Oct 21

ALCS Game Five, NLCS Game Four, 2015

American League game: Royals at Blue Jays, 1:00PM PT, TV: FS1

It’s an elimination game: down 3 games to 1, the Jays have to win or they’re done. This game is a rematch of pitchers from Game One: Edinson Volquez of the Royals and Marco Estrada of the Jays. Volquez is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA in this postseason and went six scoreless innings against the Jays in Game One. Estrada is also 1-1 in the postseason with a 3.09 ERA. He went 5 1/3 innings against the Royals in Game One, giving up six hits and three runs.

National League game: Mets at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

This one is also an elimination game: the Mets are one win away from going on the World Series. If the Cubs are to make the prediction in the movie “Back to the Future” come true, they have to win the next four games. The Mets send out lefty Steven Matz, making his first appearance in the NLCS after giving up three runs in five innings against the Dodgers in the NLDS. He’ll be opposed by Jason Hammel, also appearing for the first time in the NLCS after a short (four runs in three innings) outing against the Cardinals in the NLDS.

Oct 20

ALCS Game Four, NLCS Game Three, 2015

AL Game: Royals at Blue Jays, 1:00PM PT, TV: FS1

Two ex-Mets, right-handers and ex-teammates go at one another this afternoon. R.A. Dickey trots out his knuckleball for the Jays and Chris Young for the Royals.

NL Game: Mets at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

Two right-handers start against one another in Game Three of the NLCS too, but Jacob deGrom of the Mets has an extra year under his belt in the bigs. deGrom was Rookie of the Year last year; this season was Kyle Hendricks’ rookie one. deGrom was excellent in Game One of the NLDS and pitched well-enough-to-win in Game Five; Hendricks went 4 2/3 in Game Two of the Cubs’ NLDS win and was lifted after surrendering back-to-back home runs.

Oct 19

ALCS Game Three, 2015

Kansas City at Toronto, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The home team Jays hope Marcus Stroman can continue his good work in the postseason; he’s made two starts, struck out nine and posted a 3.46 ERA. Since they’re down 2-0 in the series, he’d better. The Royals ask Johnny Cueto to pitch like he did in Game Five of the ALDS (8 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs) rather than the way he did in Game Two (6 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs).

Oct 17

New Dodgers Notes

10/27: New Dodgers’ post up top

Buster Olney of ESPN offers up seven things the Dodgers should do this off-season.

  • Re-sign Zack Greinke, no matter how much he wants or how long he wants it for
  • Decide on Mattingly’s fate
  • Add another deluxe starting pitcher
  • Decide Puig’s fate.
  • Keep Howie Kendrick
  • Shore up the bullpen
  • Change the clubhouse culture

On Puig: Olney reports that on the day Puig started in the series against the Mets he caught the last bus from the hotel, he didn’t start the stretch period with the rest of the team and he didn’t take as many cuts in the batting cage as usual. He thinks the Dodgers need to decide whether Yasiel’s “quirks” can be lived with and if so, they need to get the other players to learn to live with them too.

Well, maybe. From what we’ve read in the media Puig does seem to have a little trouble with clocks, but he’s shown nothing to me that would indicate he’s not a team player.

On clubhouse culture: He says some players felt “unsettled because for others besides Kershaw and Adrian Gonzalez and a handful of others, there was no sense about who might be headed out the door and who might arrive. Some players spoke about a diminished sense of investment in each other.” Olney then says the Giants, Cardinals and Pirates all exude mutual respect and esprit de corps, and the Dodgers don’t have it.

Who’s to say? He’s certainly in a better position to know that than am I. I can certainly understand if some of the everyday players whose names no one but fans know might feel like they’re parts to be slotted in from day-to-day.

If you’ve got an Insider account at ESPN you can read the whole thing.

10/27: New Dodgers’ post up top

Oct 16

ALCS Game One, 2015

Blue Jays at Royals, 4:30PM PT, TV: Fox

After two five-game division series, neither team has its best pitcher available for Game One. Tonight the Jays send Marco Estrada to the hill. He started Game Three of their half of the ALDS when the Jays were down 0-2 and had to win; he went 6 1/3 innings and allowed the Rangers only one run. He’ll face old friend Edinson Volquez, who went 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs to the Astros in Game Three of the other half of the ALDS, losing to Dallas Kuechel.

For added drama, two and a half-months ago the Royals and Blue Jays played a game that featured three hit-by-pitches, three ejections, several other up-and-in fastballs and one benches-clearing incident. Whether there are any hard feelings I leave to your imagination.

Prospective rotations: The Blue Jays will start David Price, Marcus Stroman and R.A. Dickey in Games 2-4, respectively. Kansas City will counter with Yordano Ventura in Game 2 and Johnny Cueto in Game 3.

Oct 15

NLDS Game Five, 2015

Mets at Dodgers, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

“This one’s for all the marbles.” “Win or go home.” “There’s no tomorrow for one of these teams.”

Those are clich├ęs for a reason: they’re all true. Banal, trite, and eye-roll inducing, but true.

The Dodgers ask Zack Greinke to do what he’s done all year: hold the other team to fewer than three runs as he did in all but two starts and score more than that themselves. The Dodgers will have to get those runs off Jacob deGrom, who’s got a 3.66 ERA in three regular season starts against them, which shows he can be reached. In Game One, though, he was nearly unhittable, striking out 13 in seven shutout innings.

Turner is probable to start while Grandal is 50-50.

Lineup when available.

Defense, defense! That’s the goal of this lineup, as Mr. Weisman sees it.

Oct 14

ALDS Games Five (really!), 2015

ALDS Early game: Texas at Toronto 1:00PM PT, TV: FS1

This is a rematch of the starters from the 14-inning Game Two of the series: Cole Hamels for the Rangers and Marcus Stroman for the Blue Jays. Hamels gave up four runs (two earned) on six hits, striking out six and walking none in seven innings. Stroman also went seven innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits, striking out five and walking two.

ALDS Late game: Houston at Kansas City, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Astros start Game One pitcher Collin McHugh. In that game he went six innings, gave up two runs on four hits, walked one and struck out one. The Jays send out Game Two starter Johnny Cueto, who had a rough start in that game but wound up going six innings, giving up seven hits and four runs while walking three and striking out five, retiring 12 of the last 14 batters he faced.

Oct 13

ALDS Games Five, NLDS Games Four, 2015

NLDS Early game: St. Louis at Chicago, 1:30PM PT, TV: TBS

Down two games to one, the Cardinals ask Game One starter John Lackey to keep them alive on three days rest. He was brilliant in Game One, going 7 1/3 innings, giving up two hits and no runs, walking one and striking out five. He’ll face Jason Hammel, who’ll be making his postseason debut. Hammel went 11 innings against the Cardinals during the regular season and gave up seven runs. He made four starts in September and averaged 4 1/3 innings in each one.

NLDS Late game: Dodgers at Mets, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

The Dodgers’ season rests once again on the shoulders of Clayton Kershaw, who will pitch on three days rest after throwing 112 pitches in a Game One loss on October 9. This will be the third postseason in a row in which he’s started a game on short rest. His opponent will be lefty Steven Matz, making his first start of the postseason. The rookie was 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in 6 regular-season starts.