The MLB playoffs have been exciting so far, with multiple walkoffs and star players showing up all across the league. I can't imagine many of you enjoyed seeing Josh Donaldson joyfully racing home to win the series for Toronto last night. That his winning run dropped the Rangers’ total run differential, postseason and regular season combined, to -4, however, is a bit satisfying, if frustrating. Today two more series’ could wrap up, with one more tied up.
The Nationals assembled a set of starting pitchers over the last two years that looked as imposing as any in the league. Injuries and ineffectiveness have rendered them far less dominant than hoped, but Gio Gonzalez has been an unlucky stud for Washington as he has nearly every year. Despite a 12.5% HR/FB percentage far above his career average, Gio can be lockdown. Kenta Maeda and his outrageously shifty fastballs will oppose him. If nothing else, tune in for the first inning to see if Maeda’s fellow rookie Corey Seager will make it three straight first inning home runs this series.
|WASHINGTON NATIONALS||LOS ANGELES DODGERS|
|Trea Turner - CF||Howie Kendrick - LF|
|Jayson Werth - LF||Justin Turner - 3B|
|Daniel Murphy - 2B||Corey Seager - SS|
|Bryce Harper - RF||Yasiel Puig - RF|
|Anthony Rendon - 3B||Adrian Gonzalez - 1B|
|Ryan Zimmerman - 1B||Yasmani Grandal - C|
|Danny Espinosa - SS||Charlie Culberson - 2B|
|Jose Lobaton - C||Joc Pederson - CF|
|Gio Gonzalez - LHP||Kenta Maeda - RHP|
FiveThirtyEight: 58% Dodgers win.
Josh Tomlin’s nickname, the internet tells me, is ‘Little Cowboy.’ There are a number of questions I have, Cowboys & Indians jokes notwithstanding, but for baseball purposes this is an issue for Cleveland. Tomlin (aka not Carlos Carrasco) starting a playoff game is one of the cracks showing due to Cleveland’s brutal injury luck. Boston’s unpredictable sometimes long reliever Clay Bucholz will try to extend PAHPI’s goodbye tour. This could be a high scoring affair.
|CLEVELAND INDIANS||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Carlos Santana - DH||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Jason Kipnis - 2B||Brock Holt - 3B|
|Francisco Lindor - SS||Mookie Betts - RF|
|Mike Napoli - 1B||David Ortiz - DH|
|Jose Ramirez - 3B||Hanley Ramirez - 1B|
|Lonnie Chisenhall - RF||Xander Bogaerts - SS|
|Coco Crisp - LF||Andrew Benintendi - LF|
|Tyler Naquin - CF||Sandy Leon - C|
|Roberto Perez - C||Jackie Bradley - CF|
|Josh Tomlin - RHP||Clay Buchholz - RHP|
FiveThirtyEight: 59% Boston win.
Despite being, on paper, arguably a matchup of the best team in the playoffs vs the worst, this seems likely to be the most exciting matchup of the night. Jake Arrieta vs. Madison Bumgarner, in a showdown of players who have had dominant performances in the playoffs. If you like beards, bays, and traveling bleacher bums this is the game for you.
|CHICAGO CUBS||SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS|
|Dexter Fowler - CF||Denard Span - CF|
|Kris Bryant - 3B||Brandon Belt - 1B|
|Anthony Rizzo - 1B||Buster Posey - C|
|Jorge Soler - LF||Hunter Pence - RF|
|Ben Zobrist - RF||Angel Pagan - LF|
|Addison Russell - SS||Brandon Crawford - SS|
|Javier Baez - 2B||Joe Panik - 2B|
|Miguel Montero - C||Conor Gillaspie - 3B|
|Jake Arrieta - RHP||Madison Bumgarner - LHP|
FiveThirtyEight: 52% Cubs win.