Oct 17

ALCS Game Four, 2017

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

Despite yesterday’s resounding win, the Yankees are still down a game in this series. Today RHP Lance McCullers (7-4, 4.25 ERA) takes the hill for the Astros versus the Yankees’ RHP Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 ERA). This will be McCullers’ third postseason appearance; he went 6 1/3 innings in a start against the Royals in the 2015 ALDS and he pitched 3 innings of relief last week against the Red Sox, giving up two runs on three hits. Gray will be making his fourth postseason appearance; he started two games for the As in 2013 and started Game One of this year’s ALDS, going just 3 1/3 innings against the Indians while giving up three runs on three hits and four walks.

Today in Astros’ history:

  • 2004 In Game 4 of the NLCS at Minute Maid Park, Carlos Beltran goes deep in the seventh inning, giving the Astros an eventual 6-5 victory over the Cardinals. With the round-trippers, the Houston center fielder sets a new postseason record, hitting a homer in five consecutive play-off games, and ties Barry Bonds’ 2002 mark with a total of eight play-off round tippers.
  • 2005 The juiced Minute Maid Park crowd, anticipating the Astros’ first National League crown, after the first two batters are quickly retired, is ‘pulperized’ when Albert Pujols hits a two out three-run ninth inning homer. A two-strike single stroked by David Eckstein and a walk worked out by Jim Edmonds set the stage for the Cardinals’ dramatic 5-4 comeback.

Today in Yankees’ history:

  • 1964 The Yankees, who finished with a 99-63 record, fire Yogi Berra after the team drops the World Series to the Cardinals in seven games. The 39 year-old dismissed skipper will join the crosstown Mets as a coach, becoming team’s the manager in 1972, following Gil Hodges’ unexpected death in spring training. At the same time Johnny Keane, who had been rumored in August to be replaced as the Cardinals’ manager by Leo Durocher before the Redbirds surged to win the World Series, surprises team owner Gussie Busch and GM Bob Howsam with a letter of resignation that he had written at the end of September during the height of the pennant race with Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Cincinnati. The former St. Louis skipper will take the Yankee job, which opens as the result of the firing of Yogi Berra.
  • 1985 Billy Martin, who had become the team’s skipper for the fourth time after the Yankees fired Yogi Berra in April, is replaced by Lou Piniella. “Billy the Kid’ piloted the 97-64 Bronx Bombers to a second place finish, ending the season two games behind Toronto.
  • 2000 David Justice’s three-run homer propels the Yankees to their record 37th American League pennant in a come-from-behind victory over the Mariners, 9-7. The victory sets up a Subway Series in New York for the first time in 44 years.
  • 2003 Early editions of the N.Y. Post include an editorial claiming the Yankees lose to Boston and couldn’t get the job done in Game 7 of the ALCS. Although the Bronx Bombers did trail the Red Sox, the team rallies to beat their arch rival in 11 innings, 6-5.
Oct 05

ALDS Games One, 2017

First Game: Red Sox at Astros, 1:00 PM PT, TV: MLBN

Boston got LHP Chris Sale last offseason for precisely this moment: to pitch Game One of a playoff series. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA this season, striking out 308 along the way. This is his first postseason start. He’ll face RHP Justin Verlander, who came to the Astros from the Tigers at the trade deadline, waiving a no-trade clause to do so. He was 15-8 with a 3.36 ERA between his two teams, and he’s been in the postseason a lot; this will be his 17th playoff start.

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

The Yankees start RHP Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 ERA), whom they got from the As at the trade deadline. He wasn’t quite as good (4-7) for them as he had been for his former team (6-5), but he’s had two postseason starts in his past. He’ll face RHP Trevor Bauer (17-9, 4.19 ERA), a surprise starter over their Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber.

Today in baseball history: From Mickey Owen’s passed ball to Al Gionfriddo’s catch to Mickey Mantle’s knee injury to Glenn Burke’s invention of the high five, a lot has happened on the fifth day of October in baseball.

Jul 28

Game 101, 2015

Athletics at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN, CSNCA

Here’s an interesting note which may or may not be taken as true (that’s why they’re called rumors): the Dodgers may listen to trade offers for Yasiel Puig. That’s the hook for the entire post, and there’s not much else there other than what we already knew: the team is unlikely to give up either Seager or Urias but it wants/needs starting pitching. The author thinks it unlikely they’d move Puig, and in fact the same site reported two days ago that the team had assured him he wasn’t on the block. However, that same day Ken Gurnick of MLB reported there had been no such assurances.

I can’t see trading Puig. He’s an excellent outfielder with a lot of potential upside and he’s cheap. He’s being paid $4.5M this year and the Dodgers control his future for three more years for just $19.5M. That’s less than one Crawford-year.

In other trade news of note within the division, the Rockies traded Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects. Since neither team needed a shortstop, why they swapped them must have had more to do with money (Tulo’s owed $113.7M over the next five years) than anything else. None of the other three teams in the division have made any deals yet, at least not ones made public. The next time we see the Angels they’ll have old friend Shane Victorino with them, as he was traded by the Red Sox today.

In tonight’s game it will be Brett Anderson (5-5, 3.33 ERA) going for the Dodgers against his former team, which trots out ace Sonny Gray (10-4, 2.30 ERA). Anderson says and the team agrees that his Achilles tendon is fine now after causing him to leave his last start early. Gray has cooled off some recently. He’s 2-1 with a 3.95 ERA and .232 opponents’ batting average over his last six starts after going 5-3 with a 1.37 ERA and .190 opponents’ batting average over his previous nine starts.

Lineup when available.