Oct 22

If they can do this

then the Giants really are a team of destiny this year. Watch as Hunter Pence’s bat shatters and hits the ball not once, not twice, but three times.

Congratulations to the Giants. As Bob Timmermann reminded me on Facebook earlier today, this means that there actually will be a Giants – Tigers World Series. There’s never been one. The closest was in 1908, but Fred Merkle committed his “bonehead play” which cost the Giants the pennant. The Cubs won and beat the Tigers for the World Championship; it was the last time they won one.

Oct 22

LCS, Day Nine

Who’d a thunk it, but there’s a Game Seven in the NLCS today. The Giants have fought back to tie the series after being down three games to one, so today’s game is for all the marbles and a trip to the World Series. The Giants send out Matt Cain to do battle with the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse in a rematch of the starters for Game Three last week.

Oct 21

LCS, Day Eight

Game Six, Cardinals at Giants, 7:30PM Eastern, Fox. Cardinals lead the series three games to two. The starting pitchers are Chris Carpenter for the Cards and Ryan Vogelsong for the Jints; it’s a rematch of Game Two, which the Giants won 7 – 1 behind seven strong innings of 4-hit ball from Vogelsong. Carpenter was off his game in that one; he gave up five runs (only two earned) on six hits in only four innings.

It’s an elimination game again. The Giants have their backs against the wall, and Carpenter’s been a money pitcher for years in the postseason, Game Two notwithstanding. On the other hand, if the Giants should win, then they can bring Matt Cain back on Monday to face Kyle Lohse.

Oct 18

LCS, Day Six

After rain in the Midwest caused Game Four between the Yankees and Tigers to be postponed and Game Three between the Giants and Cardinals to be delayed for three-plus hours, various propitiations to the weather gods have undoubtedly been made by MLB. They’ll try again today.

The first game is Game Four in Detroit, with the Yankees trying to fend off elimination and the Tigers trying to close them out. The pitchers remain Sabathia for the Big Apple’s team and Scherzer for the team from Motown. It’s scheduled for 4:00PM Eastern on TBS.

The second game is Game Four in St. Louis at 8:00PM Eastern. The Cardinals took a two-games-to-one lead by winning yesterday, and they’ll pitch Adam Wainwright. The Giants counter with two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, who’s been excellent coming out of the bullpen in the playoffs after a forgettable regular season.

Each team’s 3-4-5 hitters are noticeable by their absence: The Giants’ Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence are 6-for-33 with one RBI. Not to be undercut, the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and Yadi Molina are 5-for-33 with no RBIs. Oh, and Carlos Beltran and his knee are day-to-day for the Cards; without him their lineup is even weaker.

Oct 17

LSC, Day Five

Update: The Yankees – Tigers game is postponed until tomorrow due to rain. The Giants – Cards game is delayed but is now scheduled to begin at 10:05PM Eastern, with the Cards at bat leading 3 – 1 in the bottom of the seventh, two out, men on second and third.

First up today: Giants v. Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis at 4:00PM Eastern on Fox. The Giants send out Matt Cain to do battle with Kyle Lohse. The series is tied at one game apiece.

Game two could be the end of the Yankees in the postseason. They’re down three games to none to the Tigers, and they’ll send out C.C. Sabathia to try to keep the Tigers and Max Scherzer at bay, hoping their hitters will start to, well, hit. The Yankees are hitting a collective .182 with five runs in three games. The game is at Comerica Park in Detroit at 8:00PM Eastern on TBS.

Oct 16

LCS, Day Four

The Tigers look to increase their 2 – 0 advantage over the Yankees tonight at Comerica Park in Detroit at 8:00PM Eastern. With Justin Verlander starting you have to like their chances. The Yankees send out Phil Hughes to try to stop the bleeding, but unless their hitters start to produce it may not matter who they put on the mound. From an AP story:

Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher are a combined 12 for 107 — for a .112 batting average — in the playoffs.

Add catcher Russell Martin, and five regulars are below .200, hitting a combined 17 for 133 with 42 strikeouts — 25 more strikeouts than hits. They have a combined seven RBIs, four of those by Cano.

Dodgers fans can relate. That’s reminiscent of what the Dodgers did for about half of September.

Update: Hoping to jump-start the hitting, Yankees’ manager Girardi has benched A-Rod and Swisher for tonight’s game, replacing them with Brett Gardner in left field and Eric Chavez at third base. Gardner will lead off in place of the injured Jeter, Ichiro moves to right field and hits second, Chavez will hit seventh, and Eduardo Nunez will play short and hit ninth.

Oct 14

LCS, Day Two

Tiger at Yankees. Anibal Sanchez for the Tigers and old friend Hiroki Kuroda for the Yankees. I’m happy for Kuroda getting a chance to pitch in the LCS, but I hope he leaves with the game tied and the Yankees blow it after he’s out.

Oh, in case you haven’t heard, the Yankees have some guy named Jeter playing shortstop. He broke his ankle in the twelfth inning of last night’s game and he’s out for the year.

Cardinals at Giants. Madison Bumgarner for the Giants and Lance Lynn for the Cardinals. The teams split their six games during the regular season.

Update: David Pinto at Baseball Musings has excellent previews of these two series. Here’s the one for the Cardinals – Giants, and here’s the one for the Tigers – Yankees.

Oct 13

LCS, Day One

Only one game today, Tigers v. Yankees at Yankee Stadium at 8:00PM Eastern. It’s Doug Fister for the Tigers and Andy Pettitte for the Yankees. Pettitte’s next win in the postseason will be his 20th, which is astonishing, but is also symbolic of the inflation in the number of postseason games since 1995 when the Division Series was added as a result of splitting the leagues into three divisions each. The leader before the new playoff series were adopted was Whitey Ford with 10 wins (the League Championship Series started in 1969).

The Tigers have Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera; the Yankees have the Rodriguez soap opera plus Jeter and Granderson and Swisher and Texeira and Cano.