ALDS Games Four, NLDS Games Three, 2015

Early AL game: Royals at Astros, 10:00AM PT, TV: FS1

The Astros have a 2-1 lead and send rookie Lance McCullers out to try to win the series. The Royals send first-game (but only two innings thanks to rain) starter Yordano Ventura out to keep the Astros from doing that.

Late AL Game: Blue Jays at Rangers, 1:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Rangers lead the series 2-1 and hope to win at home. They’ll send out Derek Holland, who’s been in 13 post-season games in his career. He and the Rangers will face R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball. This will be Dickey’s first postseason start.

Early NL Game: Cardinals at Cubs 3:00PM PT, TV: TBS

The series is tied 1-1. The Cubs like their chances in this game, and who wouldn’t? They send All Second-Half pitcher Jake Arrieta to the mound to face the Cardinals, who counter with Michael Wacha.

Late NL Game: Dodgers at Mets, 5:30PM PT, TV: TBS

First, I think this game is going to start on TNT rather than TBS unless the Cubs-Cards game is a blowout; I don’t believe the first game will come in under 2 1/2 hours as it would have to for there to be a seamless switch at 5:30PM PT.

Second, Utley. The latest word is that his appeal is “unlikely to be heard today.”

Utley’s representatives and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association asked for time to prepare their case, which would make Utley eligible to play until a hearing takes place.

Now, the game itself. The Dodgers send Brett Anderson to the hill in his second postseason appearance (2012 for the As), while the Mets send Matt Harvey and his “will he or won’t he throw more than 180 innings this year?” controversy (he wound up throwing 189 1/3 in the regular season) to the mound. Anderson was the best ground-ball pitcher in the big leagues this year, inducing them at a 66.3% rate. Harvey was 8-3 with a 2.23 ERA at home, far better than he was on the road.

This will be the first postseason game ever played at Citi Field; all previous Mets’ appearances were at Shea Stadium.

Lineup when available.

What? No Utley?

Also:

476 thoughts on “ALDS Games Four, NLDS Games Three, 2015

  1. I really think if the Dodgers lose the game tonight, Mattingly goes to Miami. My choice to replace him is Bud Black. Not sure why, we have a strong pitching coach in Hunnicutt and an offense oriented manager makes more sense, but no matter, the FO doesn’t listen to me anyhow. And that’s OK cause that makes everything that goes wrong their fault. I love shirking responsibility…

  2. When I consider the Nats, Gnats, and Pirates, I feel fortunate to be a fan of a team that has gotten this far. Go Kershaw! Go Blue!

  3. If, and it’s a huge one, we win games 4 and 5, do we start the next series with, ugh, Anderson, or pitch Clayton and Zack on 3 days’ rest? Is there a Plan C?

  4. After last night’s exhibitions:
    Rollins had his Veteran’s Preference Start, he is backup from now on.
    KiKi hurts us in center, so Joc has to play.
    Crawford hurts us in the field and at the plate, he is a pinch runner from now on.
    KiKi and Ethier platoon in left, Puig plays right.
    And I am more interested in Kershaw not hurting himself than I am in winning the game.

    • I hope Mattingly sees it that way. He has made great strides as a Manager but he still hasn’t mastered lineups yet IMHO.

      Kike’ needs to either be a fill in utility player or given a position that he can handle after he has mastered it. He can compete for a starting job at second or left field next year but for now, a jack of all trades is not what I want as a starter in the playoffs. He is not that good of a hitter.

      I think Mattingly put Seager in at third base was more to give him a taste of a playoff game in NY more than it was to rest Turner so that he will be more relaxed starting Tuesday.

      • I don’t think Seager really needed a taste. The kid has no nerves at all… That over the shoulder catch the other night, did you see the grin on his face when he and Crawford were close?

  5. I wonder if the FO is starting to see the importance of pitching? I can live with inconsistent and oftentimes weak hitting, but its the pitching weaknesses top to bottom that really bothers me.

    • I think they want what the Mets have in their rotation with young aces like deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz plus a veteran like Harvey. They need to find a bridge to Urias, Holmes, Buehler, De Leon plus Kershaw for KFAZ to be able to do that.

      It will be interesting to see what that bridge looks like. Will they re-sign Greinke and go after Price?

      • Me thinks that they stay with a top-two approach (either Greinke or Price) and shore up 3-4 slots with return of Ryu and McCarthy. They have Wood in hand for back-end and could resign Anderson and then see how the young arms develop.

        • I like the “me thinks” approach to guessing what KFAZ might do as my “me thinks” is that they don’t even know yet what they will do.

          They already have Rhy and McCarthy so that would not be shoring up anything would it? De Leon and Cotton or Beachy might be ready to shore up Ryu and McCarthy if they don’t try to sign two aces like Greinke and Price.

          • Shoring up in the sense that they didn’t have them this season and had different people in those spots.

          • Since Kasten had 3 great starters in Maddux, Glavin and Smoltz, with Atlanta. I always thought he would try to get 3 top starters but I guess I was wrong.

          • Don’t think he has a problem with having three it’s more in regard to the cost of getting there. Maddux was the one FA, Glavine came up through the system, and Smoltz was acquired as a prospect by sending a vet pitcher to a contender during the down years for the Braves. They may see Urias as that third.

          • They do seem to have an overall strategy to guide them, which suggests to me that they go with the two-top guy approach. I suppose that they could depart from that strategy, but not sure why. It seems to be working even during the transition and they have shied away from mortgaging the future when faced with the lost of the 3-4.

  6. I think it was Dave who asked if we’d gone over our previous record for comments. Yes. 432 is the most ever. Game 144 on 9/15 is second with 349. Game 149 on 9/21 is third with 342. Rounding out the top five are Game 156 on 9/28 with 330 and the opener of the NLDS on 10/9 with 318. This has been a much-discussed set of 165 games so far, with one and hopefully two yet to go.

    • Thanks Link. Wasn’t that fun to see we broke the record? If only the Dodgers had joined in the fun along with us!

      • Not the sort of record we might want to break. The top five are all losses and most of the discussion is of a doomsday nature about Donnie, the FO, the pen and the scapegoat player of the day. The joy of the Dodgers we tend to keep and celebrate by ourselves or just take the wins for granted. We use the site for commiserating among fellow sufferers, as well as in attacking anything that moves, including each other.

        • I had noticed that earlier in the year (more comments during losses) but hadn’t realized that the top 5 were all losses.
          Misery loves company and Elysian Fields loves communal grieving/griping I suppose.

    • Might have had a chance on the Granderson double to center, while a better left fielder might have had a chance on his double to left. (I think those were both Granderson). Matz is a southpaw, so Donnie will have to weigh that and don’t think Joc starts tomorrow. I see Ruggs, Quique and Puig.

    • I would go with an outfield of Kike’, Pederson, Puig. Ruggs has faded some and hasn’t played much for over a week. Pederson’s last two homeruns were against southpaws and one of them was Bumgarner.

      I think Seager will start as well. If Pederson played deeper than Kike’ did and gets a better jump, his better speed would have gotten him to the ball and when that happens, he catches it.

      • Yeah, it may have been a question of positioning and Quique didn’t get a good jump, didn’t take a good route and seemed lost and not moving at top speed. That, of course, would have been a spectacular catch by Joc (we know he is capable). Three runs scored with two outs. Haven’t gotten another look at the Granderson double to left, which score 2 runs with 1 out, but at the time felt that someone better than CC might have gotten to it. So, that’s five runs right there and we are tied.

  7. How confident are people feeling about game 4 with Kershaw pitching tomorrow? I wish I could say I am pumped. But truthfully I’m nervous.

      • With Kershaw, then Grienke it should be the best 1-2 punch in the game. We wouldn’t want anyone else starting those games

    • On the one hand, there’s usually the need for someone to be blamed for what would be perceived as an underachieving season.
      On the other hand, Donnie isn’t the one not hitting in the clutch and not holding the lead. Who else would they get? Roenicke?

      • I’ve liked him better this year, but his constant lineup tweaking drove me nuts. I can’t imagine that’s easy for the players.

        • I was going to comment on that, wondering how much of that is his own philosophy and how much was dictated by the FO — either by overt orders or by leaving him such a fluctuating roster.
          It also didn’t help that they didn’t have a true leadoff hitter.

          • There are certainly discussions. Don’t you recall Donnie in ST saying that he would be looking for help from the FO in putting together line ups.

          • Strangely, we got more dingers out of the leadoff spot than we did from any other, except for 3rd. On the other hand lead off was only the 7th best spot in terms of OBP.

    • The players did not revolt and instead hustled all year. Donnie seems to work well with FAZ. He has a good chance of coming back unless the Yankees really want him and trade for him.

  8. When was the last time the Dodgers absorbed a post-season shellacking of this magnitude? Maybe I have blocked it out, but nothing comes to mind.

    • Kershaw’s 2nd loss two years ago which eliminated them.
      I remember it being over really early and many of us commenting that that actually made it easier than a nailbiting loss.

  9. We can only hope that the Dodger pitchers and the Mets batters get all of this out of their system and the remaining two games show nary a trace of the same.

  10. I’ve decided to watch something else and record the rest of this game. Better for my nerves. I will say that Tejada injury notwithstanding, Saturday’s game was the most exciting I’ve ever attended. So thank you, Dodgers, for that!

        • Johan Falk is really good. Martin Beck. The Norwegian Varg Veum. The Danish series Unit One and The Eagle are also really good. I also really like the German series Tatort (Crime Scene) set in Frankfurt (there are other versions set in different cities).

          • I’ve seen Martin Beck (loved) Unit One (loved) and The Eagle (liked). Thanks for the other suggestions. Will look for them during the off season, which may be sooner rather than later…

  11. Mama really really not happy tonight. I wasn’t feeling well today anyway, and this game isn’t helping my digestion one bit.

  12. As if things couldn’t get any worse, I leave the computer to eat dinner and, when I come back, I have to listen to GBA.

  13. Alright. Time to score some momentum building runs to get us in the groove for tomorrow. Yes I’m aware it doesn’t actually work like that. But let’s score some runs anyway.

  14. That DM is one great manager. He’s used both Puig and Pederson, excellent outfielders, as pinch hitters but did not use either one to replace Crawford who is much worse defensively than he is with a bat.
    Edit. This may be premature, I was just looking at Gameday which might not be up to date. Just ignore me.

    • If you look at the replay on the play the other night, it appears that if he could have gotten a few more inches off the ground he might have caught Howie’s hit.

    • Speaking of “warhorse” . . .
      Since it’s that kind of game where you break out stories and travel on tangents, did anyone see the stage play “War Horse”? I’ve seen it three times on stage and thought it was much more effective than the movie — stunning what they were able to do with the horse “puppets.”

  15. I know it’s not over, but…. When it comes to recent history of our boys in the Playoffs….
    ….
    It’s ALWAYS……
    – somebody else’s year
    – somebody else’s hot streak
    – somebody else’s charmed season
    – somebody else’s stellar performance…. “Hat’s off to ________________”

    At what point is it the Dodgers’ year?
    At what point do the Dodgers MAKE it their year?

    Now, let’s get back to this one…. 🙂

    • When they have a team that can come back in late innings, Saturday night aside (it WAS the exception to the rule) . . . a stronger starting staff beyond the first two . . . a more consistent lineup (because the hitters are more consistent) . . . and a stronger bullpen.
      Or at least two of those.

  16. All the blogs are going to be full of “I told you so” comments about not trading for Hamels or Price etc.

          • That article does not show any sort of proposed trade. It is just an opinion of another blog writer.

          • What do you want, package?

            The general opinion around baseball, pro writers and bloggers and other front offices, was that the Dodgers didn’t want to trade those two prospects. We’ve all seen those statements all year long.

          • I want to win! 27 years is a long time. You act like we would have to have given up the entire farm for a top pitcher. Maybe we would have to given up one but I don’t believe all. The new regime does not want to obtain proven players or at least so far. This is Brave baseball management.

          • Certainly more Braves than Fillies or Yankees. Have to be careful in looking for quick fixes or you can undermine your team for years. Look how things turned out for the Padres.

          • Love your passion Package. We all want to win. I wish we could have more control over that!

          • I simply don’t know what the answer is. Whether we’ve traded our prospects or kept our prospects, the bottom line is we haven’t been to the World Series since 1988. Based on his minor league stats and one month with the Dodgers, Seager definitely appears to be a keeper. Urias has some big steps before he reaches the big leagues. After a strong start this season, Pederson was clearly overmatched.

          • “Philly was said to have previously insisted on at least one of the
            Dodgers’ top-two prospects, who happened to be two of the very best in
            baseball — shortstop Corey Seager or young lefty Julio Urias — but at
            least now appears to be considering other possible Dodger scenarios,”
            writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. “Rivals all seem to agree that Seager and Urias are too good to trade…” Source, July 2015.

          • According to that article the Phils would have taken less than Seager and Urias. The Dodgers do not want to trade any prospects.

          • You certainly read want you want to read. They looked at other Dodger scenarios and in the end went with better offers from other teams.

          • Look, most of you folks do not want to give up anything for a proven top player. That being the case you will get what you get because that is whats happening. You have to give to get. This season is not over but so far I have not seen the great prospects perform except Seager so far. So it is working out the way you want it. Win or lose.

          • This is your way of conceding that you were wrong in suggesting that we could have gotten someone without giving up top prospects?

          • I never said you didn’t have to trade any prospects. I just don’t believe you would have had to give up Seager, Pederson and Urias for a pitcher.

          • Now it’s “a” pitcher, before it was Hamels. We were also discussing “top” prospects not “any” prospects.

          • OK, let it be Hamels. Yes, not all top prospects would have had to be traded to get Hamels in my opinion. It doesn’t matter what I think because right now you are getting what you want. No trades involving prospects or Top prospects. So however it ends up you can claim ownership as a fan. No one who wants what is now being given for a team should complain as they accept and appparently want it as is.

          • On the flip side – no guarantees that Toronto wins with Price and Tulo or Texas wins Hamels. One of those teams will in fact be done after their next game.

          • True. Dave, my only point is that nothing has happened in my opinion to make the Dodgers better. I know I have complained and complained to the point where most folks despise me. I cannot agree with things I feel are not being done or helping. Those who do should be happy with the results.

          • Fair enough. I wish we were going to be up 2-1 in this series rather than down 1-2 but other than that I don’t know if we can say we are worse off than any team really. Including the Cardinals who had the best record in all baseball this year.

          • I said the year is not over so it is possible that the Dodgers go all the way for a championship in which case I will gladly say I was wrong and the team must be better.

        • In retrospect, how many of you wish we’d traded Pederson for a pitcher last season (2014)?

      • As RBI pointed out below, it depends on the cost. I wouldn’tve mortgaged the future for another ace only for this year . . . the offense has been too suspect to guarantee a win even if there’s a great start.

  17. What really frustrates me is that this is hardly good Harvey. He’s been hittable and generally not really sharp, yet we’ve given up a ton of runs and let him get away. If Matz isn’t good to go we might see de Grom tomorrow, which won’t be any fun at all, Kershaw or no Kershaw.

  18. Perhaps we should have just given the Mets Utley and see if that would have appeased them.

  19. No words to describe……
    …..
    Well, popular sentiment would have the Mets winning this one, however…..
    1. Rollins misplaying that ball that IMHO – Opened up that 2nd inning for the Mets, to me, was
    reminiscent of Furcal’s similar misplaying of a ball vs. Philly yrs. ago which opened things up
    for a big inning vs. Bills….
    2. Ryu? McCarthy? …. Well, I told my wife that either Anderson is going to pitch the game of
    his life, or it will be an absolute blowout…..
    3. Farhan has no idea how to put a ‘staff’ together…. Has there been anything good come of
    the trade with Atlanta at the deadline ?

    Rant over. At this point, I’m just worried about Vinny and want to know he’s ok. Haven’t heard
    much.

    • Don’t need an umpire to call balls and strikes anyway. The pitchtrack can do it better

      • I heard a betting show on sports radio before the game — it was 6 1/2 and the analyst said definitely take the over — ‘neither starter has pitched in a while.’ He was proven accurate after the 2nd! (And I went to a buffet adjacent to a sports book — I should’ve listened to him and made a bet! . . . But I DID net $2.50 playing dime video poker.)

        • I gambled when I lived in Vegas in the ’60s but I have not gambled even one nickel since I moved up her 12 years ago. I do drive down to California (27 miles) to buy lottery tickets every 2 or 3 months.

          • Vegas doesn’t have the lottery, so when there’s a big one, there are HUGE lines at Primm, NV (the stateline with CA).

          • Shoshone is only 27 miles for me. They get big lines too. One general store/gas station that sells lottery tickets, a couple of sleazy motel and bars, that’s about all it is.

  20. I call Baseball Bingo on this tv crew using the phrase “shut down inning” when Anderson pitches.

  21. OK, Brett Anderson. On top of everything else going on, keep in mind that… Zack… Greinke… is……WATCHING….you

  22. The Met fans really let Utley have it when he was introduced. I wouldn’t have expected anything less.

  23. Cubs lose Addison Russell to an apparent hand or finger injury on slide into 3rd base. He has left the game.

  24. Tonight might have been a good night to try Puig. He has 3 hits in only 5abs against Harvey, one was a double and he also has a walk. Plus the team could have an advantage with his arm in right and Either in left. Just a thought.

  25. Hmm. The Jays just brought David Price in to relieve Dickey in the fifth inning. There was no jam, no crisis, and Dickey’s a knuckleballer so his velocity wasn’t dropping. I wonder why they did that. It means they can’t use Price in Game Five, which is looking like a certainty.

      • The sort of decision you get when you hire old ballplayers as managers. Teams would be better served by selecting managers from IQ test results. But those guys probably don’t want the job…

    • I hope he doesn’t hurt himself. You know he’s going to put 1000% effort into that game. Keep all of our fingers crossed!

  26. Guess Donnie didn’t want to risk Seager with the Mets tonight or maybe he just wanted to give Rollins an opportunity this evening?

        • Yeah, but on the other side of things, Utley has a .333 average against Harvey, whereas Howie is at .167. On the other other side, Harvey has hit Utley more times (3) than anyone else he’s ever faced.

          It’s probably the better part of valor to start Howie.

          • On the other hand, wouldn’t it make sense to start Utley and as Audit said “Zero Tolerance” might cause the Mets to lose Harvey?

          • Also, they’ll likely have the appeal hearing tomorrow and we’ll lose Utley tomorrow night. But who is going to play well on any given day is a crap shoot.

        • Don’t forget Crawford. He has been overpowered as well but he is still in. I would rather have Kike’ in LF and Pederson in CF and Ellis at catcher. I’m okay with Seager on the bench.

  27. Crazy stuff in Houston. KC’s Gore steals second and then tries to steal third. Called safe by the ump but then overturned by replay. It looked like his foot left the bag but there are three things that I wondered about:
    1. Was his whole foot off the bag? It looked like it might have been but no replay they showed had a picture of the whole shoe and cleats. Perhaps part was still on that wasn’t seen from the replay angles.
    2. Was the fielders glove on Gore at the exact same time as the foot was in the air? From the frame by frame shots, it looked like his wrist and not his glove was touching at that moment.
    3. Did the third baseman push Gore off the bag? Valbeuna was indeed falling into Gore and it may have been that his momentum pushed him off the bag. Should that be factored into consideration?

    All of this to say, once again – replay has opened Pandora’s box where the letter of the law is observed down to the smallest possible degree. Which is fine if that’s what we as fans want. And it played into the Dodgers’ favour yesterday that’s for sure. But is it that kind of perfection of calls that we really want? Replays work best in conjunction within the frame work of the rules and not above it.

    Rant done.

  28. Lineup for today

    Kendrick 2B
    Rollins SS
    Agon 1B
    Turner 3B
    Ethier RF
    Crawford LF
    Grandal C
    Hernandez CF
    Anderson P 10-9 3.69

    Lineup courtesy Rotowire

  29. I don’t want to see a World Series in Texas, and I don’t want to see one on artificial turf. Things are looking bad.

  30. Anderson’s a ground-ball pitcher, but the Mets are fly-ball hitters, and Anderson also led the Dodgers in HRs allowed.