Wild Card Games, 2015

Today is the American League Wild Card (or play-in, if this were the NCAA basketball tournament) game. Tomorrow is the National League’s version. Comment or ignore as you wish. If you prefer to keep discussing the Dodgers’ playoff possibilities, use the thread below.

Howard Cole (former Dodger blogger) has some thoughts about postseason experience — does it help or does it matter? He cites rookies who’ve done amazing things and veterans who’ve failed miserably, and he cites other cases when the opposite took place.

Today: Astros at Yankees, 8:00PM ET, ESPN (which makes history by putting Jessica Mendoza in the broadcast booth alongside John Kruk and Dan Shulman)

The Astros start Dallas Kuechel on three days rest. He was 15-0 at home and 5-8 on the road this season with a 2.48 ERA and 16 scoreless innings against the Yankees. The Yankees start Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.51 ERA), who missed his next-to-last start with a strained hamstring and in his last start went five innings and gave up four runs.

Nothing against the Yankees (well, except the eight times they’ve beaten the Dodgers in the World Series), but I’m rooting for the Astros in this one. They’ve had several awful years and weren’t expected to get this good until next season.

Tomorrow: Cubs at Pirates, 8:00PM ET, TBS (Brian Anderson, Dennis Eckersley, Joe Simpson)

Two aces go at one another in this game: the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta (22-6, 1.77 ERA including a no-hitter against the Dodgers) versus the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole (19-8, 2.60 ERA). I’m uncertain who I’m rooting for here. As a baseball fan it’s hard not to hope the Cubs advance, but I’ve always had stronger feelings for the Buccos.

  • WBBsAs

    The Gnats may be annoying, but the Yanquis are evil.

  • Leaving four guys on in two innings is not the way to ensure a win, Astros.

    • WBBsAs

      Tanaka may not be long for the game, though.

      • Not when he’s given up two dingers so far.

        • WBBsAs

          Solos, though, and Keuchel’s pitch count could become a concern on three days’ rest.

          • 72 pitches through five innings. I confess I have no clue how good or bad the Astros’ bullpen is.

  • According to Ken Rosenthal the Astros’ bullpen is very good indeed.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Did we ever even see them?

      • How quickly we forget. On August 21 Mike Fiers threw a no-hitter against us. We lost the next two games to them as well.

        • Bob_Hendley

          Yeah, I meant their pen. ;(

  • WBBsAs

    Tanaka only lasts five.

  • Bob_Hendley

    Harvey late for Mets workout! I say suspend him.

  • WBBsAs

    A Yanqui loss can never equal a Dodger win, but it’s still good.

  • Bumsrap

    The Yankees have a couple of high payroll veterans that are blocking younger players. I can see them trying to trade Teixeira. The Dodgers don’t have that problem yet. Bellinger is still 2 or 3 years away from playing first base and by then Agons contract will have expired.

    It could be said that Crawford and Ethier are blocking each other instead of them blocking Puig. Injuries have had the most to do with who got playing time.

    The Dodgers are in good shape regarding contracts with the exception of having two high salaried left fielders but Schebler has not yet shown that he is a better option for left.

    The Yankees could be heading in the wrong direction and the Dodgers look like they can be moving in the right direction.

    • WBBsAs

      I think the Yanquis have finally realized that, but it will take them a while to correct course.

      • Bob_Hendley

        I think they realized that after the 2013 reload and were surprised how competitive they were in 2015. They really won’t get much salary relief until after 2016 and would still have several contracts remaining beyond 2018. Tons of pressure there from fans and ownership for GM to continue and try to buy their to victory. Teixeira, though limited to 110 games, just had his best season since 2012 and comes off the books after next year.

  • RBI

    I think the key to the Astros is making sure you don’t throw a hittable first pitch. (Easier said than done.)

  • WBBsAs
  • WinnipegDave

    It’s been a while since I’ve watched a game and wasn’t sure who I was rooting for. Tonight, I don’t know. I imagine Cubs will win but really I’m just rooting for great pitching.
    By the bye, I’ve changed my profile pic to one that has more blue in it. Thought it was worth a shot – a kin to RBI painting her nails blue.

    • RBI

      Nice!

    • RBI

      Is that your son? So handsome!

      • WinnipegDave

        Yes that’s him. He does have that classic smile that can light up a room. That pic is from a few years back, so he is older and taller now. I’m just older.

  • WinnipegDave

    3-0 Cubbies. I don’t see how Pittsburgh comes back to win this one against Arrieta. If they somehow do, it would almost have to be late in the game against the bullpen. But right now, it really looks like Cards vs Cubs.

    • WBBsAs

      The Pittsburghers look to be duplicating their effort against the Gnats last year.

  • WinnipegDave

    Wow. Bryant was really far off the bag on that pop up. Surprisingly easy to complete the double play.

  • WBBsAs

    For those who thought the Dodgers should have kept Hanley (per MLBTR):

    • Yeah? Missing link?

      • WBBsAs

        ??

        • You wrote “For those who thought the Dodgers should have kept Hanley (per MLBTR):” which I read as “read the link following the colon.”

          • WBBsAs

            No, just quoting it.

          • But I see no quoted text.

          • foul tip

            Try refreshing. I’ve noticed this kind of thing on some other “missing links” lately. Fixes it for me, so far.

          • That solved it. Thanks.

            I don’t think weight is Hanley’s problem.

          • WBBsAs

            I’m sure that’s part of it, but he’s also aging and frequently injured.

          • package206

            Really? I thought you guys would have waited until after the post season to get into the why’s and wherefore’s of this years team and players that have been let go or traded.

  • WBBsAs

    Looking pretty grim for the Bucs.

    • Yep. This is the third year in a row they’ve made the Wild Card game. They won in 2013 but lost the NLDS to the Cards. In 2012 they lost the WC game to the Braves. Last year they lost to the Giants (yes, yes, I know I’m spelling it wrong). And now down 4-0 to Arietta in the 6th.

      If the Cubs manage to move on and take out the Cardinals it won’t break my heart.

      • WBBsAs

        You’re also spelling “Arrieta” wrong.

        I can’t dislike either of these teams, but the Pirates really blew it last year.

        • I deliberately misspell the names of guys who no-hit the Dodgers. (No, not really. A mistake.)

          • WBBsAs

            Double “rr” is Spanish; double “tt” is Italian.

          • Do I haveta roll a “t” in Italian like I do an “r” in Spanish? 😉

  • RBI

    Fists almost flying. Poor Pirates, their only hope is to get Arrieta out of there. And score a metric buttload of runs immediately afterward.

    • WinnipegDave

      I appreciate the metric!

  • RBI

    As good as the Cubbies are this year, I’d rather face them then the Pirates or Cards in Post-season. But I want the Pirates to win. So, go figure.

    • WBBsAs

      I’m philosophical about it, since nothing I do can possibly influence the outcome.

  • One of these teams won 97, the other won 98. But neither won its division because a third team in the division won 100. One of these two has to go home, despite its second or third-best record in the NL.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Not too long ago playing in the same division as the Cubs and Bucs (and Astros!) was a bit easier.

  • Okay, Cubs, beat the Cardinals.

  • RBI

    Arrieta is closer to getting the Cy Young with that performance. Shouldn’t count, but does psychologically.

    • WBBsAs

      It doesn’t count, because the votes are already in.

      • RBI

        See above. I did not know that!

        • WBBsAs

          They vote immediately after the regular season ends.

        • Bob_Hendley

          WBBsAs is right in that votes are due in before the post season, but they accept votes before the actual end of the season.

      • RBI

        When do they vote?

        • Bob_Hendley

          I believe a few days before the season is actually over.

    • package206

      I think the Cy Young votes were in before the post season started.
      Sorry WBB, didn’t see that you had already replied.

      • RBI

        I did not know that!

  • WinnipegDave

    So it ends up being a well pitched game for only the Cubs. Should be an intense series against the Cards. I think there is a bit of a rivalry between those two teams. Go Cubs.
    And Go Dodgers. (And Royals and Jays).

    • WBBsAs

      I think it’s more intense for Cubs fans than for the Cards (as it is for Gnatfans rather than Dodger fans), because there’s a deep-seated sense of inferiority in Chicago (as there is in SF despite their recent successes).

      • RBI

        I would love to see them beat the Cards.

  • ALDS Games One NPUT.