings with the Astros’ RHP Justin Verlander. Paxton faced the Houstonians twice during the year, giving up five runs in an April game but just one in a game in July. Verlander beat the Yankees twice in the 2017 playoffs, but of course that was a different Yankee team. He made two starts against them in 2019 for a total of 13 innings, giving up six runs and going 1-0.

Game Three: Astros at Yankees, 1:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Series is tied at one game apiece. The Astros give the ball to RHP Gerrit Cole, who’s been virtually untouchable in his first two postseason starts, giving up six hits and only one run in two wins against the Rays in the ALDS. The Yankees counter with RHP Luis Severino, who went four scoreless innings against the Twins in Game Three of the Yankees’ side of the ALDS. Four innings, oddly, is the average length of the seven postseason outings he’s made in his career, posting a 1-2 record with a 5.33 ERA.

Game Four has been postponed until Thursday at 8:08 p.m. ET due to inclement weather.

Game Four: Astros at Yankees, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Astros send RHP Zack Greinke to the mound in the Bronx to face the Yankees’ RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who, thanks to yesterday’s rainout, will be pitching on regular rest. He’s been spectacular in his postseason appearances: 1.32 ERA over 41 innings in seven starts. Despite a quality start in Game One, Greinke was the loser as Tanaka shut out the Astros over six innings and the bullpen did the rest.

Game Five: Astros at Yankees, 4:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

This is a rematch of Game Two with the Astros’s Verlander going against the Yankees’ Paxton. That game displayed a stark difference in the teams’ pitching philosophy: Verlander went 6 2/3 innings while Paxton came out after 2 1/3, not because he was injured or tipping pitches or getting shelled (one run on four hits), but because Yankees manager Aaron Boone trusts his bullpen more than he does most of his starters.

Game Six: Yankees at Astros, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

Both managers are calling this a bullpen game, so no “starters” have been named by either side. It’ll be a surprise!

Oct 11

NLCS 2019

Game One, Nationals at Cardinals, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: TBS

RHP Aníbal Sánchez goes for the Nats while RHP Miles Mikolas pitches for the Cards.

Game Two, Nationals at Cardinals, 1:08 PM PDT, TV: TBS

Two veteran righties take the mound in this game: the Nationals’ Max Scherzer and the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright. Scherzer went seven innings in Game Four of the NLDS, giving up just one run. Wainwright pitched Game Three of the other side of the NLDS, giving his team 7 2/3 innings of scoreless ball.

Game Three, Cardinals at Nationals, 4:38 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Cardinals ask their second-half ace RHP Jack Flaherty to stop the Nationals’ express. The Nats counter with RHP Stephen Strasburg. Flaherty threw six innings of one-run ball in the Cards’ Game Five blowout of the Braves. Strasburg gave up two early home runs to the Dodgers in the Nationals’ own Game Five, but gave them no more in six innings.

Game Four, Cardinals at Nationals, 5:05 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Nationals are on the verge of a sweep, leading the series 3-0. Tonight they’ll pitch LHP Patrick Corbin, who started one game in the NLDS and relieved in two others against the Dodgers. The Cardinals hand the fate of their season to RHP Dakota Hudson, who went 4 2/3 innings in Game Four of their series against the Braves, giving up four runs (only one earned).

Oct 09

NLDS Games Five, 2019

FYI, the 630 comments on the Dodgers’ Game Three post was the fourth-highest ever on this blog. The three higher all occurred during the 2017 World Series: Game Five — 1,022; Game Seven, — 691; and Game Three — 638.

On this date in baseball history Woodrow Wilson became the first President to attend a World Series game in 1915, rumors circulated about a fix of the 1919 World Series, Frank Robinson homered off Don Drysdale in the 1966 World Series to complete the sweep, 1-0, and Jeffrey Maier gave Derek Jeter and the Yankees a victory in Game One of the 1996 World Series.

The early game: Cardinals at Braves, 2:02 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Cards’ RHP Jack Flaherty faces the Braves’ RHP Mike Foltynewicz in a rematch of Game Two pitchers. The Braves got three runs off Flaherty and won 3-0 in that game behind Foltynewicz’s seven scoreless innings.

Cardinals lineup:

Braves lineup:

The late game: Nationals at Dodgers, 5:37 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Nats send RHP Stephen Strasburg to the mound to face the Dodgers’ RHP Walker Buehler. In Game Two Strasburg gave up one run in six innings while striking out ten. Buehler gave up one hit and no runs in six innings in Game One.

Nationals lineup:

Dodgers lineup:

Hmm. I guess the idea is to hold Freese in reserve for pinch-hitting duties. I can’t see any other reason to start Beaty there.

Oct 08

ALDS Game Four, 2019

The Yankees swept the Twins, so there’s only one undetermined outcome of an AL Division Series left: Astros at Rays, 4:07 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Astros send RHP Justin Verlander out on short rest (three days) to face the Rays’ Diego Castillo. The teams have vastly different expectations of their starters: the Astros hope for five or six innings if not more from their horse, while the Rays used Castillo as that new-fangled thing “the opener” half-a-dozen times in the second half and probably don’t expect more than two innings from him today. Since they’re down in the series 2-1, it’s an “all hands on deck” game for them, whereas the Astros are playing with house money.

Astros lineup:

Rays lineup:

Oct 07

NLDS Games Four, 2019

The early game is the Braves at Cardinals, 12:07 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Braves haven’t yet announced their starter, but an informed guess would be Dallas Keuchel or Julio Teheran. Whoever it is will face the Cardinals’ rookie RHP Dakota Hudson, whose 16 wins led all MLB rookies this year. He had a 2.75 ERA at home in Busch Stadium, too.

Braves lineup:

Cardinals lineup:

Dexter Fowler (S) CF
Kolten Wong (L) 2B
Paul Goldschmidt (R) 1B
Marcell Ozuna (R) LF
Yadier Molina (R) C
Matt Carpenter (L) 3B
Tommy Edman (S) RF
Paul DeJong (R) SS
Dakota Hudson (R) P

The late game is the Dodgers at Nationals, 3:40 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Dodgers start LHP Rich Hill, who may be pitching with a knee brace and is not expected to go more than three or four innings. He’ll face RHP Max Scherzer, last seen striking out the side in the eighth inning of Game Two of this series on Friday.

Who is hot and who is not?
Dodgers: Turner had a homer, double and single in Game 3 and has hit safely in 10 straight NLDS games, batting .390 (16-for-41) with two homers and 10 RBIs. Since 2015, he has hit safely in 19 of 20 NLDS games. David Freese is equally a postseason monster and on Sunday became only the fourth player in postseason history to come off the bench with a three-hit game.

Dodgers lineup:

Nationals lineup:

Oct 07

ALDS Games Three, 2019

Here’s the road map which lays out how that might happen.

On this day in baseball history Whitey Ford beats the Phillies to complete a World Series sweep, Gil Hodges finishes a World Series 0-21 at the plate, Curt Flood is traded from the Cardinals to the Phillies and refuses to report, and Benny Agbayani hits a 13th-inning HR to beat the Cubs in the longest NLDS game ever played — 5 hours and 22 minutes.

The early game is really early for me at 7:05 AM my time. It features the Astros at Rays, 10:05 AM PDT, TV: MLBN

The Astros have a 2-0 lead in the series. They send out their third starter, RHP Zack Greinke, to face the Rays’ RHP Charlie Morton, who’s already distinguished himself this postseason by winning the Wild Card Game last week. Morton was 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA on the year, while Greinke was 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA for the Astros after coming over from the D-Backs at the trade deadline. He was 18-5 with a 2.93 ERA overall.

Astros lineup:

Rays lineup:

The late game showcases the Yankees at Twins, 5:40 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Yankees lead the series 2-0. They’ll send RHP Luis Severino to the mound in Minneapolis. He spent most of the season on the IL, making just three starts in September. He’s got a career 6.26 ERA in six postseason starts. His opponent will be RHP Jake Odorizzi, who gave up nine runs in four innings against the Yankees on July 24 and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of the ten starts he’s made since.

Yankees lineup:

Twins lineup:

Oct 06

NLDS Games Three, 2019

On this day in baseball history Sandy Koufax takes Yom Kippur off, Willie Davis makes three errors in the fifth inning of Game Two of the World Series, Jim Palmer beats Sandy Koufax in the same game, Phil Niekro wins his 300th game, and Lenny Harris surpasses Manny Mota’s career pinch-hit record.

The early game is Braves at Cardinals, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Braves send rookie RHP Mike Soroka to the Busch Stadium mound to face the Cardinals’ veteran RHP Adam Wainwright. Soroka has been sensational on the road; he’s made 16 starts away from home and given up no more than three runs in any of them and no more than two in fourteen. That computes to a road ERA of 1.55. Wainwright will be making his 25th career postseason appearance — his 13th start — and a 3.03 career ERA in those games. He’s been even better at Busch, where he’s got a 1.72 ERA.

Braves lineup:

Cardinals lineup:

The second game is Dodgers at Nationals, 4:45 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Dodgers send LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound to face the Nationals’ RHP Aníbal Sánchez. Ryu’s been dominant at home and a little less so on the road, but as the MLB Game Preview author says, when you lead the major leagues in ERA you pitch well everywhere. Sánchez is substituting for Max Scherzer, who’d originally been penciled in for this start until he struck out the side in the 8th inning in Game Two.

The Dodgers and their families arrived at National Airport yesterday evening. Look at all the daddies holding their children’s hands going down the stairs.

Dodgers lineup:

Nationals lineup:

Oct 05

ALDS Games Two, 2019

On this day in baseball history we find the Mickey Owens passed ball, Al Gionfriddo’s catch, Mickey Mantle’s torn knee cartilage and the invention of the high five, among other things.

The early game is the Twins at Yankees, 2:07 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Twins’ RHP Randy Dobnak will make his sixth big league start on the biggest stage you can get: facing the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the postseason. He’ll face RHP Masahiro Tanaka, one of the few Yankees starter who was healthy all season. Tanaka has made five career postseason starts and has a 3-2 record with a 1.50 ERA to show for it.

Twins lineup:

Yankees lineup:

The late game will be the Rays at Astros, 6:07 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Rays ask LHP Blake Snell to get them even in the series, while the Astros send Gerrit Cole out to continue what Verlander did yesterday. By the way, Cole was 16-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his last 22 starts of 2019.

Rays lineup:

Astros lineup:

Oct 04

NLDS Games Two, 2019

The early game will be the Cardinals at Braves, 1:37 PM PDT, TV: TBS

This game features the hottest pitcher of the second half, the Cardinals’ RHP Jack Flaherty. He’ll face the Braves’ RHP Mike Foltynewicz. Flaherty made 15 starts in the second half and posted a 0.91 ERA for all of them. Foltynewicz struggled early, went to the minors, and came back up in the second half rejuvenated. He went 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA in his ten starts after August 5.

Cardinals lineup:

Braves lineup:

The late game will be Nationals at Dodgers, 6:37 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Nats send RHP Stephen Strasburg to the mound to face the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw. Strasburg threw only 34 pitches while dispatching the Brewers handily for three innings in the Wild Card Game Tuesday. Strasburg’s been in four postseason games in his career, going 2-2 with an 0.41 ERA over 22 innings. Kershaw has been in thirty postseason games with a 9-10 record and a 4.32 ERA over 152 innings.

Jon W. presents an updated edition of his Clayton Kershaw Postseason Chart, which recounts the pitcher’s exploits once the regular season is done.

Nationals lineup:

Dodgers lineup: