Oct 7, 2013, 11:02 AM EST
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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