Oct 22

LCS, Day Nine

Who’d a thunk it, but there’s a Game Seven in the NLCS today. The Giants have fought back to tie the series after being down three games to one, so today’s game is for all the marbles and a trip to the World Series. The Giants send out Matt Cain to do battle with the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse in a rematch of the starters for Game Three last week.

Oct 21

LCS, Day Eight

Game Six, Cardinals at Giants, 7:30PM Eastern, Fox. Cardinals lead the series three games to two. The starting pitchers are Chris Carpenter for the Cards and Ryan Vogelsong for the Jints; it’s a rematch of Game Two, which the Giants won 7 – 1 behind seven strong innings of 4-hit ball from Vogelsong. Carpenter was off his game in that one; he gave up five runs (only two earned) on six hits in only four innings.

It’s an elimination game again. The Giants have their backs against the wall, and Carpenter’s been a money pitcher for years in the postseason, Game Two notwithstanding. On the other hand, if the Giants should win, then they can bring Matt Cain back on Monday to face Kyle Lohse.

Oct 18

LCS, Day Six

After rain in the Midwest caused Game Four between the Yankees and Tigers to be postponed and Game Three between the Giants and Cardinals to be delayed for three-plus hours, various propitiations to the weather gods have undoubtedly been made by MLB. They’ll try again today.

The first game is Game Four in Detroit, with the Yankees trying to fend off elimination and the Tigers trying to close them out. The pitchers remain Sabathia for the Big Apple’s team and Scherzer for the team from Motown. It’s scheduled for 4:00PM Eastern on TBS.

The second game is Game Four in St. Louis at 8:00PM Eastern. The Cardinals took a two-games-to-one lead by winning yesterday, and they’ll pitch Adam Wainwright. The Giants counter with two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, who’s been excellent coming out of the bullpen in the playoffs after a forgettable regular season.

Each team’s 3-4-5 hitters are noticeable by their absence: The Giants’ Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence are 6-for-33 with one RBI. Not to be undercut, the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and Yadi Molina are 5-for-33 with no RBIs. Oh, and Carlos Beltran and his knee are day-to-day for the Cards; without him their lineup is even weaker.

Oct 17

LSC, Day Five

Update: The Yankees – Tigers game is postponed until tomorrow due to rain. The Giants – Cards game is delayed but is now scheduled to begin at 10:05PM Eastern, with the Cards at bat leading 3 – 1 in the bottom of the seventh, two out, men on second and third.

First up today: Giants v. Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis at 4:00PM Eastern on Fox. The Giants send out Matt Cain to do battle with Kyle Lohse. The series is tied at one game apiece.

Game two could be the end of the Yankees in the postseason. They’re down three games to none to the Tigers, and they’ll send out C.C. Sabathia to try to keep the Tigers and Max Scherzer at bay, hoping their hitters will start to, well, hit. The Yankees are hitting a collective .182 with five runs in three games. The game is at Comerica Park in Detroit at 8:00PM Eastern on TBS.

Oct 14

LCS, Day Two

Tiger at Yankees. Anibal Sanchez for the Tigers and old friend Hiroki Kuroda for the Yankees. I’m happy for Kuroda getting a chance to pitch in the LCS, but I hope he leaves with the game tied and the Yankees blow it after he’s out.

Oh, in case you haven’t heard, the Yankees have some guy named Jeter playing shortstop. He broke his ankle in the twelfth inning of last night’s game and he’s out for the year.

Cardinals at Giants. Madison Bumgarner for the Giants and Lance Lynn for the Cardinals. The teams split their six games during the regular season.

Update: David Pinto at Baseball Musings has excellent previews of these two series. Here’s the one for the Cardinals – Giants, and here’s the one for the Tigers – Yankees.

Oct 12

Division Series Day Seven

Jayson Werth :: Rob Carr/Getty Images

After yesterday’s heroics, we’ll see who has what left in the tank.

The first game today is Game Five between the Orioles and Yankees at 5:00PM Eastern on TBS. It’s a rematch between Game One starters Jason Hammel of the Os and C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees. However, Alex Rodriguez has been benched and Eric Chavez will start at third, so expect minutes of airtime to be wasted discussing that. It’s pretty clear that A-Rod hasn’t been hitting; he’s got nine strikeouts in sixteen at-bats. If it weren’t for the fact that he’s A-Rod with his $29M-per-season salary this would be of no news value at all.

The second game is Game Five between the Nationals and the Cardinals. The Game One starters are back for this game as well: Gio Gonzalez for the Nats and Adam Wainright for the Cards. The game starts at 8:30PM Eastern on TBS.

Oct 11

Division Series Day Six

First up today at 1:00PM Eastern, Giants – Reds in Game 5. Matt Cain for the Giants and Mat Latos for the Reds. Winner-take-all, do-or-die, lose-and-go-home: pick your cliché. The Giants’ bats have seemingly finally awakened (12 hits in the series’ first three games, 11 in Game 4). If that holds up the Reds may be in trouble. At least they’re in Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Update: Being at home did the Reds no good as Mat Latos surrendered six runs in the fifth inning, four on a grand slam by Buster Posey, and they couldn’t come back. The Giants win 6 – 4.

Game two today is in Washington at 4:00PM Eastern, Cardinals – Nationals, Game Four of their series with the Nationals down two games to one. It’s a must-win for the DC team, and they have to get production from more players than Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond. Today’s pitchers: Kyle Lohse for the Cards and Ross Detwiler for the Nats.

Update: Ex-Dodger Jayson Werth hits a walkoff solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Nats force a Game Five tomorrow, winning 2 – 1.

Today’s third game is at Yankee Stadium, Orioles – Yankees at 7:30PM Eastern. The Orioles call on Joe Saunders to help them get past that stunning loss in twelve innings yesterday, while the Yankees pitch Phil Hughes. The Yankees lead the series two games to one, so the Os have to win to push the series to five games.

Update: Holy cow, as Harry Caray would say. The Orioles won 2 – 1 in 13 innings on a double by Machado and a subsequent double by J.J. Hardy. That forces a Game Five Friday evening at 5:00PM Eastern in the Bronx.

The final game of the day is Game Five in Oakland, Tigers – Athletics. If you use experience as a guide you’d have to go with the Tigers in this one, since they’re putting Game One starter Verlander out there again. Can the As Jarrod Parker possibly repeat his performance in Game One, when he gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings? But, as Jim Leyland said last night after that improbable comeback by the As, “Yeah, well, it’s baseball,” Leyland said. “I mean, that’s why this is the greatest game of all. It looked like we were going to get it. We didn’t do it. We didn’t quite get the 27 outs. That’s part of the game.”

Amen to that.

Update: Verlander was just too good for the As. He shut them out 6 – 0 and the Tigers go on to the ALCS to face either the Orioles or the Yankees.

Oct 10

Division Series Day Five

Four games today, and the Washington – St. Louis one will be special if you care about the broadcasters. It’s on the MLB Network at 1:00PM Eastern, and Bob Costas and Jim Kaat will be in the booth. It’s been a long time since Costas last did a playoff game (for NBC in 1999), and the multiple Emmy-winning sportscaster has since moved to the MLB Network. This will be the first post-season game he’s done since that ’99 one. Kaat’s an Emmy-winning broadcaster in his own right. Oh, and if that’s not enough history, it’s the first postseason game in Washington since 1933.

The pitchers will be ex-Dodger, ex-Ray, ex-Tiger, ex-Diamondback, ex-White Sox, ex-Cardinal Edwin Jackson for the Nationals (10-11, 4.03 ERA) against Chris Carpenter (0-2, 3.71 ERA). Carpenter’s comeback from thoracic outlet syndrome is quite a story all of itself. He had surgery to repair it on July 19, yet here he is three months later pitching in the big leagues. The series is tied 1-1.

The second game of the day also starts at 4:00PM Eastern at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. It’s Game Four of the Giants – Reds series, and the Reds lead two games to one. The Giants will start Barry Zito with the entire bullpen in reserve for this must-win game. The Reds haven’t yet announced a starter. Game One starter Johnny Cueto is still injured, and it appears their options consist of Mat Latos on short rest or Mike Leake. Neither one is ideal. Latos pitched four innings in relief in Game One, and Leake was 8-9 with a 4.58 ERA for the season and would have to replace Cueto on the roster, meaning Cueto would be ineligible for the NLCS if the Reds get that far.

The third game of the day is Game Three between the Yankees and Orioles at Yankee Stadium, starting at 7:30PM Eastern. The starting pitchers are old friend Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32 ERA) for the Yankees and Miguel Gonzalez (9-4, 3.25 ERA). The two teams have played 20 times this season and each has won ten games.

The last game of the day is in Oakland at 9:30PM Eastern, where the Athletics play the Tigers in a do-or-die game. The Tigers lead the series two games to one. The As will trot out yet another rookie pitcher, A.J. Griffin (7-1, 3.06 ERA), while the Tigers counter with Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74 ERA).