Oct 16

NLCS Game Two, 2016

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Dodgers once again ask LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) to pull their bacon out of the fire or stop the bleeding or pick your cliché. He’s pitching on regular rest from his last start, as long as you don’t count his bullpen heroics in Game Five of the NLDS against him. He’ll face RHP Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA). Hendricks finished up strongly, going 7-1 with a 1.72 ERA in his last 11 starts. Like Lester, he’s been his best at Wrigley Field (9-2, 1.32). We know what Kershaw’s done, although his strikeout to walk ratio is still startling: he struck out 172 hitters while walking only 11 (one intentionally). That is a 15.6-1 ratio.

The visitors always want to steal a game in the other team’s home park. The Dodgers had a shot at it last night but failed. They’re hoping they can do it tonight.

Interesting note: the Cubs didn’t face any of the Dodgers’ three most likely starting pitchers in this series during the regular season. Kershaw faced them twice in 2015, beating him at Wrigley and losing at Dodger Stadium.

Lineup:

Oct 15

NLCS Game One, 2016

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

I’m pretty sure when RHP Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA) signed with the Dodgers last off-season he didn’t expect to be starting Game One of the NLCS. Nonetheless, that’s what he’s doing. He’ll face LHP Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) of the Cubs. Yes, another lefty. Maeda started Game Three against the Nats in the NLDS and gave up four runs on five hits in three innings. Lester started Game One of the other NLDS against the Giants and threw eight shutout innings to pick up the win.

We all know the history here: the Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since 1988, but that pales in comparison to the Cubs, who haven’t made it to a Series since 1945 and haven’t won one since 1908. What more needs to be said?

In case you missed it, yesterday Orel Hershiser posted this:



I don’t know why Twitter isn’t posting those in normal format. Click the Pic link to see the Dodgers’ roster for the NLCS.

Someone post the lineup when it’s up; I’ll be dining out at game time (what was the committee thinking)?

Oct 11

NLDS Elimination Game(s), 2016

Nationals at Dodgers, 2:00PM PT, TV: FS1

To extend their season the Dodgers have decided to go with Clayton Kershaw on short rest. He’s done this three other times in the postseason and put up a 1.89 ERA. However, those other times he hadn’t spent two months of the season on the DL with a bad back. We shall see. His opponent will be RHP Joe Ross (7-5, 3.43 ERA). More preview here from ESPN.

Lineup:


Cubs at Giants, 5:30PM PT, TV: FS1

The Cubs go with RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) against the Giants’ LHP Matt Moore (13-12, 4.08 ERA). Lackey is a postseason veteran who’s got an 8-5 record with a 3.11 ERA over 127 1/3 postseason innings. This will mark the 16th playoff series for him. Moore has given up two runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts, so he’s on his game.

Oct 10

NLDS & ALDS Games Three, 2016

Nationals at Dodgers, 1:00PM PT, TV: MLBN

The Dodgers hand the ball to “rookie” RHP Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA) and ask him to hold the Nats at bay while they solve the lefthanded servings of Gio Gonzalez (11-11, 4.57 ERA). Maeda has never pitched in the postseason; he pitched for the Hiroshima Carp in the Japanese league, and it hasn’t made it above third place since 2000. He was the only Dodger starter who never missed a start the entire season, and the Dodgers were 19-13 when he took the mound. Gonzalez had a horrible year for him: he’d never had an ERA above 3.79 in his previous four years with the Nationals. The team went 14-18 in games he started.

Lineup when available.


ALDS Game Three between the Indians and Red Sox starts at 3:00PM PT and can be seen on TBS. It features RHP Josh Tomlin for the Indians and RHP Clay Buchholz for the Sox. See the previous post for further details about the pitchers.

NLDS Game Three between the Cubs and Giants starts at 6:30PM PT and can be seen on FS1. It features the reigning Cy Young winner RHP Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA) against LHP Madison Bumgarner (15-9, 2.74 ERA). Bumgarner is 5-1 with a 0.79 ERA in 68 2/3 innings over his last nine postseason appearances dating back to 2012. Arrieta’s gone 7-6 with a 4.44 ERA in his last 16 starts, and his last time out he allowed seven runs on 10 hits at Pittsburgh.

Oct 09

NLDS Game Two, ALDS Games Three, 2016

Dodgers at Nationals, 10:00AM PT, TV: FS1

After a rainout the NLDS series between the Dodgers and Nationals resumes with the Dodgers up one game to none. The starters will be the same as were scheduled for Saturday’s game before the rains came: LHP Rich Hill for the Dodgers and RHP Tanner Roark for the Nats. See the previous post for further details about their respective seasons.

ALDS Game Three, Indians at Red Sox, 1:00PM PT, TV: TBS

The Series moves to Fenway Park in Boston for Game Three with the Red Sox down two games to none. The Indians start RHP Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA), who had a horrid August (11.48 ERA) and then filled in admirably as two starters went down with injuries in September, posting a 1.40 ERA in the last month of the season. He’ll face RHP Clay Bucholz, who had a weird year himself. In his first 18 appearances he put up a 5.91 ERA and was temporarily moved to the bullpen. He came back strong in his last six starts, going at least six innings and giving up two runs or fewer in five of them.

ALDS Game Three, Rangers at Blue Jays, 4:30PM PT, TV: TBS

This Series moves to Rogers Center (formerly Skydome) in Toronto with the home team up two games to none. The Rangers send RHP Colby Lewis (6-5, 3.71 ERA) to the hill to face the Jays’ RHP Aaron Sanchez (15-2, 3.00 ERA). Lewis has made nine postseason appearances, eight of them starts, and put up a 2.38 ERA in those games while going 4-1. He didn’t do well in the last half of the season, though: he lost three months with a strained right lat muscle and went 0-4 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts after rejoining the rotation on Sept. 11. This was Sanchez’s first year as a starter and it was spectacular. He finished strongly, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his last three outings. He made nine relief appearances in last year’s playoffs and didn’t allow an earned run in 7 1/3 innings.

Oct 08

NLDS Games Two, 2016

Update:


Dodgers at Nationals, 1:00PM PT, TV: FS1; Radio: ESPN

The Dodgers ask mid-season acquisition LHP Rich Hill (12-5, 2.12 ERA) to win Game Two. He’ll face RHP Tanner Roark (16-10, 2.83 ERA). Hill made six starts for the Dodgers and had a 1.83 ERA to show for them, even with his finger blisters. Roark was a good starter for the Nats in 2014, his first season in the big leagues, finishing 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA. In 2015 he was forced into the long man/spot starter role when the Nationals acquired starter Matt Scherzer from the Tigers. This season Jordan Zimmerman was gone from the rotation due to free agency, so Roark reclaimed his role as a full-time starter.

Lineup when available.

Giants at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1; Radio: ESPN

The Giants ask RHP Jeff Samardzija (12-11, 3.81 ERA) to stop the Cubs from taking a 2-0 lead in the NLDS. The Cubs will counter with Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA). Samardzija spent the first nine years of his MLB life in the Cubs’ organization until he was traded to the As in 2014. Oddly, Hendricks essentially replaced Samardzija in the Cubs rotation that season, as he made his first start for them five days after Samardzija was traded away.

Oct 07

Divisional Series AL Games Two, NL Games One, 2016

Beginning at 10:00AM PT, there are four Division Series games on tap this Friday. First is Game Two of the Blue Jays-Rangers series, then at 1:30PM PT it’s Game Two of the Red Sox-Indians series. Next at 2:30PM PT is Game One of the Dodgers-Nationals NLDS, and then to close the day out Game One of the Giants-Cubs NLDS begins at 6:00PM PT.

Toronto at Texas, TV: TBS, SportsNet

The Jays start LHP J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA), who ended the season with a rush, putting up a 2.35 ERA over his last five starts. He’ll face RHP Yu Darvish (7-5, 3.41 ERA), who’s 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA in seven starts against Toronto. Darvish finished strongly too, allowing one run and five hits with 21 strikeouts in 13 innings in wins over the A’s and Rays to end his regular season.

Boston at Cleveland, TV: TBS

The Red Sox send LHP David Price (17-9, 3.99 ERA) to the hill to face RHP Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA). Price has been an ace everywhere he’s pitched, but in the postseason he’s been unable to replicate his regular season performances. He’s 2-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 14 career postseason appearances, with both of those wins coming in relief. Kluber skipped his last scheduled start with a tight quadriceps and has had ten days of rest.

San Francisco at Chicago, TV: FS1

The Giants ask RHP Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79 ERA) to pick up where Bumgarner left off in the Wild Card game, which might not be unthinkable: Cueto’s last start in the postseason was a complete game 1-0 shutout of the Mets in the 2015 World Series. He closed the season with a 4-0 record and 1.78 ERA in five starts in September. His opponent will be LHP Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA), who’s had plenty of postseason experience himself, going 6-6 with a 2.85 ERA in 16 games, 14 of which were starts. He finished the season with a flourish, going 9-1 with a 1.46 ERA in his last 12 starts.

Los Angeles at Washington, TV: FS1. Announcer Kenny Albert with Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci serving as analysts and Jon Paul Morosi contributing reports. Radio: ESPN. Dave O’Brien does play-by-play and Jim Bowden is the analyst.

The Dodgers send LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) to the mound to make his tenth postseason start. He’s had bad luck in previous playoff appearances, going just 2-6 with an ERA of 4.59 in his career. He spent two months on the disabled list this year but came back to go 1-2 with a 1.29 ERA in the five starts he made in September and October. He’ll face RHP Max Scherzer (20-7, 2.96 ERA), who’s gone 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA in twelve postseason appearances, all with Detroit. The Nationals have some serious injury worries which may have an impact on this series: C Wilson Ramos is out for the year, P Stephen Strasbourg won’t pitch until the next round if Washington gets that far, 2B Daniel Murphy has made one game appearance since September 20 and RF Bryce Harper has both a jammed left thumb and a sore neck.

Lineup:


Oct 06

ALDS Games One

Toronto at Texas, 1:30PM PT, TV: TBS

The Blue Jays and Rangers don’t like each other much, as shown by the fistfight between Rougned Odor and José Bautista back in May, which followed Bautista’s seventh-inning bat flip in Game Five of last year’s ALDS. They resume the argument tonight with LHP Cole Hamels (15-5, 3.32 ERA) on the hill for the Rangers and RHP Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.48 ERA) for the Jays.

Boston at Cleveland, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

The Red Sox send out RHP Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.15 ERA) to face RHP Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.26 ERA) at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Porcello had a stellar second half, putting up a 2.62 ERA with 92 strikeouts and only 11 walks. Bauer had an excellent first half, putting up a 3.30 ERA prior to the All-Star break, but his last six starts have been less than optimal as he posted a 6.39 ERA.

Oct 04

2nd Wild Card Games

Tonight’s game: Orioles at Blue Jays, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

With nearly 500 home runs between them this season, these teams will probably give us a 2-1 nailbiter instead. The Orioles send RHP Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.77 ERA) out to do battle with the Jays’ RHP Marcus Stroman (9-10, 4.37 ERA).

Stroman led all qualified starters in MLB with a 60.1 percent ground-ball rate; nobody’s saying so, but it may be the Jays are hoping he can keep the Orioles from hitting long fly balls for homers. Tillman had a 1-0 mark and a 3.63 ERA in four starts against Toronto.

Tomorrow night’s game: Giants at Mets, 5:00PM PT, TV: ESPN

The Giants send LHP Madison Bumgarner (15-9, 2.79 ERA) to the mound at Citi Field to face the Mets’ RHP Noah Syndergaard (14-9, 2.60 ERA). The Mets were hot coming down the stretch: they had a .643 winning percentage from Sept. 1 on. Conversely, the Giants were awful the entire second half of the season: they were 30-42 after the All-Star break.