After the first ten days of the season we can say the NL West is showing depth beyond the Dodgers and Giants. Whether the D-Backs and Rockies can keep up their good play remains to be seen, but so far the division looks more competitive than anticipated.
Dodgers at Cubs, 5:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN (out-of-market only)
Brandon McCarthy (1-0, 2.00 ERA) goes for the Dodgers against John Lackey (1-0, 4.50 ERA) of the Cubs. McCarthy allowed two runs on four hits in six innings last Thursday against the Padres. Lackey went 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA at home last season; this is his first start at Wrigley this year.
The Cubs got their banner Monday; tonight they’ll get their rings.
Late news: Franklin Gutierrez goes on the 10-day DL with a strained left hamstring.
Lineup when available.
Cubs at Dodgers, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1
The Cubs send wily veteran RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) out to face the Dodgers’ rookie LHP Julio Urias (5-2, 3.35 ERA) in hope of tying the series up. Lackey has made 11 career starts in 12 appearances against the Dodgers and has a career 1.75 ERA against them. Urias started twice against the Cubs during the regular season, working six innings to beat them on Aug. 27 at Dodger Stadium after getting beaten up at Wrigley Field in his second Major League start.
Nationals at Dodgers, 2:00PM PT, TV: FS1
To extend their season the Dodgers have decided to go with Clayton Kershaw on short rest. He’s done this three other times in the postseason and put up a 1.89 ERA. However, those other times he hadn’t spent two months of the season on the DL with a bad back. We shall see. His opponent will be RHP Joe Ross (7-5, 3.43 ERA). More preview here from ESPN.
Cubs at Giants, 5:30PM PT, TV: FS1
The Cubs go with RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) against the Giants’ LHP Matt Moore (13-12, 4.08 ERA). Lackey is a postseason veteran who’s got an 8-5 record with a 3.11 ERA over 127 1/3 postseason innings. This will mark the 16th playoff series for him. Moore has given up two runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts, so he’s on his game.
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.
First game: Cubs at Cardinals, 3:30PM PT, TV: TBS
The Cubs and Cardinals have been rivals for decades, but this is the first time they’ll face one another in the postseason. As if that weren’t enough, the opposing pitchers once played together for the Red Sox.
John Lester (11-12, 3.34 ERA) starts for the Cubs, while John Lackey (13-10, 2.77 ERA) starts for the Cardinals. Lackey leads all active pitchers in two playoff categories: today will make his 19th playoff start and he’s already thrown 117 postseason innings. Lester has a 6-4 record with a 2.57 ERA in the postseason himself.
Further game notes here.
Second game: Mets at Dodgers, 6:30PM PT, TV: TBS
LHP Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.13 ERA) starts for the Dodgers. RHP Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54 ERA) starts for the Mets. Kershaw’s only blemish in his brilliant career is his 1-5 record and 5.12 ERA in the postseason. This will be deGrom’s first playoff appearance. He faced the Dodgers once this season and gave up two hits over 7 2/3 innings.
The Mets added Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson in mid-season and got David Wright back as well. “It’s a completely different lineup, not just Cespedes,” Kershaw said. “…a completely different team. Obviously, a lot better than what we faced in July.”
Dodgers’ playoff roster:
Lineup when available.
Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:15PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN, FS-M
The Dodgers hope Mike Bolsinger can come close to duplicating his last outing, when he gave up only one hit and got 23 consecutive hitters out at one stage of the game. He’s 3-0 with a Kershaw-like ERA of 0.71. He also grew up a Cubs fan, so he’s got a built-in dislike of the Cardinals. The Redbirds send out 36-year-old 154-game winner John Lackey, who’s 2-3 with a 3.18 ERA.
Lineup when available.
Cardinals at Giants, 10:00AM HST/1:00PM PT, TV: FS1
Lackey for the Cards, Hudson for the Giants. The biggest lineup change is A.J. Pierzynski catching for the Redbirds in place of Yadier Molina, out with an oblique strain. It’s hard to believe, but this is Tim Hudson’s first start in an LCS game. His previous postseason appearances were in Division Series contests, and he has always been on the LDS-losing team until this year. Lackey has a well-deserved reputation for pitching well in big games.
Orioles at Royals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: TBS
The managers stayed with the announced Game Three starters, Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, no matter the rainout yesterday.
Nationals at Giants, 2:00PM PT, TV: MLBN
The Nats have their backs against an 0-2 hole and need both a good outing from Doug Fister and some luck in order to beat the Giants and Madison Bumgarner. Fister has plenty of postseason experience, as does Bumgarner. The Nationals may start Ryan Zimmerman for the first time in the playoffs after two pinch-hitting appearances, which would add a potentially stronger bat to the lineup in left field and allow Bryce Harper to move to center, while putting the light-hitting Denard Span on the bench.
Dodgers at Cardinals, 6:00PM PT, TV: Fox Sports 1
The Dodgers rest their hopes on Hyun-Jin Ryu, who hasn’t pitched for nearly a month while resting a shoulder. Based on a simulated game he threw last Wednesday and two bullpen sessions, they think he’ll be fine. The Cardinals hope that the John Lackey who’s been a star during previous postseasons with the Angels and Red Sox is the one who shows up today, rather than the guy who went 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA after they acquired him at the trading deadline.
One way or another, the Series will end at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918. Either the Sox win tonight in six or the Cardinals win tonight to force a Game Seven. But it too will be played at Fenway, and as a fan I’d like to see it. Game Seven is evocative of so many previous ones — Mazeroski’s home run in 1960, McCovey’s line drive caught by Bobby Richardson in 1962, Koufax’s win in 1965 on Lou Johnson’s home run in the fourth inning, Lolich outdueling Gibson in 1968, Jack Morris’s ten-inning 1-0 win in 1991, and Luis Gonzalez’s dunker off Mariano Rivera in 2001.
So I’m rooting for the Cardinals tonight. It’s hard, but I’m gonna do it. They send out rookie star Michael Wacha, and the Sox counter with John Lackey. Ortiz goes back to DH for the Red Sox and Napoli plays first base. For the Cardinals Allen Craig is the DH while Mike Adams plays first base.
St. Louis at Boston 2:00pm HST, 5:00pm Pacific, 8:00pm Eastern on Fox.
St. Louis v. Boston, 2:00PM HST, 5:00PM PT, 8:00PM ET on Fox.
The Cards send the phenom Michael Wacha out to pitch against the Red Sox’ John Lackey. The Sox lead the Series one game to none. Beltran’s in the lineup for the Cardinals, bruised ribs or no.