Toronto at Texas, 1:30PM PT, TV: TBS
The Blue Jays and Rangers don’t like each other much, as shown by the fistfight between Rougned Odor and José Bautista back in May, which followed Bautista’s seventh-inning bat flip in Game Five of last year’s ALDS. They resume the argument tonight with LHP Cole Hamels (15-5, 3.32 ERA) on the hill for the Rangers and RHP Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.48 ERA) for the Jays.
Boston at Cleveland, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS
The Red Sox send out RHP Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.15 ERA) to face RHP Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.26 ERA) at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Porcello had a stellar second half, putting up a 2.62 ERA with 92 strikeouts and only 11 walks. Bauer had an excellent first half, putting up a 3.30 ERA prior to the All-Star break, but his last six starts have been less than optimal as he posted a 6.39 ERA.
Dodgers at Jays, 10:10AM PT, TV: SPNLA
Ross Stripling (0-2, 4.33 ERA) goes for the Dodgers and Marco Estrada (1-2, 2.64 ERA) goes for the Blue Jays. Estrada’s gotten only 10 runs to work with in his five starts this year while Stripling has seen his ERA climb every start since his first, when he threw 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball and was pulled due to a predetermined pitch count. In two of his last three starts he hasn’t made it to the fifth inning. It’s not for lack of determination, though:
Gonzalez will be the Dodgers’ DH, but the first base job is between Utley and Turner. Meanwhile, Russell Martin returns to the catching position for the Jays; he took Dickey’s start off.
From pink bats to specially-designed uniform logos to honorary bat girls to “Pink Out” days in the stands all of MLB will celebrate Mother’s Day in one way or another.
Someone please post the lineup in the comments if I don’t get to it before the game starts (7:10AM my time).
American League game: Royals at Blue Jays, 1:00PM PT, TV: FS1
It’s an elimination game: down 3 games to 1, the Jays have to win or they’re done. This game is a rematch of pitchers from Game One: Edinson Volquez of the Royals and Marco Estrada of the Jays. Volquez is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA in this postseason and went six scoreless innings against the Jays in Game One. Estrada is also 1-1 in the postseason with a 3.09 ERA. He went 5 1/3 innings against the Royals in Game One, giving up six hits and three runs.
National League game: Mets at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS
This one is also an elimination game: the Mets are one win away from going on the World Series. If the Cubs are to make the prediction in the movie “Back to the Future” come true, they have to win the next four games. The Mets send out lefty Steven Matz, making his first appearance in the NLCS after giving up three runs in five innings against the Dodgers in the NLDS. He’ll be opposed by Jason Hammel, also appearing for the first time in the NLCS after a short (four runs in three innings) outing against the Cardinals in the NLDS.
Blue Jays at Royals, 4:30PM PT, TV: Fox
After two five-game division series, neither team has its best pitcher available for Game One. Tonight the Jays send Marco Estrada to the hill. He started Game Three of their half of the ALDS when the Jays were down 0-2 and had to win; he went 6 1/3 innings and allowed the Rangers only one run. He’ll face old friend Edinson Volquez, who went 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs to the Astros in Game Three of the other half of the ALDS, losing to Dallas Kuechel.
For added drama, two and a half-months ago the Royals and Blue Jays played a game that featured three hit-by-pitches, three ejections, several other up-and-in fastballs and one benches-clearing incident. Whether there are any hard feelings I leave to your imagination.
Prospective rotations: The Blue Jays will start David Price, Marcus Stroman and R.A. Dickey in Games 2-4, respectively. Kansas City will counter with Yordano Ventura in Game 2 and Johnny Cueto in Game 3.
Early game: Royals at Astros, 1:00PM PT, TV: MLBN
The Royals send Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA) out to face the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.48 ERA). Keuchel is the American League’s only 20-game winner and went six scoreless innings in the Wild Card game against the Yankees. Volquez has been a serviceable pitcher his entire 11-year career, winning 13 for the second year in a row. MLB has some more game notes.
Late game: Blue Jays at Rangers, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1
The Blue Jays are down 0-2 in this series and have to win today. To that end they send Marco Estrada (who?) out to save their season. He was 13-8 with a 3.13 ERA on the year. The Rangers counter with lefty Martin Perez (3-6, 4.46 ERA). He would seem to be an odd choice, since right-handed batters hit .304 against him this season and the Jays have a lot of them. He finished strongly, though, giving up only one earned run over 13 innings in his last two starts. Game notes.