All the division series are in action today, but three could end. It's a feast of baseball if you've got the day off, or have an understanding boss...
10:07am Arizona time, MLB Network. Series tied 1-1.
This is the only series which we know will still be going tomorrow, the A's having held their own against Justin Verlander, thanks to a sterling performance from Sonny Gray, then walked it off against the Tigers bullpen. That gained them a split of the games in Oakland, and they'll look to build on it behind former Diamondback Parker. He had a crappy first couple of months in the regular season, but a 3.33 ERA from June on, though two of his last three outings were 4.1 IP, 7 ER - not exactly a great stage-setter. Sanchez, of course, has a D-back connection too, having no-hit us is 2006.
12:07pm Arizona time, TBS. Pirates lead 2-1.
Pittsburgh can reach the Championship Series for the first time in 1992, before what's sure to be another packed and fanatical crowd at PNC Park. History would suggest they'r not going to do it, because the Pirates have lost Morton's last seven starts against the Cardinals, over which time, he is 0-6 with a 6.82 ERA. The Cardinals will seek to get their offense going: after leading the league in hitting with RISP during the regular season, they are just 3-for-20 in the same situation so far this series. It's almost like clutch hitting isn't a reproducible skill or some nonsense like that.
3:07pm Arizona time. TBS. Red Sox lead 2-0.
The Rays pitching has failed them in the first two games, the Red Sox pounding out 19 runs on 25 hits in their 16 innings. But if anyone can win three consecutive elimination games, it's probably Tampa, who won back-to-back games just like that, to reach the division series. Still, they're going to have to beat Buchholz. The Red Sox were 14-2 in his starts this season, and he blanked the Rays over 13 innings of five-hit ball, with 17 strikeouts, over his two starts against them. However, Tampa will probably be glad to be home, having been through five cities in 12 days, and covered over 5,600 miles since the last time they were there.
RHP, 4-7, 4.37
6:37pm Arizona time, TBS. Dodgers lead 1-1.
As per usual: let's go, anyonebuttheDodgers, let's go [Clap-clap]. Not that this helped the Braves last night, who got their asses handed to them in Los Angeles. I haven't seen Teheran get bombed so badly since the Iraq-Iran war*, with the Dodgers scoring their most runs in the post-season since Game 2 of the 1956 World Series. Atlanta didn't allow more than ten runs in the entire regular season, so this must have been a nasty experience - and one from which they need to bounce back immediately. Even if they win tonight, they then face Kershaw in Game 5. Which would at least take him out of the early NLCS action, so let's hope Atlanta get to go home.
In a late pitching change, Kershaw will be starting for the Dodgers on short rest rather than Ricky Nolasco. This means they will still be able to use Greinke on regular rest for Game 5 if needed, but they'll be hoping to finish off the Braves tonight, allowing them to go with Kershaw and Greinke in the first two games of the NLCS - and with that definitely now going to Game 5, it could give them an edge. Hopefully, this move will bite them in the ass, but they Braves will need Garcia to pitch a great deal better than Teheran did yesterday.
* - Historical accuracy of this statement not guaranteed.