Oct 03

Wild Card Games, 2017

Tuesday, October 3: Twins at Yankees, 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, TV & Radio: ESPN

I think it’s fair to say the Twins are the surprise team in these playoffs. The Yankees beat them 4-2 in the season series, including a three-game sweep two weeks ago. But as the prospectuses tell us, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results,” so the Twins and Yankees have an equal chance of winning a single game against one another. Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of the two teams.

The Twins probably feel good about pitching RHP Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28 ERA) since he’s had eight previous post-season appearances including two starts. On the other hand, the most recent of those was in 2009 with the Angels. The Yankees counter with RHP Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA), who’s in his third year in the big leagues but his first postseason at any level.

Wednesday, October 4: Diamondbacks at Rockies, 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, TV: TBS; Radio: ESPN

These two teams have been locked into the Wild Card game since midsummer when it became apparent they’d be chasing the Dodgers for the NL West title all season. There were only two other teams who came close to catching them, the Brewers and the Cardinals, falling short by one and four games respectively. It’s astonishing to note that the NL only had seven teams finish above .500 — the three division leaders, the Rockies, D-backs, Brewers and Redbirds.

Pitching for the Diamondbacks in Coors Field will be RHP Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20 ERA), one of five 17-game winners in the big leagues this season (there were four 18-game winners; no one won more). His opponent will be RHP Jon Gray (10-4, 2.67 ERA). Greinke is 3-3 with a 3.55 ERA in nine postseason appearances; this will be Gray’s first. Gray’s on a 13-game run of allowing three runs or fewer and has gone 4-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his last five starts. Greinke is 1-1 with a 3.90 ERA over his last five.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1947 In Game 4 of the Fall Classic, Bill Bevens comes within one out of pitching the first no-hitter in World Series history. The Yankee hurler loses his claim to fame and the game when Cookie Lavagetto, pinch-hitting for Eddie Stanky, hits a two-out ninth-inning double, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 victory.
  • 1951 In Game 3 of National League play-off series at the Polo Grounds, Bobby Thomson’s one-out three-run homer beats the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth, 5-4, and the Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant. The round-tripper, better known as the ‘shot heard around the world’, becomes one of the famous home runs in baseball history.

  • 1962 At Dodger Stadium, the Giants beat Los Angeles, 6-4, to take the rubber game of the best-of-three National League playoffs, clinching the National League pennant. LA shortstop Maury Wills sets a major league record for the most games played in a season, appearing in all of his team’s 165 games.
  • 1972 Surpassing Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente appears in his 2,433rd game for the most ever played by a Pirate. Sadly, it will be the last regular season game the Pittsburgh outfielder will ever play as he will be killed in a plane crash during the off-season.
  • 1976 After being at the Dodger’s helm for 23 years, Walter Alston’s managerial career comes to an end when the team drops a 3-2 decision to the Padres, finishing the campaign 10 games behind the Reds. During his tenure, which began in Brooklyn in 1954, the skipper known as Smokey to his players compiles a 2040-1613 (.523) record en route to capturing seven pennants and four World Series titles.

There are a lot of other things that happened on this day in baseball history; you can see the rest at National Pastime.

Oct 30

World Series Game Six

One way or another, the Series will end at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918. Either the Sox win tonight in six or the Cardinals win tonight to force a Game Seven. But it too will be played at Fenway, and as a fan I’d like to see it. Game Seven is evocative of so many previous ones — Mazeroski’s home run in 1960, McCovey’s line drive caught by Bobby Richardson in 1962, Koufax’s win in 1965 on Lou Johnson’s home run in the fourth inning, Lolich outdueling Gibson in 1968, Jack Morris’s ten-inning 1-0 win in 1991, and Luis Gonzalez’s dunker off Mariano Rivera in 2001.

So I’m rooting for the Cardinals tonight. It’s hard, but I’m gonna do it. They send out rookie star Michael Wacha, and the Sox counter with John Lackey. Ortiz goes back to DH for the Red Sox and Napoli plays first base. For the Cardinals Allen Craig is the DH while Mike Adams plays first base.

St. Louis at Boston 2:00pm HST, 5:00pm Pacific, 8:00pm Eastern on Fox.

Oct 28

World Series Game Five

“On paper, this projects as a low-scoring game. The Cards are batting just .235 as a team this series. The Red Sox are even worse at .189.”

Boston at St. Louis, 1:30PM HST, 4:30PM Pacific, 7:30PM Eastern on Fox.

The Sox’ pitcher is Jon Lester; the Cardinals’ pitcher is Adam Wainwright.

In two World Series starts, Lester has yet to allow a run, including pitching 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Cards in Game 1.


Wainwright . . . struggled in the opener, allowing five runs (three earned) in five innings.

Oct 27


Young Mr. Wong had a wonderful career at the University of Hawai’i, and if he learns to hit in the big leagues he’ll have a long career there, I’m sure. But this was not the best memory he’ll take away from the 2013 World Series. The worst of it is that his run was meaningless; the Cards needed two to tie the game, so there was no need for him to be stretching his lead.

So now we go to Game Five tomorrow in St. Louis, all tied up at two games apiece.

Oct 27

World Series Game Four

Shake it off, Boston. If you want to win this Series you have to get over that ninth-inning calamity. Hey, if David Ross had been catching he might not have thrown the ball into left field in the first place, which would have ended the play right there.

The Red Sox and the Cardinals are back at it at 2:00pm HST, 5:00pm PT, 8:00pm ET on Fox.

Clay Buchholz apparently has a tired arm, but he gets the start for the Sox regardless. The Cards send Lance Lynn to the mound on 11 days rest.

Oct 26

Wotta ending, huh?

The Cardinals’ Allen Craig was awarded home plate after an obstruction call at third base kept him from advancing cleanly on a wild throw from Saltalamacchia and the Cards won Game Two 5 – 4 to take a two games to one lead in the World Series.

That last play is going to be remembered in World Series lore for quite a while.

Oct 26

World Series Game Three

The Series moves to St. Louis and Game Three between the Red Sox and the Cardinals begins at 1:30pm HST, 4:30pm PT, 7:30pm ET. I was hoping against hope for a day game at least during the weekend, but no. MLB doesn’t want to go up against college football on Saturday or the NFL on Sunday, I guess.

The Sox send out 32 year old Jake Peavy, who’s won an NL Cy Young award and two ERA titles but hasn’t been very successful in previous postseason appearances. The Cardinals counter with 25 year old Joe Kelly, who hasn’t thrown a pitch in live action since October 16 and is in only his second major league season.

Because the game is in a National League city there’s no designated hitter. That means Big Papi David Ortiz plays first base for the Red Sox and Mike Napoli sits down. That might or might not make a difference defensively, and it certainly will reduce the Bostons’ offensive potential.

Oct 23

World Series Game One

St. Louis at Boston, 1:30pm HST, 4:30pm PST, 7:30pm EST on Fox.

David Pinto has a good analysis of the two teams, as does Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.

One more thing to think about: this World Series is the last hurrah for Tim McCarver of Fox; he’s announced his retirement at the end of the season.

Oct 09

NLDS Decision Day

It’s Pirates v. Cardinals to see who gets to play the Dodgers in the NLCS. The Pirates start rookie Gerrit Cole, who did a fine job in Game Two, and the Cardinals put up Adam Wainwright, the ace of their staff.

Because the two teams are both in the Central Division, they’ve played each other a lot. In fact:

“So through 23 games, the Bucs have 12 wins and the Cards have 11. On the scoreboard, including this NLDS, it’s St. Louis 102, Pittsburgh 99.

More important than all of that, it’s 2-2 with one more to play.

Game Time 8:00PM ET, 5:00PM PT, 2:00PM HST on TBS.