Oct 12

ALDS Games Four, NLDS Games Three, 2015

Early AL game: Royals at Astros, 10:00AM PT, TV: FS1

The Astros have a 2-1 lead and send rookie Lance McCullers out to try to win the series. The Royals send first-game (but only two innings thanks to rain) starter Yordano Ventura out to keep the Astros from doing that.

Late AL Game: Blue Jays at Rangers, 1:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Rangers lead the series 2-1 and hope to win at home. They’ll send out Derek Holland, who’s been in 13 post-season games in his career. He and the Rangers will face R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball. This will be Dickey’s first postseason start.

Early NL Game: Cardinals at Cubs 3:00PM PT, TV: TBS

The series is tied 1-1. The Cubs like their chances in this game, and who wouldn’t? They send All Second-Half pitcher Jake Arrieta to the mound to face the Cardinals, who counter with Michael Wacha.

Late NL Game: Dodgers at Mets, 5:30PM PT, TV: TBS

First, I think this game is going to start on TNT rather than TBS unless the Cubs-Cards game is a blowout; I don’t believe the first game will come in under 2 1/2 hours as it would have to for there to be a seamless switch at 5:30PM PT.

Second, Utley. The latest word is that his appeal is “unlikely to be heard today.”

Utley’s representatives and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association asked for time to prepare their case, which would make Utley eligible to play until a hearing takes place.

Now, the game itself. The Dodgers send Brett Anderson to the hill in his second postseason appearance (2012 for the As), while the Mets send Matt Harvey and his “will he or won’t he throw more than 180 innings this year?” controversy (he wound up throwing 189 1/3 in the regular season) to the mound. Anderson was the best ground-ball pitcher in the big leagues this year, inducing them at a 66.3% rate. Harvey was 8-3 with a 2.23 ERA at home, far better than he was on the road.

This will be the first postseason game ever played at Citi Field; all previous Mets’ appearances were at Shea Stadium.

Lineup when available.

What? No Utley?

Also:

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.

Aug 30

Game 129, 2015

Cubs at Dodgers, 5:08PM PT, TV: ESPN

The Cubs send Jake Arrieta to the mound to try to salvage one game of the series. He seems to be the guy to do it, since he’s 16-6 with a 2.22 ERA on the season and an even better 5-0 with a 0.54 ERA for August. Facing him will be the Dodgers’ Alex Wood, who’s 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA for the Dodgers and 9-8 with a 3.70 ERA for his overall 2015. MLB has determined that

Alex Wood will be making his sixth start since joining the Dodgers and he’s looking to last longer in games. He’s exited four straight starts without throwing more than 91 pitches or lasting longer than 6 1/3 innings. He’s had just one quality start in five outings with Los Angeles.

Carl Crawford has done pretty well against Arrieta, but he’s one of only two Dodger regulars who have had more than ten at-bats against him. None of the Cubs have had more than five at-bats against Wood.

Lineup when available.

Here’s some “Awwww” for a Sunday: The Greensboro Grasshoppers held a retirement ceremony for their balldog.

Here’s Miss Babe Ruth at work:
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