Giants at Nationals, 12:00PM PT, TV: FS1
The Giants start 13-year veteran Jake Peavy, the mid-season acquisition who was 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA for the Red Sox but 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA when he got back to the National League with the Giants. Their ace, Bumgarner, pitched and won the wild card game on Wednesday and won’t be available until Game 3 of this series on Monday. The Nationals have had their rotation set for two weeks, and tomorrow they start Stephen Strasburg, who was 14-11 with a 3.14 ERA this season. He’ll be making his postseason debut; in a controversial move the Nats’ management shut him down before the season ended in 2012, the last time the Washington team made the playoffs. (They missed the wild card by four games last season, and Strasburg was recovering from Tommy John surgery anyway).
Cardinals at Dodgers, 3:30PM PT, TV: FS1
Clayton Kershaw vs. Adam Wainwright. The best pitching matchup of any of these four series. We could see a double no-hitter.
Can Molina stop Dee Gordon and the other Dodger base stealers? Can the Dodgers keep from going into another hitting slump like they did last year?
We’ll find out this afternoon.
Tigers at Orioles, 9:00AM PT, TV: TBS
Down one game to none, Detroit sends the second of their three former Cy Young winners, Justin Verlander, out to stop the Orioles and their third-year big leaguer Wei-Yin Chen. Chen was 16-6 with a 3.54 ERA in the regular season, while Verlander had an uncharacteristically bad year, going 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA.
If Detroit loses, they’re in serious trouble. They’d be down 0-2 in a five-game series, and only five times in 44 tries has a team in that position turned the series around and won.
Royals at Angels, 6:30PM PT, TV: TBS
The Royals, fresh off two extra-inning wins, ask rookie Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.20 ERA) to keep their streak going. The Angels, in an 0-1 hole, ask star rookie Matt Shoemaker (16-4, 2.94 ERA) to plug the dike and send the series to Kansas City tied at one game apiece.
The same caveat applies to the Angels as to the Tigers: if they go down two games to none their chances of winning the five-game series are pretty bad.
Tigers at Orioles, 2:30PM PT, TV: TBS
Royals at Angels, 6:00PM PT, TV: TBS
The Os-Tigers matchup appears at first to come down to whether the Tigers’ pitching, starting with Max Scherzer tonight, can hold down the Orioles’ penchant for home runs (they were the only team to hit over 200 dingers this season in either league). Chris Tillman starts for the Orioles.
The hook for the Angels-Royals game tonight is that the starters were college teammates at Long Beach State back in 2004 and took the 49ers to the Super Regionals in the runup to the College World Series. The Angels send out Jared Weaver while the Royals counter with Jason Vargas.
Giants at Pirates, 8:07PM ET, TV: ESPN
The Giants send out Madison Bumgarner and his 18-10, 2.98 ERA to face the Pirates’ Edinson Volquez, who was 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA during the regular season. Bumgarner only faced the Pirates once this season and it was a forgettable outing. On July 28 he gave up five earned runs on six hits in four innings. Volquez (who was briefly a Dodger last season, you may recall) didn’t face the Giants this season, and he’s had minimal success against them over the past few years: he’s winless in nine starts against the Giants since beating them twice in 2008. He’s had a renaissance this season with the Pirates, though.
The Pirates have the second-best home record in all of baseball: they’re 51-30, one back of the Angels’ 52-29. To counter that, the Giants’ Bumgarner has an 11-4 record and a 2.22 ERA in 18 starts away from AT&T Park.
For further discussion of the matchups, I again refer you to Bleacher Report. That’s the same post I linked to yesterday; just scroll down to see the National League discussion.
Update: Here is the full schedule of all championship series games. For some reason MLB and the TV networks are being coy about game times. Nobody seems to know beyond the first day, or else they’re just not telling.
Jon W. has the first two times for the Dodgers-Cardinals series:
Game 1 of the National League Division Series starts at 3:37 p.m. Friday, with Game 2 set for 6:37 p.m. Saturday.
Fox Sports 1 will televise Game 1; MLB Network will televise Game 2. Both games will be aired on ESPN Radio and KLAC AM 570.
I assume those are Pacific time.
Update: Pacific Time it is.
Here we go…
American League Central
The Tigers clinched the division with a 3-0 win over the Twins. Detroit will play Baltimore in the American League Division Series, with Game 1 at Camden Yards scheduled for Thursday on TBS.
The Royals, meanwhile, will host the AL Wild Card game against the A’s on Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. ET on TBS. The winner will head to Los Angeles to play Game 1 of the ALDS against the Angels on Thursday on TBS.
National League Central
The Cardinals clinched the division before they even took the field in Arizona because the Reds beat the Pirates, 4-1. St. Louis will face the Dodgers in the National League Division Series, with Game 1 at Dodger Stadium set for Friday on Fox Sports 1.
The Pirates will host the Giants in the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday at 8:07 p.m. on ESPN. The winner will face the Nationals in the NLDS. Game 1 of that series will be on Friday in Washington on Fox Sports 1.
American League Wild Card
The A’s clinched a playoff berth with a 4-0 victory over the Rangers to claim the second Wild Card. Oakland will head to Kansas City to take on the Royals in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday night at 8:07 p.m. on TBS.
Rockies at Dodgers 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KDOC-56
Greinke’s on the hill for four or five innings as a tuneup. Uribe’s managing. Kershaw’s the pitching coach. Ryu may be the bullpen coach “if he can get him to understand when he calls down,” Mattingly said.
The Rockies send out rookie Christian Bergman, who’s 3-4 with a 5.29 ERA in nine starts this season and coming off a win against the D-Backs in which he gave up two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Ryu is throwing bullpen today and Kershaw will throw a couple of innings in a simulated game. The Dodgers are feeling pretty hopeful that Ryu will be able to start Game Three of the NLDS on October 6.
If you’re interested in what has happened or is still happening elsewhere, here’s MLB’s live blog of the events in Cincinnati between the Pirates and Reds, in Texas between the As and Rangers, in Seattle between the Angels and Mariners, in Chicago between the Royals and White Sox, and in Detroit between the Tigers and Twins. What’s the big deal? Well, there’s a chance that there might be three, three! Game 163 tiebreakers required to settle the playoff seedings and even some of the participants. The possibilities are laid out in mind-numbing detail in that post.
Lineup when available.
By dint of the Pirates defeating the Brewers today, the Dodgers have clinched at least a Wild Card spot in the National League playoffs.
The gory details are at the True Blue LA link above.
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.
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.
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.