Oct 14

ALCS Game Two, 2017

Yankees at Astros, 1:00 PM PT, TV: Fox

The Yankees ask RHP Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA) to pitch them into a 1-1 tie in the series. The Astros ask RHP Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.36 ERA) to get them to a 2-0 lead. Severino went seven innings and gave up three runs on four hits in Game Four of the ALDS against the Indians, while Verlander pitched six strong innings in Game One of the other ALDS against the Red Sox and then another 2 2/3 innings in Game Four to help close that series out.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1976 The Yankees dramatically win their 30th pennant on Chris Chambliss’ home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The first baseman’s walk-off solo shot beats the Royals in Game Five and the deciding contest of the ALCS, 7-6.

  • 1992 In Game 7 of the NLCS, Francisco Cabrera’s ninth inning, two-out pinch hit single tallies two runs, giving the Braves a stunning comeback victory, 3-2 over the Pirates. The backup catcher had only three hits during the regular season.

Oct 13

ALCS Game One, 2017

Yankees at Astros, 5:00 PM PT, TV: FS1

The Yankees start RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA) on the road (6.48 ERA), where he was markedly worse than at home (3.22 ERA) this season. His opponent will be LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA), who’s 5-2 with a 1.24 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees, including a three-hit six-inning shutout in the 2015 Wild Card Game in which he got the win.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1960 At Forbes Field, Bill Mazeroski’s dramatic walk-off home run off Yankee hurler Ralph Terry breaks up a 9-9 tie, ending one of the most exciting seven game World Series ever played. Maz’s round-tripper remains the only home run ever to a win a World Series Game 7.

  • 2001 The Yankees, being down 2-0 in the best-of-five series, stave off elimination, beating the A’s and Barry Zito, 1-0, thanks to the shutout pitching by Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada’s fifth-inning home run. Shortstop Derek Jeter backing up an errant relay throw down the first base line and flipping it home to cut down Jeremy Giambi as the potential tying run will be remembered as one of the best defensive plays in postseason history.

Oct 12

NLDS Game Five, 2017

Cubs at Nationals, 5:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The Cubs ask Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.03 ERA) to be the stopper tomorrow in Game Five, while Dusty Baker and the Nats haven’t made their choice of pitcher known yet. It will likely be Tanner Roark, who was scheduled to start Game Four before the rain intervened, or Game Two starter Gio Gonzalez. Either way, it may be a low-scoring affair.

The pitchers have controlled the series for the most part; the Nationals’ staff has a 1.64 ERA over the first four games, while the Cubs pitchers have a combined 2.57 mark.

Update: it will be Gio Gonzalez. He pitched five innings of three-hit ball in Game Two.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1907 At Detroit’s Bennett Park, right-hander Mordecai ‘Three Fingers’ Brown throws a 2-0 shutout, beating the Tigers to capture the World Championship for the Cubs. Although Game 1 ended in a 3-3, 12-inning tie, Chicago becomes the first club to sweep a Fall Classic when the team wins the next four games.
  • 1929 The A’s, trailing 8-0 during Game 4 of the World Series, erupt for 10 runs in the seventh inning off three Cub pitchers en route to a 10-8 victory. Chicago’s Hack Wilson becomes one of the goats of the game when he loses two balls in the sun in center field.
  • 1949 Vin Scully, working his first broadcast ever, does the play-by play when Maryland defeats the Boston University at Fenway Park, 14-13. The football assignment marks the start the of a 67 year career in the broadcast booth for the Hall of Fame baseball announcer, who will be remembered as the iconic voice of the Dodgers.
  • 2012 The Nationals, twice within a strike of reaching the NLCS, suffer the worst collapse ever in a winner-take-all baseball postseason game when they are stunned by the visiting Cardinals. After his team takes a 6-0 advantage in the third inning and clings to a two-run lead with two outs in the ninth, Washington’s closer Drew Storen gives up four runs in the final frame, resulting in the eventual devastating 9-5 loss at Nationals Park.
  • 2015 The Cubs homer six times en route to an 8-6 victory over the Cardinals at Wrigley Field in the Game 3 of the NLDS. Chicago’s sextet of round-trippers, that included long balls from Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro, Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, and Jorge Soler, marks first time in postseason history that one team has recorded that many home runs in one game.
Oct 11

ALDS Game Five, 2017

Yankees at Indians, 5:00 PM PT, TV: FS1

Game Five doesn’t have the resonance Game Seven does, but it’s the end of the line for one of these teams. The Yankees have to feel pretty good that they’ve gotten this far after fighting through the Wild Card Game to get into the series, while the Indians are probably annoyed that they lost two straight in the Bronx after taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

The Yankees send C.C. Sabathia to the mound to face the Indians’ ace Corey Kluber. Again. This is a rematch of Game Two’s pitchers. In that game Kluber got knocked out early but the Indians came back from a five-run deficit and won in 13 innings. Sabathia gave the Yankees 5 1/3 innings and gave up four runs. The Indians also lost their slugger Edwin Encarnacion to an ankle sprain in the first inning and he hasn’t played since.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1948 In Game 6 of the Fall Classic, the Indians beat Boston at Braves Field, 4-3, to capture the team’s second World Series title in franchise history. Bob Lemon gets the win, with Gene Bearden pitching the final one and two-thirds innings to earn the save.
  • 1965 In Game 5, a 7-0 victory over the Twins at Dodger Stadium, Willie Davis becomes the second player to steal three bases in a World Series game. The L.A. center fielder joins Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner, who accomplished the feat on the same date 56 years ago against Detroit in Game 3 of the 1909 Fall Classic.
  • 1975 As the first host of Saturday Night Live, George Carlin compares baseball to football in the opening monologue of the ground-breaking show. The comedian jokes the national pastime a gentler game, portraying the sport as one which is pastoral and played in a park as opposed to football, in which the objective is to march downfield and penetrate enemy territory in a stadium.

  • 1999 An ailing Pedro Martinez, with both starters ineffective in the decisive Game 5 of the ALCS and the score tied at 8-8 in the fourth, enters the game and doesn’t yield another hit to the Indians for the next six innings. Troy O’Leary collects a grand slam and a three-run home run, both following an intentional pass to Nomar Garciaparra, contributing to the Red Sox’ 12-8 victory at Cleveland’s Jacobs Field.
Oct 10

NLDS Game Four, 2017

Nationals at Cubs, 2:30 PM PT, TV: TBS

This is the only game today, and it’s an elimination game for the Nats. They ask RHP Tanner Roark (13-11, 4.67 ERA) Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 2.52 ERA) to stop the Cubs, who have hardly been a juggernaut but have managed to get past excellent performances from the Nats’ aces Strasburg and Scherzer to take a 2-1 lead in the series. The Cubs counter with RHP Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53 ERA), who hurt a hamstring five weeks ago but had been 7-2 with a 1.79 ERA over the previous two months.

After much Sturm und Drang yesterday centered on Starsburg’s health and whether he was too queasy to pitch today on regular rest, apparently he recovered overnight. He’ll start today after all.

Yesterday in baseball history:

  • 1920 The Indians’ Bill Wambsganss becomes the only player in World Series history to complete an unassisted triple play when he makes a leaping catch, steps on second base, and then tags the [Dodger] runner arriving from first base. After the play, a dead calm engulfs Cleveland’s League Park as the hometown fans try to digest what they had just witnessed.
  • 1948 The largest crowd ever to attend a World Series game, 86,288 fans, jam into Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium to witness a showdown between two future Hall of Famers. Braves’ southpaw Warren Spahn beats Bob Feller and the Indians in Game 5 of the Fall Classic, 11-5.
  • 1968 Cardinal fireballer Bob Gibson sets the mark for total strikeouts (35) in a World Series, but loses the seventh and deciding game to ]Mickey Lolich and the] Tigers, 4-1.
  • 2009 The Dodgers advance to their second consecutive National League championship series, beating St. Louis 5-1 to complete a three-game sweep of the Redbirds in the NLDS. Solid pitching by late-season pick-up Vicente Padilla and timely hitting by Andre Ethier, who had three extra-base hits, and Manny Ramirez, who broke out of a slump with three hits and two RBIs, close out the series, which will be best remembered for the team’s dramatic Game 2 comeback when Matt Holliday’s error on James Loney’s ninth-inning two-out line drive leads to a stunning two-run walk-off rally.

Today in history:

  • 1978 Rookie right-hander Bob Welch strikes out Reggie Jackson with two men on base and two out in the top of the ninth inning, dramatically preserving a 4-3 Dodger victory over the Yankees in Game 2 of the Fall Classic. The relief performance will put the 21 year-old in the national spotlight.

Oct 08

ALDS Games Three, 2017

This applies to both of today’s games: Teams with 2-0 leads have won the series 66 times and lost nine.

First game: Astros at Red Sox, 11:30 AM PT, TV: FS1

The Astros try to close out the Sox today, sending RHP Brad Peacock (13-2, 3.00 ERA) to the mound to face the Red Sox’ RHP Doug Fister (5-9, 4.88 ERA). Peacock beat the Sox in his only appearance against them on September 28. He’s had no prior postseason experience. Fister lost to the Astros in his only start against them on September 29. He’s made eight postseason starts but none since 2014 with the Nats.

Second game: Indians at Yankees, 4:30 PM PT, TV: FS1

RHP Carlos Carrasco (18-6, 3.29 ERA) takes the hill for the Indians in the Bronx tonight. He’ll face the Yankees’ RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA). Carrasco has had the best year of his career, but what’s even more germane is that on the road as he’ll be tonight he’s 11-2 with a 2.65 ERA and a .210/.266/.336 opponents’ slash line. Similarly, Tanaka is 9-5 with a 3.22 ERA at home in Yankee Stadium, far better than on the road.

Today in baseball history: It’s the anniversary of Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game Five of the 1956 World Series. It’s also the date of Ernie Lombardi’s “Swoon” in 1939, when the Reds’ catcher was run over at home plate by Charlie Keller of the Yankees and was so dazed that Joe DiMaggio was able to score all the way from first before he recovered. And in 1959 the Dodgers beat the White Sox in Game Six to win the World Series. More at National Pastime.

Oct 07

NLDS Games Two, 2017

First game: Cubs at Nationals, 2:30 PM PT, TV: TBS

The visiting Cubs trot out veteran (133 2/3 playoff innings!) LHP Jon Lester (13-8, 4.33 ERA), who made two starts against the Nats this season and came away with no decisions but a 2.84 ERA. He’ll face LHP Gio Gonzalez (15-9, 2.86 ERA), who saw the Nationals just once this year; he gave up two hits and five walks over six innings and took the loss in June.

Second game: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The D-Backs send LHP Robbie Ray (15-5, 2.89 ERA) to the mound to face the Dodgers, three days after pitching 2 1/3 innings of relief and making 34 pitches in the Wild Card game. He’ll face LHP Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA), who was 0-3 with a 5.03 ERA in four starts against the D-Backs this season. That ERA was skewed by one bad game in which they scored six runs in 3 2/3 innings against him.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1952 In the decisive Game 7, the Yankees beat the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 4-2, to win their fourth consecutive World Championship. Gil Hodges finishes the Fall Classic hitless in twenty-one at-bats, which had prompted some Brooklyn fans to gather at local churches asking for divine help for their beloved first baseman.
  • 1977 In Game 3 of the NLCS, the Dodgers rally for three runs with none on and two outs in the top of the ninth inning to take a one-run lead in their eventual 6-5 victory over the Phillies at Veterans Stadium. The game appeared to be over when LA’s Davey Lopes is picked off first base for the final out, but a throwing error by Gene Garber advances him to second base, from where he will score the decisive run on Bill Russell’s single.
  • 1978 In Game 4 of the NLCS, Ron Cey scores in the 10th inning on Bill Russell’s two-out game winning single, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 victory over the Phillies and their second consecutive National League pennant. Cey, who walked after the first two batters were retired, advanced into scoring position when Garry Maddox misplayed Dusty Baker’s fly ball in center field.

  • 2001 Barry Bonds extends his major league record for home runs in a season to 73 as he drives a 3-2 first inning knuckleball off Dodger Dennis Springer over the right field fence. The blast also secures two more major league records for the Giants’ left fielder when he surpasses Babe Ruth (1920 – .847) with a .863 season slugging percentage and bests Mark McGwire (1998 – one HR every 7.27 AB) by homering in every 6.52 at-bats.
  • 2006 The Mets defeat Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium, 9-5, to complete a three-game sweep in the NLDS. The Dodgers have won only one postseason game in 13 attempts since beating the A’s in the 1988 World Series.

Lineup when available.

Oct 06

NLDS Games One

First Game:Cubs at Nationals, 4:30 PM PT, TV: TBS

The Cubs’ RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.03 ERA) faces off against RHP Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 2.52 ERA) of the Nationals. Hendricks started Games Three and Seven of last year’s World Series. In the final game he went 4 2/3 innings, gave up four hits and two runs and left without the decision. Strasburg didn’t pitch last postseason and famously sat out the 2012 playoffs as well. He made his only playoff start in 2014.

Second Game: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 7:30 PM PT, TV: TBS

The Diamondbacks used both of their aces in the Wild Card Game, so they’ll ask RHP Taijuan Walker (9-9, 3.49 ERA) to get them of on the right foot against the Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31). Walker was 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA against the Dodgers this season in three starts. Kershaw was 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA against the D-Backs this year. This will be Kershaw’s 18th playoff appearance; it will be Walker’s first.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1941 In Game 5 of the Fall Classic, Tiny Bonham goes the distance, limiting the Dodgers to just four hits to give the Yankees their 12th World Championship in franchise history. In one inning during the Bronx Bombers’ 3-1 victory at Ebbets Field, the New York fireballing right-hander will need just three pitches to retire the side.
  • 1949 In Game 2 of the World Series, only one run is scored again, but Preacher Roe and the Dodgers win this contest at Yankee Stadium, 1-0. Gil Hodges’ second inning single drives in Jackie Robinson to even up the Fall Classic at a game apiece.
  • 1959 The largest crowd ever to attend a major league game, 92,706 fans, watches a nail biter as White Sox hurler Bob Shaw beats Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, 1-0, in Game 5 of the Fall Classic.
  • 1963 The Dodgers complete a four-game World Series sweep of the Yankees as Sandy Koufax wins his second game, 2-1. Frank Howard leads the offense with a home run and a single, the only two hits Whitey Ford gives up, and New York’s first baseman Joe Pepitone’s error (loses a thrown ball in the white-shirted crowd) leads to the decisive run in the seventh inning.
  • 1965“Hey, skip, bet you wish I was Jewish today, too.” – Don Drysdale, commenting after the game about his poor performance on the mound with manager Walt Alston. Sandy Koufax declines to pitch the first game of the World Series against the Twins because the game is scheduled on Yom Kippur, the most sacred of the Jewish holidays. As the Dodger southpaw attends shul and fasts on the Day of Atonement, Don Drysdale gives up seven runs in three innings in the team’s 8-2 loss at Minnesota’s Metropolitan Stadium.
  • 1966 Jim Palmer becomes the youngest player to pitch a shutout in the World Series when the 20 year-old Oriole right-hander blanks Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, 6-0. The contest will become more memorable next month when Koufax surprises the baseball world by announcing his retirement, making this game his last major league appearance.
  • 1966 In the same Game Two loss to the Orioles at Dodger Stadium, Willie Davis establishes a World Series record by committing three errors in one game. The center fielder’s blunders come on two consecutive plays in the fifth inning, the first by losing a fly ball in the sun, then by dropping the next fly ball, followed by overthrowing third base.
  • 1980 In the 163rd game of the season, 35 year-old knuckleballer Joe Niekro earns his 20th victory, going the distance to defeat the Dodgers, 7-1, in the winner-take-all contest for the NL West. With the win, the Astros hold on to capture their first title in the 19-year history of the franchise after losing a season-ending three game series to LA, (3-2, 2-1, and 4-3) that forced the one-game playoff.

Lineup when available.

Oct 06

ALDS Games Two, 2017

First Game: Red Sox at Astros, 11:00 AM PT, TV: FS1

The Red Sox ask LHP Drew Pomeranz (17-6, 3.32 ERA) to stop the Astros in his first playoff start. He appeared out of the bullpen for the Sox last year. The ‘Stros counter with LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA). Pomeranz beat the Astros last Sunday, allowing three hits and one run in six innings. Keuchel has faced the Red Sox three times in his career, two of them starts, and has a 9.88 ERA to show for it.

Second Game: Yankees at Indians, 2:00 PM PT, TV: MLBN (subject to blackout)

The Yankees ask hulking LHP C.C. Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA) to throw a spanner into the Indians’ works in Game Two. He’ll face Cy Young Award front-runner RHP Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.25 ERA), whose record since June 1 is startling: 15-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 23 starts. This is a storyline the writers like: former Indians ace Sabathia (c. 2008) versus current ace Kluber. Kluber started against the Yankees twice in August and gave up just three runs on six hits with 18 strikeouts in 17 innings. Sabathia made 27 starts this year but didn’t face the Indians. He has a ton of postseason experience: he’s made 18 starts and gone 9-5 with a 4.53 ERA.

On this date in baseball history Babe Ruth became the first man to hit three HRs in a single game in the World Series in 1926. He did it again in 1928. In 1945 William Stanis cursed the Cubs because they wouldn’t allow his ticket-holding billy goat Murphy into Wrigley Field for Game Four of the World Series. October 6 is also the anniversary of “the midge game” in Cleveland, when rookie reliever Joba Chamberlain was so distracted by the bugs that he threw a wild pitch which allowed the Indians to tie Game Two of the ALDS in 2007.

Oct 05

ALDS Games One, 2017

First Game: Red Sox at Astros, 1:00 PM PT, TV: MLBN

Boston got LHP Chris Sale last offseason for precisely this moment: to pitch Game One of a playoff series. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA this season, striking out 308 along the way. This is his first postseason start. He’ll face RHP Justin Verlander, who came to the Astros from the Tigers at the trade deadline, waiving a no-trade clause to do so. He was 15-8 with a 3.36 ERA between his two teams, and he’s been in the postseason a lot; this will be his 17th playoff start.

Second Game: Yankees at Indians, 4:30 PM PT, TV: FS1

The Yankees start RHP Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 ERA), whom they got from the As at the trade deadline. He wasn’t quite as good (4-7) for them as he had been for his former team (6-5), but he’s had two postseason starts in his past. He’ll face RHP Trevor Bauer (17-9, 4.19 ERA), a surprise starter over their Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber.

Today in baseball history: From Mickey Owen’s passed ball to Al Gionfriddo’s catch to Mickey Mantle’s knee injury to Glenn Burke’s invention of the high five, a lot has happened on the fifth day of October in baseball.