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Playoff Gameday Thread, #7: All baseball, all the time

Four more baseball games for us to enjoy today, as there will be no sweeps in the Division Series this year.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
10:07am, FS1. Game 4: Houston leads 2-1
Yordani Ventura
RHP, 13-8, 4.08
Lance McCullers
LHP, 6-7, 3.22
Alcides Escobar - SS Jose Altuve - 2B
Ben Zobrist - 2B George Springer - RF
Lorenzo Cain - CF Carlos Correa - SS
Eric Hosmer - 1B Colby Rasmus - LF
Kendrys Morales - DH Evan Gattis - DH
Mike Moustakas - 3B Carlos Gomez - CF
Salvador Perez - C Luis Valbuena - 3B
Alex Gordon - LF Chris Carter - 1B
Alex Rios - RF Jason Castro - C

After Dallas Keuchel was successful in leading the Astros to a win in Game 3 yesterday, they can become the first team to book their place in the Championship Series, with a win in Game 4. Alternatively, if the Royals want to take the series back to Kansas City, they need to do something they haven't managed all year: beat the Astros in Houston, where they are 0-4 this season after yesterday's defeat, having been outscored 20-8. And McCullers lost just one decision at Minute Maid Park this season, where he has a 1.86 ERA. The Royals have hit only .238 this series, more than 30 points below the mark posted by the roster during the regular campaign.

1:07pm, MLB Network. Game 4: Texas leads 2-1
R.A. Dickey
RHP, 11-11, 3.91
Derek Holland
LHP, 4-3, 4.91
Ben Revere - LF Delino DeShields Jr. - CF
Josh Donaldson - 3B Shin-Soo Choo - RF
Jose Bautista - RF Prince Fielder - DH
Edwin Encarnacion - DH Mitch Moreland - 1B
Chris Colabello - 1B Elvis Andrus - SS
Troy Tulowitzki - SS Josh Hamilton - LF
Russell Martin - C Robinson Chirinos - C
Kevin Pillar - CF Rougned Odor - 2B
Ryan Goins - 2B Hanser Alberto - 3B

Having successfully staved off elimination yesterday with their first post-season win in almost 22 years, we get to see the joy of a knuckleballer pitching in the post-season. Dickey will be the first such since Tim Wakefield's disastrous appearance in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS for the Boston Red Sox, when he didn't get through three innings. All told, Wakefield had a 6.75 ERA over his 18 post-season appearances, so we'll see if Dickey can do any better. Holland hasn't actually been up to much down the stretch, but the Blue Jays offense is still not firing on all cylinders, with its OPS still below .600 at this point.

3:07pm, TBS. Game 3: Series tied 1-1
Michael Wacha
RHP, 17-7, 3.38
Jake Arrieta
RHP, 22-6, 1.77
Matt Carpenter - 3B Dexter Fowler - CF
Stephen Piscotty - 1B Jorge Soler - RF
Matt Holliday - LF Kris Bryant - 3B
Jason Heyward - RF Anthony Rizzo - 1B
Jhonny Peralta - SS Starlin Castro - 2B
Tommy Pham - CF Kyle Schwarber - LF
Yadier Molina - C Addison Russell - SS
Kolten Wong - 2B Miguel Montero - C
Michael Wacha - RHP Jake Arrieta - RHP

This one is probably the game to which I'm most looking forward, and should be an excellent pitching duel. Which, of course, means the final score will actually be 11-10 or something! Arrieta was everything the Cubs could have expected in the wild-card game, and can give them the chance to clinch the series at home tomorrow. But Wacha achieved potential over a full season in 2015, though he did seem to run out of gas down the stretch, with a September ERA of 7.88. However, he hasn't pitched in October, so should be fully rested for this crucial contest.

5:37pm, TBS. Game 3: Series tied 1-1
Brett Anderson
LHP, 10-9, 3.69
Matt Harvey
RHP, 13-8, 2.71
Howie Kendrick - 2B Curtis Granderson - RF
Jimmy Rollins - SS David Wright - 3B
Adrian Gonzalez - 1B Daniel Murphy - 2B
Justin Turner - 3B Yoenis Cespedes - LF
Andre Ethier - RF Lucas Duda - 1B
Carl Crawford - LF Travis d'Arnaud - C
Yasmani Grandal - C Wilmer Flores - SS
Enrique Hernandez - CF Juan Lagares - CF
Brett Anderson - LHP Matt Harvey - RHP

Let's go, Mets! If you were on the fence about this series - and, if so, I can only presume you are also "on the fence" about nuclear war and kiddie porn - Saturday night's game should have convinced you why the Dodgers are the Evil Empire. They may or may not be without the services of Darth Utley, whose appeal against a two-game suspension for his leg-breaking spear in Game 4, is unlikely to be heard today. I hope he does get to play, simply because I want to hear the reaction he gets at Citi Field, and also see whether Harvey opts to retaliate. It's certainly going to be a full-on playoff atmosphere there tonight. At the risk of repeating myself: let's go, Mets!