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.
Athletics vs. Royals, 8:07PM ET, TV: TBS
The As acquired Jon Lester to pitch big games like this one. The Royals did the same with James Shields.
The As were suddenly terrible after the trading deadline in July, and they were 10-16 in September. The Royals weren’t burning up the league either, but they did manage a winning record in the last month, going 15-12.
Bleacher Report has a comprehensive look at the matchups in this game (and the Pirates-Giants game tomorrow).
Update: Here is the full schedule of all championship series games. For some reason MLB and the TV networks are being coy about game times. Nobody seems to know beyond the first day, or else they’re just not telling.
Jon W. has the first two times for the Dodgers-Cardinals series:
Game 1 of the National League Division Series starts at 3:37 p.m. Friday, with Game 2 set for 6:37 p.m. Saturday.
Fox Sports 1 will televise Game 1; MLB Network will televise Game 2. Both games will be aired on ESPN Radio and KLAC AM 570.
I assume those are Pacific time.
Update: Pacific Time it is.
Here we go…
American League Central
The Tigers clinched the division with a 3-0 win over the Twins. Detroit will play Baltimore in the American League Division Series, with Game 1 at Camden Yards scheduled for Thursday on TBS.
The Royals, meanwhile, will host the AL Wild Card game against the A’s on Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. ET on TBS. The winner will head to Los Angeles to play Game 1 of the ALDS against the Angels on Thursday on TBS.
National League Central
The Cardinals clinched the division before they even took the field in Arizona because the Reds beat the Pirates, 4-1. St. Louis will face the Dodgers in the National League Division Series, with Game 1 at Dodger Stadium set for Friday on Fox Sports 1.
The Pirates will host the Giants in the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday at 8:07 p.m. on ESPN. The winner will face the Nationals in the NLDS. Game 1 of that series will be on Friday in Washington on Fox Sports 1.
American League Wild Card
The A’s clinched a playoff berth with a 4-0 victory over the Rangers to claim the second Wild Card. Oakland will head to Kansas City to take on the Royals in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday night at 8:07 p.m. on TBS.
Rockies at Dodgers 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KDOC-56
Greinke’s on the hill for four or five innings as a tuneup. Uribe’s managing. Kershaw’s the pitching coach. Ryu may be the bullpen coach “if he can get him to understand when he calls down,” Mattingly said.
The Rockies send out rookie Christian Bergman, who’s 3-4 with a 5.29 ERA in nine starts this season and coming off a win against the D-Backs in which he gave up two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Ryu is throwing bullpen today and Kershaw will throw a couple of innings in a simulated game. The Dodgers are feeling pretty hopeful that Ryu will be able to start Game Three of the NLDS on October 6.
If you’re interested in what has happened or is still happening elsewhere, here’s MLB’s live blog of the events in Cincinnati between the Pirates and Reds, in Texas between the As and Rangers, in Seattle between the Angels and Mariners, in Chicago between the Royals and White Sox, and in Detroit between the Tigers and Twins. What’s the big deal? Well, there’s a chance that there might be three, three! Game 163 tiebreakers required to settle the playoff seedings and even some of the participants. The possibilities are laid out in mind-numbing detail in that post.
Lineup when available.
Rockies at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KDOC-56
Nobody’s calling Dan Haren a hot young prospect anymore, unlike his opponent in today’s game, a right-hander named Eddie Butler. Haren’s luck against the Rockies throughout his career has been poor: he’s 7-9 with a 5.19 ERA in eighteen starts against them. He’ll be on a pitch count today, the team says. Young Mr. Butler made only his second big league start last Saturday and went six innings, giving up one run on five hits and a walk to the D-Backs.
Hun-Jin Ryu reported he felt fine after throwing off a mound for the first time in two weeks Friday. He only threw 20 pitches, though. He’s scheduled to throw a full bullpen session tomorrow. An aside: I’m not sure that’s going to be all that representative of his control or velocity, since as I understand it he doesn’t throw between starts, unlike his American-trained counterparts. We’ll have to see.
This is a mildly interesting bit of trivia:
The Dodgers will finish the season without a losing streak longer than three games, joining the 1988 (161 games) and 1924 (154) teams as the only ones in franchise history without a four-game losing streak in a season.
Their longest winning streak of the season was six, for comparison.
Lineup when available.
Update: If the Dodgers’ Twitter feed is to be believed, Clayton and Ellen Kershaw are expecting their first child. Less importantly, Jeremy Lin is going to throw out the first pitch.
Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
The Dodgers’ Roberto Hernandez is possibly pitching for a playoff roster spot with the Dodgers tonight. In his last four starts he’s gone no longer than 4 1/3 innings in any game and given up 11 runs in those 15 innings.
The Rockies will send out Jordan Lyles, who’s 7-3 with a 4.15 ERA on the year. On August 6 he returned from two months on the DL with a fractured hand, and he hasn’t gone longer than 6 1/3 innings in any start since then.
Dan Haren and Zack Greinke are scheduled to go this weekend for the Dodgers, but they may be on limited pitch counts or be scratched altogether, depending on how Mattingly wants to set up his rotation for the NLDS, which begins a week from today in LA. Hyun-Jin Ryu threw off a mound today for the first time since his shoulder inflammation flareup took him out of his start against the Giants on September 12.
Update: News from Phoenix: The D-Backs hired Dave Stewart to be GM, which means Matt Kemp will have to find another agent, and they fired Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell.
Woot! Justin Turner hitting cleanup!
Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ESPN, KDOC-56, CSN-BA
If the Dodgers win, they win the NL West. If the Giants win, they clinch a playoff berth. One way or the other one of these teams is going to be celebrating something after tonight’s game.
Most every sportswriter in the country and most fans as well are probably chalking up this game as a win for the Dodgers, what with Clayton Kershaw pitching for them tonight. Well, Tim Hudson is having a poor year, but he’s not chopped liver. He’s started 456 games in his 16-year career and won 214 of them (first among all active pitchers) while losing only 123, with a lifetime ERA of 3.45. However, in his last outing he went only 4 1/3 innings against the Padres, giving up four runs on seven hits. The start before that was against the Dodgers, and it was awful: six runs on eight hits in just one inning.
In personnel news, Mattingly thinks Hyun-Jin Ryu won’t be seen on the mound again until the playoffs.
Lineup when available.