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:


Oct 06

ALDS Games Two, 2018

The first game today is Indians at Astros, 1:37 PDT, TV: TBS. The Astros lead the series 1-0.

The Indians send RHP Carlos Carrasco (17-10, 3.38 ERA) to the mound to try to stop the Astros’ juggernaut. He’ll face Houston’s RHP Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.88 ERA). In his career Cole is 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA in the postseason, all with the Pirates. Carrasco is 0-0 with 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball in the postseason, against the Yankees in 2017.

Indians lineup:


Astros lineup:


The second game today is Yankees at Red Sox, 5:15 PM PDT, TV: TBS. The Red Sox lead the series 1-0.

The Yankees send RHP Masahiro Tanaka (12-6, 3.75 ERA) to the mound in Fenway Park. He’ll face the Red Sox’ LHP David Price (16-7, 3.58 ERA). Tanaka is 2-2 with a 1.44 ERA in the postseason and is coming in cold; in his last two starts he gave up eight earned runs in eight innings. Additionally he had a 7.58 ERA against the Red Sox this season. Price has been on a roll, going 6-1 with a 2.25 ERA since the All Star break, but he’s got to overcome the memory of his postseason career (2-8, 5.03 ERA).

Lineups when available.

Aug 21

Game 123, 2017

Dodgers at Pirates, 4:05 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ATT SportsNet Pit

The Dodgers will start LHP Alex Wood (14-1, 2.30 ERA) in the fourth game of their seven-game road trip. He and the Dodgers will face RHP Gerrit Cole (10-8, 4.04 ERA).

The Dodgers won the first three games of the season series by a combined total of 21 runs to six. Wood has made seven appearances against the Buccos, six of them starts, and he’s held them to a .227 BA while putting up a 2.61 ERA. Cole had a good June and July going 7-2, but he’s been up and down the rest of the season and he’s given up more than twice as many HRs (26) as he ever has before. His ERA is half-a-run higher than his career average to this point, too.

On this date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1975 The Reuschel brothers of the Cubs join forces to blank the Dodgers, 6-0. Rick goes 6.1 innings, and Paul finishes the game for the first shutout thrown by siblings.
  • 1990 The Phillies overcome an eight-run deficit, scoring nine runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat the Dodgers, 12-11. John Kruk’s pinch-hit three-run homer ties the game, and two batters later, Carmelo Martinez’s double plates Rod Booker with the eventual winning run in the Chavez Ravine contest.

  • 2005 Florida suspends their bat boy for six games after the 11 year-old accepts former Marlin and current Dodger hurler Brad Penny’s $500 dare to drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour without throwing up. The Milk Processor Education Program will promise to pay off the dare and to cover the lost wages resulting from the suspension if the sixth grader, who is able to drink the quantity in the allotted time but cannot keep it down, agrees to drink three glasses every 24 hours.

Here’s a bit of trivia I’d never heard before: in 1951 Major General Emmett O’Donnell is selected by the owners to be the new commissioner. President Harry Truman overrules the decision, stating the officer is needed in Korea in his post as commander of bombers.

Bellinger improving but ankle still swollen. Won’t start tomorrow either, Roberts said.

Lineup when available.

Aug 13

Game 116, 2016

Pirates at Dodgers, 1:05PM PT, TV: FS1, SPNLA, ROOTSPIT

Brandon McCarthy (2-2, 3.00 ERA) goes for the Dodgers and Gerrit Cole (7-7, 2.94 ERA) goes for the Buccos. McCarthy hopes he’s solved the mysterious loss of control he’s exhibited over the last three games he’s started. Cole had a rough game his last time out against the Reds, but he’s 2-0 with a 4.05 ERA in his only two career starts at Dodger Stadium.

Chase Utley had made 409 plate appearances this season entering Friday’s game and had not hit into a double play in even one of them.

Lineup:

Oct 06

Wild Card Games, 2015

Today is the American League Wild Card (or play-in, if this were the NCAA basketball tournament) game. Tomorrow is the National League’s version. Comment or ignore as you wish. If you prefer to keep discussing the Dodgers’ playoff possibilities, use the thread below.

Howard Cole (former Dodger blogger) has some thoughts about postseason experience — does it help or does it matter? He cites rookies who’ve done amazing things and veterans who’ve failed miserably, and he cites other cases when the opposite took place.

Today: Astros at Yankees, 8:00PM ET, ESPN (which makes history by putting Jessica Mendoza in the broadcast booth alongside John Kruk and Dan Shulman)

The Astros start Dallas Kuechel on three days rest. He was 15-0 at home and 5-8 on the road this season with a 2.48 ERA and 16 scoreless innings against the Yankees. The Yankees start Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.51 ERA), who missed his next-to-last start with a strained hamstring and in his last start went five innings and gave up four runs.

Nothing against the Yankees (well, except the eight times they’ve beaten the Dodgers in the World Series), but I’m rooting for the Astros in this one. They’ve had several awful years and weren’t expected to get this good until next season.

Tomorrow: Cubs at Pirates, 8:00PM ET, TBS (Brian Anderson, Dennis Eckersley, Joe Simpson)

Two aces go at one another in this game: the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta (22-6, 1.77 ERA including a no-hitter against the Dodgers) versus the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole (19-8, 2.60 ERA). I’m uncertain who I’m rooting for here. As a baseball fan it’s hard not to hope the Cubs advance, but I’ve always had stronger feelings for the Buccos.