Oct 18

ALCS Game Five, 2017

Astros at Yankees, 2:00 PM PT, TV: FS1

The Astros send their ace LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA) to try to win the last game at Yankee Stadium in this series. He’ll face the Yankees’ RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA). This is a rematch of the pitchers in Game One, in which Keuchel threw seven scoreless innings and gave up only one hit as Tanaka gave up two runs in six innings and the Astros won 2-1.

Today in Yankees’ history:

  • 1960“Resigned, fired, quit, discharged, use whatever you damn please. I’ll never make the mistake of being seventy again” – Casey Stengel, announcing his dismissal from the Yankees. The Yankees, five days after losing to the Pirates in Game 7 of the World Series, fire Stengel, believing he’s too old to manage. During his twelve-year tenure with the Bronx Bombers, the ‘Old Perfesser’ compiled a 1149-696 (.623) record, while capturing ten AL pennants and seven World Championships.
  • 1977 In Game 6 of the Fall Classic, Reggie Jackson, who also homered in his last at bat in the previous contest, hits three home runs on three consecutive pitches, propelling the Yankees to an 8-4 victory over the Dodgers at the ballpark in the Bronx. ‘Mr. October’s heroics assures the team of their twenty-first World Championship, their first since 1962.

Today in Astros’ history:

  • 2001 Larry Dierker, who left the Astros’ broadcast booth to take over the dugout duties as the team’s skipper in 1997, resigns as Houston manager (448-362, .553, four divisional titles), despite tying the Cardinals for the best record in the National League (93-69) and winning the Central Division. The team failed to win a playoff series in his five-year tenure, going 2-12 in postseason action.
Oct 13

ALCS Game One, 2017

Yankees at Astros, 5:00 PM PT, TV: FS1

The Yankees start RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA) on the road (6.48 ERA), where he was markedly worse than at home (3.22 ERA) this season. His opponent will be LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA), who’s 5-2 with a 1.24 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees, including a three-hit six-inning shutout in the 2015 Wild Card Game in which he got the win.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1960 At Forbes Field, Bill Mazeroski’s dramatic walk-off home run off Yankee hurler Ralph Terry breaks up a 9-9 tie, ending one of the most exciting seven game World Series ever played. Maz’s round-tripper remains the only home run ever to a win a World Series Game 7.

  • 2001 The Yankees, being down 2-0 in the best-of-five series, stave off elimination, beating the A’s and Barry Zito, 1-0, thanks to the shutout pitching by Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada’s fifth-inning home run. Shortstop Derek Jeter backing up an errant relay throw down the first base line and flipping it home to cut down Jeremy Giambi as the potential tying run will be remembered as one of the best defensive plays in postseason history.

Oct 08

ALDS Games Three, 2017

This applies to both of today’s games: Teams with 2-0 leads have won the series 66 times and lost nine.

First game: Astros at Red Sox, 11:30 AM PT, TV: FS1

The Astros try to close out the Sox today, sending RHP Brad Peacock (13-2, 3.00 ERA) to the mound to face the Red Sox’ RHP Doug Fister (5-9, 4.88 ERA). Peacock beat the Sox in his only appearance against them on September 28. He’s had no prior postseason experience. Fister lost to the Astros in his only start against them on September 29. He’s made eight postseason starts but none since 2014 with the Nats.

Second game: Indians at Yankees, 4:30 PM PT, TV: FS1

RHP Carlos Carrasco (18-6, 3.29 ERA) takes the hill for the Indians in the Bronx tonight. He’ll face the Yankees’ RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA). Carrasco has had the best year of his career, but what’s even more germane is that on the road as he’ll be tonight he’s 11-2 with a 2.65 ERA and a .210/.266/.336 opponents’ slash line. Similarly, Tanaka is 9-5 with a 3.22 ERA at home in Yankee Stadium, far better than on the road.

Today in baseball history: It’s the anniversary of Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game Five of the 1956 World Series. It’s also the date of Ernie Lombardi’s “Swoon” in 1939, when the Reds’ catcher was run over at home plate by Charlie Keller of the Yankees and was so dazed that Joe DiMaggio was able to score all the way from first before he recovered. And in 1959 the Dodgers beat the White Sox in Game Six to win the World Series. More at National Pastime.

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.