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MLB playoffs continue with four Monday games

Oct 7, 2013, 11:02 AM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

ALDS GAME 3: OAKLAND ATHLETICS (1-1) vs. DETROIT TIGERS (1-1) 

Series: Tied at 1-1
Where:
 Comerica Park, Detrioit, MI
Gametime: 1:00 p.m.
TV: MLBN
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Cloudy, 58 degrees, wind 20 mph
Starting pitchers: OAK – Jarrod Parker (12-8, 3.97) / DET – Anibal Sanchez (14-8, 2.57)

Game 2 on Saturday featured the best finish of the 2013 playoffs so far – a walkoff win by the Athletics – but the odds are definitely in Detroit’s favor in Game 3. The Tigers send AL ERA champion Anibal Sanchez to the mound and he’s coming off the best season of his career. Meanwhile the A’s will trot out Jarrod Parker who allowed 15 earned runs in his last three starts, all to teams that didn’t make the playoffs.

The Tigers had the second-best offense in the majors this season and were held scoreless by Sonny Gray in their 1-0 loss on Friday. Parker could be their opportunity to break out as three runs through three games isn’t going to cut it.

The series shifts to Detroit where the weather is appropriate for October baseball. The temperature will be below 60 by first pitch and the winds could reach over 20 miles per hour.

NLDS GAME 4: ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (1-2) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (2-1)

Series: Pirates lead 2-1
Where:
 PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA
Gametime: 3:00 p.m.
TV: TBS
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Partly cloudy, 59 degrees, wind 17 mph
Starting pitchers: STL – Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78) / PIT – Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.26)

It took some magic in the bottom of the eighth on Sunday, but the Pirates now find themselves with an opportunity to advance to the NLCS. The game is in Pittsburgh, the Pirates have won two straight and face a rookie pitcher with only nine MLB starts under his belt.

The last time Michael Wacha took the mound, however, he was brilliant. He took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before a two-out dribbler by Ryan Zimmerman dashed his hopes of making history. Wacha has also pitched nine innings across two outings against the Pirates this year without allowing a run.

Starting a rookie in this series worked out for the Pirates on the road in Game 2 as Gerrit Cole took the win, will Wacha make the Cardinals just as fortunate? Both cities have produced great playoff crowds so far, but that Pittsburgh fanbase with a series victory this close should be special.

ALDS GAME 3: BOSTON RED SOX (2-0) vs. TAMPA BAY RAYS (0-2)  

Series: Red Sox lead 2-0
Where:
 Tropicana Field in Tampa, FL
Gametime: 6:00 p.m.
TV: TBS
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: In a dome
Starting pitchers: BOS – Clay Bucholz (12-1, 1.74) / TB – Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76)

The Red Sox take their 2-0 series lead to Tampa looking to sweep their way into the ALCS. Usually when the Sox go to Tropicana, they are welcomed by a large group of their own fans. If that translates into the postseason, it could make for an interesting scene and a huge advantage for the visitors.

Boston is giving the ball to Clay Bucholz who was their best pitcher this season when he was healthy, and returned to put in a handful of solid starts in September before the year was out. He held a 1.74 ERA and won 12 games in 2013, the only loss coming on Sept. 21 when he gave up two earned runs to the Blue Jays through six innings.

Bucholz was a nightmare for the Rays in the two starts he made against them, pitching eight scoreless innings on April 14 and another five innings of no-run ball on Sept. 10.

Alex Cobb also had a fantastic season on the mound. The 25-year-old held a 2.76 ERA through 143 1/3 total innings and finished the year on a strong note. He allowed just three runs in his last three starts, a span of 23 1/3 frames. He’s a Boston-native and had trouble with his hometown team this year, holding a 5.16 ERA through four starts.

NLDS GAME 4: ATLANTA BRAVES (1-2) vs. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (2-1) 

Series: Dodgers lead 2-1
Where:
 Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA
Gametime: 9:30 p.m.
TV: TBS
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Sunny, 73 degrees, wind 4 mph
Starting pitchers: ATL – Freddy Garcia (4-7, 4.37) / LAD – Clayton Kershaw – (16-9, 1.83)

[Dodgers announced Monday afternoon Kershaw would start instead of Ricky Nolasco, as originally planned]

The Atlanta Braves won 96 games this season despite significant injuries to their starting rotation. Today that may catch up to them as they send veteran Freddy Garcia to the mound in a do-or-die Game 4 in Los Angeles.

The Braves had the early lead in Sunday’s Game 3 loss, but a collapse by rookie Julio Teheran saw it turn into a 13-6 blowout. Garcia will have to try something else against the Dodgers lineup, particularly Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig. Both notched three hits and a pair of RBI on Sunday and both have been scorching so far in the playoffs.

The Dodgers lineup is clicking so well that even Carl Crawford got involved yesterday with a three-run home run. He had six this season, three the last, and has never hit over 19 in his career. If Crawford is hitting big bombs off your starting pitcher, you’re in trouble.

  1. Theophilus T.S. - Oct 7, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Harold Reynolds just said the reason Cardinals’ young pitchers have been so successful is they have had Wainwright and Chris Carpenter to learn from. Which explains why the Nationals’ young pitchers have been so disappointing. Jackson had nothing (useful) to teach.

    • David Proctor - Oct 7, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      “Which explains why the Nationals’ young pitchers have been so disappointing.”

      1. Maybe to you. I think you’re expecting too much if you think they’re “so disappointing.”
      2. Take NOTHING Harold Reynolds says seriously. He’s a bona fide idiot.

      • David Proctor - Oct 7, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        And that’s not to say there’s not room for improvement. There is. But so disappointing? Nah. If they repeated their 2013 numbers every year, I’d take it every time.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Oct 7, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        If you’d take the 2013 ## every time they’d never make the playoffs. Zimmermann has grown up. The others — Strasburg, Gonzalez, Detwiler, Storen, to name most of the offenders — haven’t. Maybe next year but I’ll have to be convinced.

        And Reynolds isn’t wrong about the Cardinals.

    • Jw - Oct 7, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      There’s only one young Nats pitcher who’s been a disappointment. Detwiler.

  2. Section 222 - Oct 7, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Seems to me that the disappointing pitchers for the Nats have been the guys who aren’t young — Haren and Jackson. But I wouldn’t assume that just because those two haven’t been very good on the mound they didn’t have anything useful to impart to the young starters. Those who can’t, teach, and all that.

    Rooting for the Bucs big time today. I scored a ticket to the NLCS game a week from today in Pittsburgh (only if they win the NLDS, of course.) Woo hoo!

    • natsfan1a - Oct 7, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      That’s very cool, 222. I was hoping you’d get to see some postseason baseball in Pittsburgh, given your rooting heritage. Go, Bucs! :-)

      • Section 222 - Oct 7, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        Not looking too likely at this point, with Wainwright pitching Game 5 for the Cards, but hope springs eternal. After all, we had our ace Gio going in Game 5 last year.

      • natsfan1a - Oct 7, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        One never knows. I’ll be watching and rooting for Pittsburgh.

        “Not looking too likely at this point, with Wainwright pitching Game 5 for the Cards, but hope springs eternal. After all, we had our ace Gio going in Game 5 last year.”

  3. David Proctor - Oct 7, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    If we would never make the playoffs with Strasburg posting a 3.00 ERA and better numbers across the board than he did last year and Gio putting up a 3.30 ERA, then we have some SERIOUS problems beyond our pitching. Our pitching outside of Haren this year was plenty good enough to make the playoffs–and go far in them. Our hitting was not.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Oct 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      Exactly.

  4. breakbad1 - Oct 7, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Last February, the MLB TV gang gathered to pick their division winners for the upcoming 2013 season. Five people in a row picked Washington to win the NL East. Harold said “you all are drinking the Kool Aid, but I’m looking at how much the teams improved from year to year. And Atlanta’s front office was smarter than Washington. So I’m picking the Braves.”

    He was right. I can’t stand that he was right, but he was.

    • therealjohnc - Oct 7, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      Broken clocks and all that.

      Chances are, he was touting the Atlanta front office for trading for Justin Upton, signing B.J. Upton, bringing back Paul Maholm and working with Brandon Beachy’s rehab for a rotation spot. J-Up turned out to be a disappointment (he had two great months and four lousy ones), B.J. was a disaster (5 years, $80 million for a pinch-hitter, pinch-runner and late inning defensive replacement? Just imagine the howls if Rizzo had signed that deal after also signing the Dan Uggla contract!), and Maholm was so bad that the Braves are starting Freddy Garcia tonight with their season on the line. Beachy so far has been a cautionary reminder that pitchers don’t always come back from “Tommy John” surgery. He wasn’t praising them for Evan Gattis, Chris Johnson, etc – nobody saw those guys coming. Which is baseball, basically.

      But if you get the right answer (Atlanta wins the Division), the fact that you used a divining rod or flipped a coin to get it doesn’t matter – you still get bragging rights.

    • David Proctor - Oct 7, 2013 at 6:50 PM

      5 years / 75.25 mil for a .170 hitter sure was smart.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Oct 7, 2013 at 7:51 PM

        DP – And amazingly, people were toting for either Upton in DC… I’m so glad we didnt sign either of them.

  5. Dave - Oct 7, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Who is this Wacha creature? He has held the Pirates hitless for seven innings.

    I’m getting an uneasy feeling here… Let’s go, Bucs!

  6. IsawTeddywin - Oct 7, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Watcha is pitching another no hitter?

  7. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 7, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    So, after seven innings in Pittsburgh, anyone else agree that this Michael Wacha guy — who almost no-hit the Nats a week ago — seems to be a pretty good pitcher?

    • therealjohnc - Oct 7, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      Well, when he nearly no-hit the Nats, it was taken as a sign that the Nats were terrible. But I would have to say that the kid (well, a kid to me anyway) can really pitch.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Oct 7, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        Exactly (even having given up the HR in the 8th).

      • natsfan1a - Oct 7, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        I had similar thoughts as the no-no was going on.

  8. natsfan1a - Oct 7, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Actually, one couldn’t help but think of the Nats game as the announcers wouldn’t shut up about it. :-)

  9. letswin3 - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    I have an opinion of what went wrong in ’13. It was Danny, Duke, Henry and Adam. Sure, there were several other contributing factors, like an ineffective bench, Haren’s two different seasons and the spate of injuries (although all clubs have to live with injuries), but those 4 guys made up 16% of the roster without contributing their 16% in performance. Couple that with Rizzo’s unwillingness to cut his loses sooner rather than later, and you have a formula for missing the October fun days. And in ALR’s case, Rizzo rode that horse till it became an albatross. Mark my words, if Adam isn’t packaged in a trade in this off-season, he will have to be relegated to the bench before the end of June next season…..he has no excuses……he’s just spent.

    The nucleus of a playoff team is here, and with some tweaking (I didn’t say twerking) and the addition of a more demanding skipper, 2014 can be as much fun as 2012 was. Oh yeah, one more thing, it’s time to change the 7th inning stretch song…….Mikey Morse is gone and he should have packed that song in his bags when he left for the west coast.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    And Justin Upton strikes out to end the Braves season! There will be no more chopping in Atlanta this year. After all is said and done they played a total of three more games than the Nats did. Ha!

    • karlkolchak - Oct 8, 2013 at 4:38 AM

      Ha! Just as I predicted back during the Harper beanball war–that it was a symptom of the Braves’s insecurity and lack of confidence, and that they would likely be quickly eliminated from the playoffs. Good riddance to what has become a very unlikeable team.

    • natsfan1a - Oct 8, 2013 at 6:36 AM

      And one fewer in the postseason, but who’s counting? :-)

  11. natsfan1a - Oct 8, 2013 at 6:34 AM

    Couldn’t stay up for the end, but delighted to see that the lead held. But…but…who will enforce the unwritten rules for the rest of the postseason? :-)

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