Oct 15

NLDS Game Two, 2017

Cubs at Dodgers., 4:30 PM PT, TV: TBS

Two grizzled lefties have at one another in Game Two: 33-year-old Jon Lester (13-8, 4.33 ERA) for the Cubbies and 37-year-old Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA) for the Dodgers. Lester is the active leader in postseason innings pitched with 143 1/3. He worked 9 2/3 innings in the NLDS against the Nationals, making one start and giving up only two runs for a 1.86 ERA. He’s 2-3 with a 3.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Dodgers. Hill gave up two runs on three hits in four innings against the D-Backs in Game Two of the NLDS. He’s only faced the Cubs twice in his career, once in 2011 and once last year in Game Three of the NLCS when he went six scoreless innings.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1946 In Game 7 of the World Series, the Cardinals beat the Red Sox, 4-3, when Enos Slaughter streaked home from first on Harry Walker’s single. The play surprises everyone, including cut-off man shortstop Johnny Pesky who hesitates, as legend has it, throwing the ball home.
  • 1970 Brooks Robinson is selected as the World Series Most Valuable Player after batting .429 (9/21) and driving in six runs during the five-game set against Cincinnati. The Orioles’ third baseman becomes the first player to be named the MVP in the Fall Classic, an All-Star game (1966), and for his league (AL-1964).
  • 1988 In his only plate appearance in the Fall Classic, a limping Kirk Gibson, appearing as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers in the ninth inning of Game 1, sends a two-out, 3-2 back-door slider from the A’s relief ace Dennis Eckersley over the right field fence. It’s the first time a World Series game is ever decided on a come-from-behind home run in the final inning.

Lineup when available.

Oct 14

NLCS Game One, 2017

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

The Dodgers will start LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA) in tonight’s game. It is still unclear who the Cubs’ starter will be as of Friday evening. It’s likely either John Lackey or Jose Quintana.

Update: It will be Quintana. He started and went 5 2/3 innings in Game Three of the NLDS against the Nats and gave up one unearned run on just two hits. He also threw 12 pitches to four hitters in relief in Game Five.

The Dodgers’ prized shortstop Corey Seager is day-to-day with a back issue, Manager Dave Roberts said.

Update: Seager is not on the official NLCS roster. More here:

“His back’s been barking since that Game 3 in Arizona, so we’re going to have him lay low,” manager Dave Roberts said on Friday. “A lot of what we’ve done even this season, just keep him off the field, helps the elbow and now with the back, so to keep him laying low. But we’re optimistic he’ll be fine day-to-day.”

Obviously that didn’t work. Culberson took his place on the roster, and with Hernandez and Taylor possibly needed to play shortstop as well, the Dodgers added Joc Pederson to the roster for outfield depth.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1969 Thanks to two great catches by Tommy Agee at Shea Stadium, the Mets beat the Orioles to take a 2-1 game lead in the World Series. The center fielder’s outfield heroics save the team at least five runs in the 5-0 victory over Baltimore.
  • 1985 Ozzie Smith provides one of the most memorable moments in Cardinals history by hitting a dramatic homer to win Game 5 of the NLCS. The round-tripper was the first left handed home run of the Wizard’s career, which spans 3009 major league at-bats. (“Go crazy, folks, go crazy!”)

  • 2003 Holding a 3-0 lead and needing only five more outs to go the World Series for the first time since 1945, the Cubs give up eight runs on five hits, three walks, and an error to the Marlins. The team appears to come apart after a fan, later identified as Steve Bartman, sitting along the left-field line at Wrigley Field, tries to catch a foul ball that was about to be caught by Chicago outfielder Moises Alou for the second out of the inning.

Lineup:

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 09

NLDS Games Three, 2017

First game: Nationals at Cubs, 1:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The series is tied at one. Today the Nationals send last year’s Cy Young winner RHP Max Scherzer (16-6, 2.51 ERA) to the hill to face the Cubs’ LHP Jose Quintana (11-11, 4.15 ERA). Scherzer’s first postseason appearance this year has been delayed while his right hamstring healed, but he and the doctors say he’s healthy now. He’s got a 2.92 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs. Quintana came over from the crosstown White Sox in July and was 7-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 14 starts for his new team. This will be his first postseason start and the first time he’ll face the Nats. Scherzer has made 14 appearances in the postseason (12 starts) but only two for the Nationals.

Second game: Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 7:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The Dodgers acquired RHP Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA) with the postseason in mind, and now it’s here. He’ll face ex-Dodger now D-Back RHP Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20 ERA). Darvish was 6-4 with a 2.44 ERA on the road this season, while Greinke was 13-1 with a 2.87 ERA at home. Darvish has made two postseason appearances in his career, both with Texas, and is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. Greinke has made ten postseason appearances and is 3-3 with a 3.92 ERA.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1949 During the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ 10-8 loss to the Yankees in Game 5, the Ebbets Field lights are turned on, making it the first time a World Series game has been played under artificial lights. The first scheduled Fall Classic night game will not take place until 1971, when the Pirates host Baltimore for Game 4 at Three Rivers Stadium.
  • 1966 For the second consecutive day, the Orioles win a World Series game, 1-0, in a contest decided by a home run when Frank Robinson takes a Don Drysdale pitch deep over the left field fence in the fourth inning. With the lone run being scored on a homer, for only the fifth time in the history of the Fall Classic, and the complete-game shutout thrown by Dave McNally, Baltimore completes a four-game sweep over the Dodgers.

Also, this is the anniversary of the Jeffrey Maier game in 1996 when he leaned over the wall and caught a Derek Jeter fly ball. It was ruled a home run despite clear evidence that he interfered with Baltimore outfielder Tony Tarrasco’s attempt to catch it.

In 2005 the Astros won the longest postseason game in history, beating the Braves in 18 innings on a Chris Burke walkoff home run to take the NLDS and advance to the NLCS.

Lineup when available.

Oct 09

ALDS Games Four, 2017

First game: Astros at Red Sox, 10:00 AM PT, TV: FS1

If the Astros win the series is over.

The Astros send out RHP Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) to face RHP Rick Porcello (11-17, 4.65 ERA) and the Red Sox. Porcello won the Cy Young Award last year, so he’s better than his record would indicate, Morton is a 10-year MLB veteran who had a career year.

Second game: Indians at Yankees, 4:00 PM PT, TV: FS1

It’s an elimination game for the Yankees. If the Indians win the series is over.

This is a rematch of Game One’s pitchers: Trevor Bauer for Cleveland and Luis Severino for New York. In that game Bauer gave up just two hits in 6 2/3 innings while Severino was done after giving up four hits, three runs and getting only one out.

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.