Oct 26

Game Four, 2019 World Series

Astros at Nationals, 5:07 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The Astros’ RHP Jose Urquidy hasn’t made a start since September 27 but is asked to do so tonight with his team down 2-1 in the Series. He’ll face LHP Patrick Corbin of the Nats. Corbin has made two postseason starts and four relief appearances this year, posting a 1-2 record with a 6.91 ERA.

Astros lineup:

Nationals lineup:

Oct 25

Game Three, 2019 World Series

Astros at Nationals, 5:07 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The Astros ask RHP Zack Greinke to win what really can be called a must-win game for them. He’s made three starts this postseason; the first was horrid but the last two were acceptable (3.48 ERA in 10 1/3 innings). The Nationals counter with RHP Aníbal Sánchez, who’s got an 0.71 ERA in 12 2/3 innings this postseason.

Astros lineup:

Nationals lineup:

Oct 23

Game Two, 2019 World Series

Nationals at Astros, 5:07 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The Nats have stolen one game in the Astros’ park and snapped Gerrit Cole’s 19-game winning streak in the process. Tonight they’ll send out Stephen Strasburg to face Houston’s number 1A ace Justin Verlander and try to steal another.

Conventional wisdom be damned, says MLB’s Will Leitch. Tonight’s game is not a “must-win” for the Astros.

Nationals lineup:

Astros lineup:

Oct 22

Game One, 2019 World Series

Nationals at Astros, 5:00 PM PDT, TV: Fox

On paper this is a starting pitcher’s series like we haven’t seen in quite a while. Each team’s rotation has three excellent starters: Verlander, Cole and Greinke for the Astros and Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin for the Nats.

All six of those starters performed admirably this season. In fact, they were all top 20 in ERA among qualified pitchers: Cole was third, Verlander fourth, Scherzer eighth, Greinke ninth, Corbin 13th and Strasburg 16th. It’s the first World Series since 1945 to feature six of the top 20 pitchers in ERA, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

[snip]

That’s when the Tigers, with Hal Newhouser (1st) and Dizzy Trout (T-10th), faced the Cubs, who had Claude Passeau (4th), Paul Derringer (T-10th), Hank Wyse (T-15th) and Ray Prim (T-15th).

Game One will feature RHP Max Scherzer for the Nationals and RHP Gerrit Cole for the Astros. Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his last start, Game Two of the NLCS against the Cardinals. Cole has won all three of his postseason starts, giving up ten hits and one run in 22 2/3 innings.

Nationals lineup:

Astros lineup:

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: