Sep 30

AL Wild Card Game, 2014

Athletics vs. Royals, 8:07PM ET, TV: TBS

The As acquired Jon Lester to pitch big games like this one. The Royals did the same with James Shields.

The As were suddenly terrible after the trading deadline in July, and they were 10-16 in September. The Royals weren’t burning up the league either, but they did manage a winning record in the last month, going 15-12.

Bleacher Report has a comprehensive look at the matchups in this game (and the Pirates-Giants game tomorrow).

Sep 28

Playoff schedule, 2014

Update: Here is the full schedule of all championship series games. For some reason MLB and the TV networks are being coy about game times. Nobody seems to know beyond the first day, or else they’re just not telling.

Jon W. has the first two times for the Dodgers-Cardinals series:

Game 1 of the National League Division Series starts at 3:37 p.m. Friday, with Game 2 set for 6:37 p.m. Saturday.

[snip]

Fox Sports 1 will televise Game 1; MLB Network will televise Game 2. Both games will be aired on ESPN Radio and KLAC AM 570.

I assume those are Pacific time.

Update: Pacific Time it is.

Here we go…

American League Central
The Tigers clinched the division with a 3-0 win over the Twins. Detroit will play Baltimore in the American League Division Series, with Game 1 at Camden Yards scheduled for Thursday on TBS.

The Royals, meanwhile, will host the AL Wild Card game against the A’s on Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. ET on TBS. The winner will head to Los Angeles to play Game 1 of the ALDS against the Angels on Thursday on TBS.

National League Central
The Cardinals clinched the division before they even took the field in Arizona because the Reds beat the Pirates, 4-1. St. Louis will face the Dodgers in the National League Division Series, with Game 1 at Dodger Stadium set for Friday on Fox Sports 1.

The Pirates will host the Giants in the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday at 8:07 p.m. on ESPN. The winner will face the Nationals in the NLDS. Game 1 of that series will be on Friday in Washington on Fox Sports 1.

American League Wild Card

The A’s clinched a playoff berth with a 4-0 victory over the Rangers to claim the second Wild Card. Oakland will head to Kansas City to take on the Royals in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday night at 8:07 p.m. on TBS.

Sep 28

Game 162, 2014

Rockies at Dodgers 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KDOC-56

Greinke’s on the hill for four or five innings as a tuneup. Uribe’s managing. Kershaw’s the pitching coach. Ryu may be the bullpen coach “if he can get him to understand when he calls down,” Mattingly said.

The Rockies send out rookie Christian Bergman, who’s 3-4 with a 5.29 ERA in nine starts this season and coming off a win against the D-Backs in which he gave up two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Ryu is throwing bullpen today and Kershaw will throw a couple of innings in a simulated game. The Dodgers are feeling pretty hopeful that Ryu will be able to start Game Three of the NLDS on October 6.

If you’re interested in what has happened or is still happening elsewhere, here’s MLB’s live blog of the events in Cincinnati between the Pirates and Reds, in Texas between the As and Rangers, in Seattle between the Angels and Mariners, in Chicago between the Royals and White Sox, and in Detroit between the Tigers and Twins. What’s the big deal? Well, there’s a chance that there might be three, three! Game 163 tiebreakers required to settle the playoff seedings and even some of the participants. The possibilities are laid out in mind-numbing detail in that post.

Lineup when available.


Sep 27

Game 161, 2014

Rockies at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KDOC-56

Nobody’s calling Dan Haren a hot young prospect anymore, unlike his opponent in today’s game, a right-hander named Eddie Butler. Haren’s luck against the Rockies throughout his career has been poor: he’s 7-9 with a 5.19 ERA in eighteen starts against them. He’ll be on a pitch count today, the team says. Young Mr. Butler made only his second big league start last Saturday and went six innings, giving up one run on five hits and a walk to the D-Backs.

Hun-Jin Ryu reported he felt fine after throwing off a mound for the first time in two weeks Friday. He only threw 20 pitches, though. He’s scheduled to throw a full bullpen session tomorrow. An aside: I’m not sure that’s going to be all that representative of his control or velocity, since as I understand it he doesn’t throw between starts, unlike his American-trained counterparts. We’ll have to see.

This is a mildly interesting bit of trivia:

The Dodgers will finish the season without a losing streak longer than three games, joining the 1988 (161 games) and 1924 (154) teams as the only ones in franchise history without a four-game losing streak in a season.

Their longest winning streak of the season was six, for comparison.

Lineup when available.


Update: If the Dodgers’ Twitter feed is to be believed, Clayton and Ellen Kershaw are expecting their first child. Less importantly, Jeremy Lin is going to throw out the first pitch.

Sep 26

Game 160, 2014

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

The Dodgers’ Roberto Hernandez is possibly pitching for a playoff roster spot with the Dodgers tonight. In his last four starts he’s gone no longer than 4 1/3 innings in any game and given up 11 runs in those 15 innings.

The Rockies will send out Jordan Lyles, who’s 7-3 with a 4.15 ERA on the year. On August 6 he returned from two months on the DL with a fractured hand, and he hasn’t gone longer than 6 1/3 innings in any start since then.

Dan Haren and Zack Greinke are scheduled to go this weekend for the Dodgers, but they may be on limited pitch counts or be scratched altogether, depending on how Mattingly wants to set up his rotation for the NLDS, which begins a week from today in LA. Hyun-Jin Ryu threw off a mound today for the first time since his shoulder inflammation flareup took him out of his start against the Giants on September 12.

Update: News from Phoenix: The D-Backs hired Dave Stewart to be GM, which means Matt Kemp will have to find another agent, and they fired Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell.

Lineup:



Woot! Justin Turner hitting cleanup!

Sep 24

Game 159, 2014

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ESPN, KDOC-56, CSN-BA

If the Dodgers win, they win the NL West. If the Giants win, they clinch a playoff berth. One way or the other one of these teams is going to be celebrating something after tonight’s game.

Most every sportswriter in the country and most fans as well are probably chalking up this game as a win for the Dodgers, what with Clayton Kershaw pitching for them tonight. Well, Tim Hudson is having a poor year, but he’s not chopped liver. He’s started 456 games in his 16-year career and won 214 of them (first among all active pitchers) while losing only 123, with a lifetime ERA of 3.45. However, in his last outing he went only 4 1/3 innings against the Padres, giving up four runs on seven hits. The start before that was against the Dodgers, and it was awful: six runs on eight hits in just one inning.

In personnel news, Mattingly thinks Hyun-Jin Ryu won’t be seen on the mound again until the playoffs.

Lineup when available.

Sep 23

Game 158, 2014

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSN-BA, ESPN, KDOC-56

The game should be accessible to most fans, as it’s being televised by both ESPN and KDOC-56. KDOC-56’s channel numbers for various providers are in the last post.

Zack Greinke brings his 4-0 record and 1.38 ERA in four starts against the Giants this season to the mound tonight. He’ll face Madison Bumgarner, himself 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers this season.

Every game is different, but if Dodger fans are looking for encouragement, this should help:

The career numbers against Greinke in the last five seasons don’t look good for any healthy Giants, but especially not for the heart of the order: Brandon Belt is 1-for-5, Hunter Pence is 1-for-6 and Buster Posey is also 1-for-6.

The most successful Giants hitters against Greinke in the last five seasons? Morse and Pagan, who will each miss Tuesday night’s game with injuries.

Lineup:



No Gordon? No Crawford? Mattingly may just be loading the lineup with right-handed hitters to face Bumgarner. However, Gonzalez is all of 4 for 32 lifetime against the guy.

Sep 22

Game 157, 2014

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN, CSN-BA

Update: Whoops! Forgot that from here on out the games are also carried on KDOC. Channel numbers:

Provider HD Channel SD Channel
Charter 710 10
Cox 1012 12
AT&T U-verse 1006 6
DirecTV 56 56
Verizon FiOS 506 6
Dish Network 56 56
Over the air broadcast 56.1 56.1

Admit it. We’d be a lot more nervous about the penultimate three-game series of the season if the Dodgers hadn’t got a 4 1/2 game lead in the division. Barring absolute disaster the Dodgers should win the NL West with relative ease, since their magic number is down to three. The two teams have split the first sixteen games they’ve played this season.

Having said that, tonight’s pitching opponent is no palooka. Jake Peavy has a 7-1 record with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts in Dodger Stadium and a career record against Los Angeles of 14-3. Dan Haren will take the mound for the Dodgers. He’s 6-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 17 career appearances (16 starts) against San Francisco.

Neither Michael Morse nor Angel Pagan will be in the lineup for the Giants in any of the three games; they both have injuries severe enough to see specialists.

Lineup:


Sep 21

Game 156, 2014

Dodgers at Cubs, 11:20AM PT, TV: SPNLA

The Dodgers blew a five-run lead in Saturday’s game against the Cubs but were rescued by San Diego’s Andrew Cashner, who held the Giants to 4 hits and 2 ninth-inning runs while helping his team with a single, a walk and a triple in the Padres’ 3-2 win the same night in America’s Finest City.

Today, then, they throw the parts of the bullpen who’ve shown the least wear and tear over the past week, starting with the venerable Jamie Wright. The longest outings he’s pitched all year were two three-inning stretches in May, but he’s ready:

“It’s a Sunday day game in Wrigley. What’s not exciting about that? I always love pitching here,” said Wright. “I wish I could throw 120 pitches like I used to. Clearly, that’s not going to happen.

The veteran will face the Cubs’ Jacob Turner, who’s 1-3 with a 6.93 ERA overall with Chicago after being traded from the Marlins last month.

This is interesting (at least to me): today the Cubs host their first Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) Day at Wrigley. There’ll be a networking party at The Captain Morgan Club at the ball park and the Central State University Marching Band will perform after the game.

Lineup when available.


Giants at Padres, 1:10PM PT, TV: CSN-BA, FSSD. Vogelsong v. Kennedy

Sep 20

Game 155, 2014

Dodgers at Cubs, 10:05AM PT, TV: Fox

This is a battle of fourth or fifth starters. Roberto Hernandez starts for the Dodgers and Felix Doubront will start for the Cubs. Hernandez has fallen on hard times after starting out well when the Dodgers picked him up in early August. Three of his first four outings were quality starts, but he hasn’t gotten past 4 1/3 innings in any of his last three appearances. Worse, 6 of the 16 hits he’s given up in the latest starts have been home runs.

Doubront has been in the majors since 2011 but only with the Cubs since July of this year. He’s 4-5 with a 5.00 ERA in 2014, but his last start was a six-inning four-hit no-run performance against the playoff-contending Pirates.

Jon Weisman put together some statistics which show that the Dodgers have a much better offense than many of us think. It’s hard to argue with the numbers, so why do we so often feel like they aren’t very good at scoring runs? Anyway, go look at his bullet points and try to ingest them.

Lineup when available.