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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This day in baseball history. One item of interest to Dodgers’ fans: the Sandy Amoros catch saved the 2-0 shutout Johnny Podres threw to win Game Seven of the 1955 World Series for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Rays send RHP Tyler Glasnow to the mound to face the Astros’ grizzled veteran RHP Justin Verlander. In an injury-shortened season in which he missed nearly four months, Glasnow had the best W-L record of his short career. He was 6-1, with all the wins coming before he hurt his forearm. His four September starts were short but effective. Verlander’s season may have been the best of his already brilliant career. He was 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA, struck out 300 for the first time and notched his 3,000th career strikeout in his last start of the season. Oh, and he threw his third career no-hitter this year too.
These teams battled all year for the “Home Runs, Team” title (won by the Twins, 307-306), so of course it’ll be a pitchers’ duel. The Twins send RHP José Berríos to the hill in the Bronx to face the Yankees’ LHP James Paxton. This will be the first postseason start for each pitcher, although Berríos took the loss in the 2017 Wild Card Game between the Twins and Yankees.
RHP Miles Mikolas goes for the Cards, while Dallas Keuchel goes for the Braves. This will be Mikolas’ first postseason appearance; it will be Keuchel’s 11th. Here’s MLB’s position-by-position comparison of the two teams. The net result? A very slight edge to the Braves. USA Today goes the other way and picks the Cardinals in five games.
LHP Patrick Corbin makes the first postseason start of his career, but he’s not unfamiliar with the Dodgers. He’s made 21 lifetime appearances (19 starts) against them including a seven-inning scoreless outing in May and has a 3.36 ERA to show for it. RHP Walker Buehler has made four postseason starts, all last year. He started Game Seven of the NLCS against the Brewers and then went seven scoreless innings against the Red Sox in Game Three of the World Series.
Here’s MLB’s position-by-position analysis of the two teams. MLB gives the Dodgers a slight edge. USA Today agrees, picking the Dodgers in four games.
RHP Charlie Morton starts for the Rays. A former Astro, he was the starter in Game Four of the ALCS last year against the Red Sox and was last seen by the Dodgers closing out Game Seven in the 2017 World Series. Morton had a 0.68 ERA against the As this season and his ERA against them is 2.97 lifetime. His Athletics opposite number will be LHP Sean Manaea, who’s been hot for a month after coming back from shoulder surgery; he went 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in September. He’s 1-1 with a career 2.70 ERA against the Rays.
The visiting Brewers send RHP Brandon Woodruff out to the Nationals Park mound to face Washington’s RHP Max Scherzer. The Brewers were 18-4 in games Woodruff started this season, but he’s just back from an oblique injury which caused him to miss six weeks in August and September and isn’t expected to go more than two or three innings. Fortunately for the Brewers, their bullpen has been very good this year. Scherzer has had nagging injuries in the second half of the year and missed much of August. He’s 0-2 with a 3.72 ERA in four postseason starts with the Nats, who have never won a postseason series. They did, however, end the season on an eight-game winning streak, which tops even the Dodgers’ season-ending streak of seven, so they’re hot.
Every game in baseball begins at the same time today. I’m sure MLB is hoping for a repeat of the events of September 28, 2011, when within thirty minutes two teams were eliminated from the playoffs after leading in their respective games. There are two games which are important today, but neither has quite the same amount of weight as those games eight years ago:
The Cardinals’ magic number to win the NL Central is one. That means a St. Louis win or Milwaukee loss Sunday would make the Cardinals division champs, while a Brewers win and Cardinals loss would force a tiebreaker Monday at Busch Stadium (3:09 p.m ET on ESPN) to determine the division winner. If both teams win Sunday, the Cardinals win the NL Central.
The Dodgers will make the last game of the season a bullpen game, starting LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.59 ERA) but not allowing him to go more than three innings, I imagine, thanks to his balky knee. The Giants have changed their minds; Madison Bumgarner was originally scheduled to start but was scratched by manager Bruce Bochy after Friday night’s game. Instead they’ll give RHP Dereck Rodríguez (6-10, 5.27 ERA) his 16th start of the season. He’s 0-1 with an 11.32 ERA in four lifetime appearances against the Dodgers.
Here’s Mr. Ryu’s excellent game Saturday: seven strikeouts, an RBI base hit, seven scoreless innings and the NL ERA title.
On this day in Dodgers’ history:
1951 Don Newcombe becomes the first black pitcher to win twenty games in a season. In a must-win for the Dodgers, the right-hander bests Robin Roberts, also a 20-game-winner, when he blanks the Phillies at Shibe Park, 5-0.
1959 At the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers capture the NL flag with a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Braves, taking the first two games of the three-game playoff necessitated by the teams being tied on the last day of the season. The deciding run comes in the bottom of the 12th inning, after the first two batters make outs, when Gil Hodges walks and scores on singles by Joe Pignatano and Carl Furillo.
1976 Tommy Lasorda is named to succeed Walter Alston as Dodger manager. ‘Smokey’ compiled a 2040-1613 record (.558), during his 23-year tenure with the club, winning seven pennants and four world championships.
1979 Manny Mota sets a major league record with his 146th career pinch hit, a single to right field, in LA’s 6-2 victory over Chicago at Dodger Stadium. The Dominican Republic native surpasses the all-time record set by Smoky Burgess, who collected his last hit as a pinch-hitter in 1967.
2000 Gary Sheffield ties the Dodgers’ franchise single-season home run record when he goes deep off Woody Williams in the team’s 3-0 victory over San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium. The left fielder, with his career best 43rd round tripper, now shares the team mark with Duke Snider, who established the record in 1956 when he played for Brooklyn.