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.

Oct 02

Goodbye, Vin, and thanks for all the fish

The Dodgers’ legendary broadcaster Vin Scully called his last game today in San Francisco. The Bay Area did itself proud in paying tribute to him and to his 67-year career.

That plaque on the wall reads in part “Vin Scully’s Final Broadcast.” It’s inside the visitors’ broadcast booth at AT&T Park in San Francisco, and the two gentlemen are Willie Mays and Vin Scully. Vin has always said Willie was the best player he ever saw.

The crowd in the Giants’ park gave him a rousing welcome and ovation when he arrived in the broadcast booth:

And then he said goodbye

and flew off into the sunset with a friend also named Scully:

Thank you, Vin. I first heard you in 1959 or 1960 when my family moved to Westwood, Ca. I scored games in spiral notebooks as you and Jerry Doggett called them from distant places like St. Louis and Milwaukee and Philadelphia as well as right across town in the Coliseum. When I went to the nearest Union 76 station the portraits I got for free represented more than just my imagination, for you had made the players and the games real.

We moved across country after the 1962 season and I rarely heard you for twenty years until my work took me back to Los Angeles in the mid-1980s. I’ll never forget the first night I was back in that city hunting for the Dodgers’ game on the radio and hearing your voice again, a little older and with an additional partner (Ross Porter). It was wonderful.

For the last twenty years the local cable company has carried the Dodgers’ games on either Prime Ticket or the newer Sports Net Los Angeles channels and Scully has done all the home games and until recently away games west of the Rockies, so I’ve had the great pleasure of hearing him even more than I did when I was a kid.

What the hell, the man’s 88 years old. He’s entitled to retire.

Thanks, Vin, for the highlights and the joy as well as the reminder when the team failed that there was always another game next day or next year. Enjoy your retirement with Sandi.

Oct 02

Game 162, 2016

Last game of the regular season, and it has some importance for the home team Giants.

The Giants can claim the second wild-card spot in the National League and a one-game showdown with the New York Mets in the Big Apple on Wednesday with either a win Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers or a St. Louis Cardinals loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cardinals can still force a one-game wild-card tiebreaker against the Giants on Monday in St. Louis with a win Sunday and a San Francisco loss.

As a result of Saturday’s loss the Dodgers locked themselves into the No. 3 seed in the NL playoffs. The second-seeded Nationals, winners of the NL East, have the home-field advantage in the best-of-five series. (The Cubs have the first seed).

Dodgers at Giants, 12:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KTLA, CS-BA, MLB.TV free game (out-of-market)

Kenta Maeda (16-10, 3.28 ERA) hopes to cap off an excellent MLB rookie season with his 17th win. He’s done very well against the Giants this year: 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA in three starts. He’ll face lefty Matt Moore (12-12, 4.21 ERA), who faced the Dodgers on September 21 and did not fare well: he gave up six runs on seven hits in one-plus innings.

Vin Scully will do all nine innings of the game, which will be simulcast on radio and TV in LA and in the Bay Area. It’s also going to be streamed live on MLB.com.

Lineup when available.