The National League joins in on the playoff fun as they kick off their respective division series this evening, while the American League continues on to game 2.
In the early game, the Rangers will try to bounce back from a 10-1 drubbing at the hands of the Blue Jays yesterday. Toronto sends J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18) to the hill for game 2. His last post-season appearance came all the way back in the 2009 World Series, where he pitched 2.2 innings of relief for the Phillies. Texas will counter with Yu Darvish (7-5, 3.41). Darvish has had a solid season after missing all of 2015 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. His only playoff appearance was back in the 2012 Wild Card game, where he gave up 2 runs in 6.2 innings in a loss to Baltimore. First pitch is at 1:00 pm ET on TBS.
In the second game, Boston will send David Price (17-9, 3.99) to the hill in hopes of keeping the ball in the yard, as a dinger-fest broke out in Cleveland last night. Price brings a 5.12 career post-season ERA into the game, so he will try to shake off the "can’t pitch in the playoffs" stigma that he has carried throughout his career. His opponent will be Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14). Kluber is having another fantastic season in Cleveland, but has battled a quad strain recently so hopefully that won’t hinder him today. This is the former Cy Young winner’s first career playoff appearance. First pitch is at 4:30 PM ET on TBS
In the National League, the first division series kicks off with the Los Angeles Dodgers visiting our Nation’s capitol to face the Nationals. After battling injuries all season, the Dodgers stormed through the second half to win the NL West. They will send Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69) to the mound in game 1. Kershaw was limited by a back injury that sat him down in the middle of the season but he was just as dominant as always in his return to the rotation, shown by his 11 walk, 172 strikeout performance.
The Nationals have been consistently solid all season, but have dealt with late-season injuries. Bryce Harper may or may not be playing through a shoulder injury, catcher Wilson Ramos tore his ACL in the final week of the season, and Stephen Strasburg will miss this series with elbow discomfort. They will counter the Dodgers’ ace with an ace of their own in Max Scherzer (20-7, 2.96). He brings a career 3.73 post-season ERA to the game, with his last appearance being in the 2014 ALDS. First pitch is at 5:30 PM ET on Fox Sports 1.
In the late game, the San Francisco Giants bring their even-year shenanigans to the North Side to face the Cubs, who hope to finally break their 108-year curse (lol). The Giants made it to this point on the back of another outstanding post-season outing by Madison Bumgarner and a clutch 3-run bomb by Connor Gillaspie in the Wild Card game against the New York Mets. The Giants will send our old friend Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79) to the hill for game 1. Cueto has been outstanding in his first season on the West coast, and hopes to continue his success from his last post-season start where he gave up 1-run in a complete game victory in game 2 of the 2015 World Series. In 24 career starts against the Cubs, Cueto brings a 3.24 ERA.
Chicago was the best team in baseball this season, winning 103 games and clinching the division in like May or something. The Cubs made it all the way to the NLCS in 2015 before being swept by the Mets. They will send Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44) to the mound, who has been outstanding in his second season in Chicago. He brings a 2.85 career post-season ERA in that spans 98 innings.
It’s a full day of baseball with four great pitching match ups. Take off work, watch some baseball, and join us in the thread. Let’s go teams! You’re our favorite baseball!