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 06

ALDS Games Two, 2017

First Game: Red Sox at Astros, 11:00 AM PT, TV: FS1

The Red Sox ask LHP Drew Pomeranz (17-6, 3.32 ERA) to stop the Astros in his first playoff start. He appeared out of the bullpen for the Sox last year. The ‘Stros counter with LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA). Pomeranz beat the Astros last Sunday, allowing three hits and one run in six innings. Keuchel has faced the Red Sox three times in his career, two of them starts, and has a 9.88 ERA to show for it.

Second Game: Yankees at Indians, 2:00 PM PT, TV: MLBN (subject to blackout)

The Yankees ask hulking LHP C.C. Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA) to throw a spanner into the Indians’ works in Game Two. He’ll face Cy Young Award front-runner RHP Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.25 ERA), whose record since June 1 is startling: 15-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 23 starts. This is a storyline the writers like: former Indians ace Sabathia (c. 2008) versus current ace Kluber. Kluber started against the Yankees twice in August and gave up just three runs on six hits with 18 strikeouts in 17 innings. Sabathia made 27 starts this year but didn’t face the Indians. He has a ton of postseason experience: he’s made 18 starts and gone 9-5 with a 4.53 ERA.

On this date in baseball history Babe Ruth became the first man to hit three HRs in a single game in the World Series in 1926. He did it again in 1928. In 1945 William Stanis cursed the Cubs because they wouldn’t allow his ticket-holding billy goat Murphy into Wrigley Field for Game Four of the World Series. October 6 is also the anniversary of “the midge game” in Cleveland, when rookie reliever Joba Chamberlain was so distracted by the bugs that he threw a wild pitch which allowed the Indians to tie Game Two of the ALDS in 2007.

Oct 05

ALDS Games One, 2017

First Game: Red Sox at Astros, 1:00 PM PT, TV: MLBN

Boston got LHP Chris Sale last offseason for precisely this moment: to pitch Game One of a playoff series. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA this season, striking out 308 along the way. This is his first postseason start. He’ll face RHP Justin Verlander, who came to the Astros from the Tigers at the trade deadline, waiving a no-trade clause to do so. He was 15-8 with a 3.36 ERA between his two teams, and he’s been in the postseason a lot; this will be his 17th playoff start.

Second Game: Yankees at Indians, 4:30 PM PT, TV: FS1

The Yankees start RHP Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 ERA), whom they got from the As at the trade deadline. He wasn’t quite as good (4-7) for them as he had been for his former team (6-5), but he’s had two postseason starts in his past. He’ll face RHP Trevor Bauer (17-9, 4.19 ERA), a surprise starter over their Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber.

Today in baseball history: From Mickey Owen’s passed ball to Al Gionfriddo’s catch to Mickey Mantle’s knee injury to Glenn Burke’s invention of the high five, a lot has happened on the fifth day of October in baseball.

Jun 14

Game 66, 2017

Dodgers at Indians, 4:10 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, Sportstime Ohio, MLBN (out-of-market only)

Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 3.28 ERA) goes for the Dodgers and Corey Kluber (5-2, 4.38 ERA) pitches for the Indians.

McCarthy credits much of his success this year (his ERA is at a five-year low) to a newfound reliance on his cutter. He’s now throwing one nearly 32 percent of the time, up from 13 percent the previous three seasons. “I noticed that even bad ones were better than they had been in the past,” McCarthy said. This will be Kluber’s third start since coming off the 10-day DL (lower back strain). In his last two starts he threw six innings in each game, with 18 strikeouts, three walks and just three runs allowed. Before his trip to the DL he gave up seven homers in six starts; he hasn’t given up one since he came back from it.

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 2003 After being activated from the disabled list by the Dodgers, first baseman Fred McGriff bats cleanup and goes 2-for-4 in his return against the Padres. It was the Crime Dog’s first trip to the DL during his 18-year career.
  • 2010 After just seven days in the major leagues, Stephen Strasburg is named National League Player of the Week. The Nationals’ right-handed flame thrower starts his career 2-0 with 22 strikeouts, second to only Karl Spooner, who fanned five more batters in his first two major league starts with the Dodgers in 1954.

Lineup:

Nov 02

World Series Game Seven, 2016

It’s a magical phrase for a sports fan, Game Seven. Just look at all the previous ones from the World Series.

Here you’ll find Grover Cleveland Alexander’s masterful job of relief in 1926, when he entered the game in the seventh inning of Game Seven after winning Game Six the day before and struck out the Yankees’ Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded to retire the side. You’ll find Dizzy Dean’s 11-0 shutout of the Tigers in 1934, with the left field fans showering Ducky Medwick with bottles after he spiked Mickey Owens in the previous inning. You’ll find Bill Mazeroski’s home run in 1960 and Luis Gonzalez’s bloop single over second base off Mariano Rivera in 2001. And you’ll find Gene Larkin’s single in the 10th inning of the Jack Morris shutout game in 1991.

Cubs at Indians, 8:00PM ET, TV: Fox

The Cubs ask Kyle Hendricks to be the man. He started Game Three, went 4 1/3 innings and gave up six hits but no runs in the eventual 1-0 loss to the Indians. He’ll be opposed by the Indians’ Corey Kluber, who’s already won Games One and Four in this Series for the Tribe. He’ll try to join a very exclusive club of pitchers who’ve won three games in a Series; the last member to join was Randy Johnson of the D-Backs in 2001.

Cubs Lineup:

Indians Lineup:

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:

Jun 30

Game 85, 2014

Indians at Dodgers, 7:10PM, PT, TV: SPNLA

The Dodgers put their trust in Dan Haren, 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA. He’s given up 14 home runs in his last nine starts, which isn’t good. The Indians counter with Corey Kluber, a right-hander who is 7-5 with a 3.09 ERA.

“Monday’s series opener marks just the seventh time the Tribe has played the Dodgers. Cleveland is 2-4 in the overall series but went 2-1 in Dodger Stadium in 2008.” Well, I don’t want to remember that 1920 World Series either.

The Dodgers put Justin Turner on the 15-day DL with a hamstring injury and called up Carlos Triunfel from Albuquerque. This is Triunfel’s second trip to the big club this season; he was 2-for-7 in seven games with the Dodgers earlier in June. He was hitting .210 for the Isotopes.

Lineup when available.