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.

Oct 08

ALDS opening games, 2015

Early game: Rangers at Jays, 12:30PM PT, TV: FS1

Texas asks Yovani Gallardo (13-11, 3.42 ERA) to start its first post-season game in three years. He’ll face the Blue Jays’ David Price (18-5, 2.45 ERA and an even more brilliant 9-1, 2.30 ERA since becoming a Jay mid-season).

Both these teams are hot. The Blue Jays went 40-18 (.690) over the final two months; the Rangers went 38-22 (.633) over the same period.

Is history any guide?

Toronto won each of its two three-game series against Texas this year, leading to a 4-2 advantage in the overall season series. The teams last matched up Aug. 25-27 in Texas, where Toronto won the first two games and lost the finale.

Late game: Astros at Royals, 4:30PM PT, TV: FS1

The Astros send out Collin McHugh, (19-7, 3.89 ERA, and who knew the Astros had a 19-game winner?) to face the Royals’ Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08 ERA). That record’s a little misleading: Ventura was sent to the minors in July and almost instantly recalled as an injury replacement; since that time he’s gone 9-1 with a 3.10 ERA.

Offense?

The bottom-line offensive production of these two teams was virtually identical over 162 games. The Royals played in the tougher hitter’s park, but still it can’t get much closer than this. The Astros were sixth in the Majors in runs scored with 4.50 per game, while the Royals were seventh with an average of 4.47.