Oct 09

ALDS Game Five, 2020

Yankees vs Rays, 4:10 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The series is tied at two games apiece. One of these teams will move on to play the Astros in the ALCS after today’s game and the other will go home.

The Yankees hand the ball to their expensive ace, RHP Gerrit Cole, who’s won two games so far this postseason and has put up a 3.46 ERA while doing so. He’ll be pitching on three days rest for the first time in his career. The Rays counter with RHP Tyler Glasnow, who’s also won two games this postseason but whose ERA is a less-attractive 4.91. He’s pitching on just two days rest; like Cole, he’s never gotten less than his full complement of days between starts till now.

There has been plenty of baseball history on this date. Most memorable in the last fifty years? Probably the 1996 “Jeffrey Maier” call in Game One of the 1996 ALCS.

Oct 05

ALDS Game One, 2020

Astros vs Athletics, 1:07 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Astros send RHP Lance McCullers to the mound. His last start in a postseason game was in Game Seven of the 2017 World Series against the Dodgers. He lasted 2 1/3 innings, but he didn’t give up any runs. This season he finished strongly; in September he was 0-1 but allowed just three earned runs and had an ERA of 1.53. He’ll face RHP Chris Bassitt, who beat the White Sox in the Athletics’ Wild Card Series and went seven one-run innings while doing it. He also finished strongly; he was 3-0 with a 0.34 ERA in September.

Yankees vs Rays, 5:07 PM PDT, TV: TBS

The Yankees hand the ball to RHP Gerrit Cole, who went seven innings against the Indians in Game One of the Yankees’ Wild Card Series, striking out 13, walking none, giving up 6 hits and 2 runs. He’ll face LHP Blake Snell, who pitched five innings of no-hit ball against the Blue Jays in Game One of the Rays’ Wild Card Series.

Until the expansion of the playoffs, the World Series was well underway by October 5, and baseball’s history reflects that.

Sep 29

AL Wild Card Series Game One, 2020

Astros at Twins, 11:08 AM PDT, TV: ABC (ABC? Really? When’s the last time ABC broadcast baseball? The network is going to draft some broadcasters from its sister cable network ESPN)

Two old friends start against one another: RHP Zack Greinke for the Astros meets RHP Kenta Maeda of the Twins. Greinke’s first five starts netted him a 1-0 record with a 1.84 ERA. He then fell off a cliff, going 2-3 with a 5.73 ERA in his last seven outings. Maeda will make his first postseason start since 2016 (he made 21 postseason relief appearances for the Dodgers from 2017-2019), and he earned it. He was 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA for the season.

White Sox at Athletics, 12:08 PM PDT, TV: ESPN

The White Sox hand the ball to RHP Lucas Giolito; he’ll make his 85th career start but first ever in Oakland. He was 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA this season. He’ll face LHP Jésus Luzardo, who was 3-2 with a 4.12 ERA and 59 Ks (second among AL rookies) for the year.

Blue Jays at Rays, 2:07 PM PDT, TV: TBS

RHP Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.71 ERA) is a surprise starter for the Jays, one who’s not expected to go deep into the game. He’ll face the Rays’ LHP Blake Snell (4-2, 3.24 ERA). Shoemaker was held out of his last regularly scheduled start to keep him fresh for this game. Snell faced the Blue Jays twice this year and surrendered just two runs to them over 7 2/3 innings.

Yankees at Indians, 4:08 PM PDT, TV: ESPN

The Yankees signed RHP Gerrit Cole last offseason for just this event: Game One of a postseason series. Cole did his part, leading the team in wins, starts, complete games, innings and strikeouts. He wound up 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA. He’s gone 6-4 with a 2.60 ERA in his postseason career. The Indians counter with RHP Shane Bieber (8-1, 1.63 ERA). He came close to postseason experience in 2018: he was scheduled to start Game Four of the Division Series that season but the Indians were swept in three games by the Astros.

Dec 10

Wintry mix

ESPN has links and gossip here.

The Phillies signed ex-Yankee Didi Gregorius to play shortstop.

The Giants acquired veteran infielder Zack Cozart and 2019 first-round pick Will Wilson (another infielder) from the Angels for a player to be named later or cash.

The Yankees, as expected, have made an offer to Gerrit Cole which is even richer than the one Stephen Strasburg got from the Nationals earlier this week.

Then there’s this:

Andrew Friedman said the Dodgers have zeroed in on roughly 12 players they’re targeting at the moment. Almost all of them, perhaps with the exception of relievers, are elite. “I’d say it’s a much more narrow group than it has been in some other years in my career,” Friedman said.

Oct 27

Game Five, 2019 World Series

Astros at Nationals, 5:07 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The big news of the day is that the Nats’ scheduled starter Max Scherzer has neck spasms and has been scratched. In his place will be RHP Joe Ross, who started the season in the bullpen but emerged as a member of the Nationals’ rotation when relieving didn’t suit him. He had Tommy John surgery in 2017; 2019 was his first full season back from that. He’ll face the Astros’ Gerrit Cole, who had an uncharacteristic loss in Game One in which he gave up five runs on eight hits in seven innings.

Astros lineup:

Nationals lineup:

Oct 23

Game Two, 2019 World Series

Nationals at Astros, 5:07 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The Nats have stolen one game in the Astros’ park and snapped Gerrit Cole’s 19-game winning streak in the process. Tonight they’ll send out Stephen Strasburg to face Houston’s number 1A ace Justin Verlander and try to steal another.

Conventional wisdom be damned, says MLB’s Will Leitch. Tonight’s game is not a “must-win” for the Astros.

Nationals lineup:

Astros lineup:

Oct 22

Game One, 2019 World Series

Nationals at Astros, 5:00 PM PDT, TV: Fox

On paper this is a starting pitcher’s series like we haven’t seen in quite a while. Each team’s rotation has three excellent starters: Verlander, Cole and Greinke for the Astros and Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin for the Nats.

All six of those starters performed admirably this season. In fact, they were all top 20 in ERA among qualified pitchers: Cole was third, Verlander fourth, Scherzer eighth, Greinke ninth, Corbin 13th and Strasburg 16th. It’s the first World Series since 1945 to feature six of the top 20 pitchers in ERA, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

[snip]

That’s when the Tigers, with Hal Newhouser (1st) and Dizzy Trout (T-10th), faced the Cubs, who had Claude Passeau (4th), Paul Derringer (T-10th), Hank Wyse (T-15th) and Ray Prim (T-15th).

Game One will feature RHP Max Scherzer for the Nationals and RHP Gerrit Cole for the Astros. Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his last start, Game Two of the NLCS against the Cardinals. Cole has won all three of his postseason starts, giving up ten hits and one run in 22 2/3 innings.

Nationals lineup:

Astros lineup:

Oct 12

ALCS 2019

Game One: Yankees at Astros, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: Fox

Two righthanders go at one another: Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees and Zack Greinke for the Astros. Tanaka’s career postseason ERA is 1.54. Greinke has not been his usual dominant self in recent postseason appearances: he’s got a 9.49 ERA in his last three.

Game Two: Yankees at Astros, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

LHP James Paxton takes the hill for the Yankees. He’ll try to match innings with the Astros’ RHP Justin Verlander. Paxton faced the Houstonians twice during the year, giving up five runs in an April game but just one in a game in July. Verlander beat the Yankees twice in the 2017 playoffs, but of course that was a different Yankee team. He made two starts against them in 2019 for a total of 13 innings, giving up six runs and going 1-0.

Game Three: Astros at Yankees, 1:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Series is tied at one game apiece. The Astros give the ball to RHP Gerrit Cole, who’s been virtually untouchable in his first two postseason starts, giving up six hits and only one run in two wins against the Rays in the ALDS. The Yankees counter with RHP Luis Severino, who went four scoreless innings against the Twins in Game Three of the Yankees’ side of the ALDS. Four innings, oddly, is the average length of the seven postseason outings he’s made in his career, posting a 1-2 record with a 5.33 ERA.

Game Four has been postponed until Thursday at 8:08 p.m. ET due to inclement weather.

Game Four: Astros at Yankees, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Astros send RHP Zack Greinke to the mound in the Bronx to face the Yankees’ RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who, thanks to yesterday’s rainout, will be pitching on regular rest. He’s been spectacular in his postseason appearances: 1.32 ERA over 41 innings in seven starts. Despite a quality start in Game One, Greinke was the loser as Tanaka shut out the Astros over six innings and the bullpen did the rest.

Game Five: Astros at Yankees, 4:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

This is a rematch of Game Two with the Astros’s Verlander going against the Yankees’ Paxton. That game displayed a stark difference in the teams’ pitching philosophy: Verlander went 6 2/3 innings while Paxton came out after 2 1/3, not because he was injured or tipping pitches or getting shelled (one run on four hits), but because Yankees manager Aaron Boone trusts his bullpen more than he does most of his starters.

Game Six: Yankees at Astros, 5:08 PM PDT, TV: FS1

Both managers are calling this a bullpen game, so no “starters” have been named by either side. It’ll be a surprise!

Oct 05

ALDS Games Two, 2019

On this day in baseball history we find the Mickey Owens passed ball, Al Gionfriddo’s catch, Mickey Mantle’s torn knee cartilage and the invention of the high five, among other things.

The early game is the Twins at Yankees, 2:07 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Twins’ RHP Randy Dobnak will make his sixth big league start on the biggest stage you can get: facing the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the postseason. He’ll face RHP Masahiro Tanaka, one of the few Yankees starter who was healthy all season. Tanaka has made five career postseason starts and has a 3-2 record with a 1.50 ERA to show for it.

Twins lineup:

Yankees lineup:

The late game will be the Rays at Astros, 6:07 PM PDT, TV: FS1

The Rays ask LHP Blake Snell to get them even in the series, while the Astros send Gerrit Cole out to continue what Verlander did yesterday. By the way, Cole was 16-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his last 22 starts of 2019.

Rays lineup:

Astros lineup:

Oct 14

ALCS Game Two, 2018

Astros v. Red Sox, 4:09 PM PDT on TBS.

This game features the Astros’ RHP Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.88 ERA) versus the Red Sox’ LHP David Price (16-7, 3.58 ERA). Cole pitched in Game Two of the Astros’ ALDS series against the Indians and got the win, going seven innings and giving up just one run on three hits over that stretch. Price’s postseason woes have been thoroughly covered by the press; he’s 0-9 with a 6.03 ERA in ten career playoff starts. In his latest one he went 1 2/3 innings against the Yankees in last week’s ALDS, giving up two home runs among the three hits he surrendered in Game Two, the only game the Red Sox lost in that series.

Today in Red Sox’ history:

  • 1986 Riding the momentum from their dramatic come-from-behind 7-6 extra inning win to stave off elimination in California, the Red Sox cruise to a 10-4 win over the Angels. The Fenway Park victory evens the ALCS at 3-3.

Today in Astros’ history:

  • 2017 Carlos Correa’s ninth-inning double scored Jose Altuve from first base in the bottom of the ninth inning to take a 2-0 lead over the Yankees in the ALCS.

A few other things happened on this date in baseball history which did not include either team playing today.

Lineups:

Astros:
1. George Springer, CF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Alex Bregman, 3B
4. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
5. Tyler White, DH
6. Marwin Gonzalez, LF
7. Carlos Correa, SS
8. Martin Maldonado, C
9. Josh Reddick, RF
LHP David Price

Red Sox: