I know, I know, nobody cares. Well, in the interest of full documentation, I’m putting up a post about these games anyway.
Giants at Cardinals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox
Jake Peavy for the Giants, Lance Lynn for the Cardinals. The Cardinals need to win to even the series at a game apiece. Peavy is 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts with the Giants this year after going 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA with the Red Sox. Lynn was 15-10 for the second year in a row while shaving his ERA from 3.97 to 2.74.
Here. This may brighten your day.
Royals at Orioles, 10:00AM HST/1:00PM PT, TV: TBS
In Game One the Royals reversed conventional wisdom and hit three home runs while stealing no bases. The Orioles did the opposite, stealing two bases and hitting no home runs. The two teams go at each other again Saturday afternoon with the Royals leading the series 1-0. Pitching for the Royals will be Yordano Ventura, who went seven innings against the Angels in the Division Series on Friday, surrendering five hits and one run while striking out six. Ventura’s career record against the Os is 0-1 with 17 strikeouts and a 1.26 ERA. His opponent will be Bud Norris, who pitched 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball against the Tigers in the final game of the ALDS, giving up two hits and striking out six. He was a hard-luck loser against the Royals in May, giving up one run in 7 1/3 innings.
Giants at Cardinals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox
Madison Bumgarner and Adam Wainwright are the two horses of their respective staffs. The Giants did well against Wainwright this season, roughing him up twice, including May 30 at home when they got to him for seven earned runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. Bumgarner split two decisions against the Cardinals this year.
The teams are pretty even. Look at these numbers:
The similarities in the Giants and Cards are reflected in regular-season pitching numbers that are close to identical. Both teams finished with 3.50 team ERAs and eight complete games. The Cards, with 1,221 strikeouts, racked up 10 more than the Giants’ staff. Hitters batted .242 against the Cards, .241 against the Giants.
Royals at Orioles, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: TBS
We have all read this a lot: “Baltimore hasn’t reached the Fall Classic since 1983; Kansas City last made it to the playoffs in 1985.” (Trivia: who did Baltimore play in 1983? Who did the Royals play? What were the results?)
That 1983 Series was broadcast on ABC. The announcers? Al Michaels, Howard Cosell and Earl Weaver, who had retired as manager of the Os after the 1982 season.
In 1985 ABC had the Series again, but Cosell was removed from the broadcast team because his recent book had criticized everybody he’d ever worked with. In his place was Tim McCarver, making his first World Series broadcasting appearance.
To today’s game, then. The Orioles start Chris Tillman, who was 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA during the regular season and 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in the ALDS against the Tigers. He went five innings in that game, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and striking out 6. The Royals go with James Shields, 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA in the regular season and 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in the ALDS against the Angels. He went six innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and striking out 6. Both teams have excellent bullpens and their managers are unafraid to use them.
The conventional narrative for this series seems to be “Royals run, Orioles bash.” We’ll see.
Nationals at Giants, 2:00PM PT, TV: MLBN
The Nats have their backs against an 0-2 hole and need both a good outing from Doug Fister and some luck in order to beat the Giants and Madison Bumgarner. Fister has plenty of postseason experience, as does Bumgarner. The Nationals may start Ryan Zimmerman for the first time in the playoffs after two pinch-hitting appearances, which would add a potentially stronger bat to the lineup in left field and allow Bryce Harper to move to center, while putting the light-hitting Denard Span on the bench.
Dodgers at Cardinals, 6:00PM PT, TV: Fox Sports 1
The Dodgers rest their hopes on Hyun-Jin Ryu, who hasn’t pitched for nearly a month while resting a shoulder. Based on a simulated game he threw last Wednesday and two bullpen sessions, they think he’ll be fine. The Cardinals hope that the John Lackey who’s been a star during previous postseasons with the Angels and Red Sox is the one who shows up today, rather than the guy who went 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA after they acquired him at the trading deadline.
Orioles at Tigers, 12:30PM PT, TV: TBS
The Tigers, down 2-0 in a five-game series, send out David Price, their mid-season acquisition who was 4-4 with a 3.59 ERA after coming over from the Rays at the trade deadline this summer. The Orioles ask Bud Norris (15-8, 3.65 ERA) to close out the series.
Price needs to go really really deep in this game, because the Tigers’ bullpen has been awful so far.
Angels at Royals, 4:30PM PT, TV: TBS
The Angels, down 2-0 in a five-game series, send out C.J. Wilson in the hope he can stop the unlikely juggernaut that is the Royals, while the KC team sends James Shields to the hill and asks him to put an end to the Angels’ frustration.
The history of teams falling behind 2-0 and coming back to win three straight is short: it’s only happened five of the 44 times it’s happened. But the Angels have had 13 winning streaks of three or more this year, so they and their fans are hanging their hopes on that.
Giants at Nationals, 2:30PM PT, TV: Fox Sports 1
After winning Game One the Giants hope Tim Hudson (9-13, 3.57 ERA; 1-3, 3.46 ERA postseason) can keep the momentum going. They’re facing Jordan Zimmermann (14-5, 2.66 ERA; 0-1, 11.25 ERA postseason), and all he did his last time out was pitch a no-hitter for his fourteenth win.
The Giants have won nine straight postseason games. The record is twelve, held by the Yankees (twice), the As and the Red Sox.
Cardinals at Dodgers, 6:30PM PT, TV: MLBN
The Dodgers have to shrug off yesterday’s stunning loss and regroup, and they’ll send Zack Greinke (17-8, 2.71 ERA; 2-2, 4.30 ERA postseason) out to face Lance Lynn (15-10, 2.74 ERA; 5-4, 4.81 ERA postseason).
Giants at Nationals, 12:00PM PT, TV: FS1
The Giants start 13-year veteran Jake Peavy, the mid-season acquisition who was 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA for the Red Sox but 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA when he got back to the National League with the Giants. Their ace, Bumgarner, pitched and won the wild card game on Wednesday and won’t be available until Game 3 of this series on Monday. The Nationals have had their rotation set for two weeks, and tomorrow they start Stephen Strasburg, who was 14-11 with a 3.14 ERA this season. He’ll be making his postseason debut; in a controversial move the Nats’ management shut him down before the season ended in 2012, the last time the Washington team made the playoffs. (They missed the wild card by four games last season, and Strasburg was recovering from Tommy John surgery anyway).
Cardinals at Dodgers, 3:30PM PT, TV: FS1
Clayton Kershaw vs. Adam Wainwright. The best pitching matchup of any of these four series. We could see a double no-hitter.
Can Molina stop Dee Gordon and the other Dodger base stealers? Can the Dodgers keep from going into another hitting slump like they did last year?
We’ll find out this afternoon.
Tigers at Orioles, 9:00AM PT, TV: TBS
Down one game to none, Detroit sends the second of their three former Cy Young winners, Justin Verlander, out to stop the Orioles and their third-year big leaguer Wei-Yin Chen. Chen was 16-6 with a 3.54 ERA in the regular season, while Verlander had an uncharacteristically bad year, going 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA.
If Detroit loses, they’re in serious trouble. They’d be down 0-2 in a five-game series, and only five times in 44 tries has a team in that position turned the series around and won.
Royals at Angels, 6:30PM PT, TV: TBS
The Royals, fresh off two extra-inning wins, ask rookie Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.20 ERA) to keep their streak going. The Angels, in an 0-1 hole, ask star rookie Matt Shoemaker (16-4, 2.94 ERA) to plug the dike and send the series to Kansas City tied at one game apiece.
The same caveat applies to the Angels as to the Tigers: if they go down two games to none their chances of winning the five-game series are pretty bad.
Tigers at Orioles, 2:30PM PT, TV: TBS
Royals at Angels, 6:00PM PT, TV: TBS
The Os-Tigers matchup appears at first to come down to whether the Tigers’ pitching, starting with Max Scherzer tonight, can hold down the Orioles’ penchant for home runs (they were the only team to hit over 200 dingers this season in either league). Chris Tillman starts for the Orioles.
The hook for the Angels-Royals game tonight is that the starters were college teammates at Long Beach State back in 2004 and took the 49ers to the Super Regionals in the runup to the College World Series. The Angels send out Jared Weaver while the Royals counter with Jason Vargas.
Giants at Pirates, 8:07PM ET, TV: ESPN
The Giants send out Madison Bumgarner and his 18-10, 2.98 ERA to face the Pirates’ Edinson Volquez, who was 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA during the regular season. Bumgarner only faced the Pirates once this season and it was a forgettable outing. On July 28 he gave up five earned runs on six hits in four innings. Volquez (who was briefly a Dodger last season, you may recall) didn’t face the Giants this season, and he’s had minimal success against them over the past few years: he’s winless in nine starts against the Giants since beating them twice in 2008. He’s had a renaissance this season with the Pirates, though.
The Pirates have the second-best home record in all of baseball: they’re 51-30, one back of the Angels’ 52-29. To counter that, the Giants’ Bumgarner has an 11-4 record and a 2.22 ERA in 18 starts away from AT&T Park.
For further discussion of the matchups, I again refer you to Bleacher Report. That’s the same post I linked to yesterday; just scroll down to see the National League discussion.