After three days of one or two games played, today is the best day of the baseball season because all eight teams remaining in the postseason will play. Four games that take up the better part of your day into early evening if you are on the West Coast.
Thursday’s Postseason Action
So far we have seen two teams lose late leads and two teams win somewhat convincingly. About those two teams that lost leads, this tweet summed up their postseason.
The Cardinals win Game 1 of the NLDS despite trailing 3-1 entering the 8th inning.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 4, 2019
Teams trailing by 2 runs entering the 8th inning are 2-0 this postseason (WSH in NL Wild Card Game). Entering this postseason, teams had a .103 win pct (32-279) in that scenario. h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/YuLyo7VFEk
In the top of the eighth inning, after a leadoff home run by Paul Goldschmidt cut the deficit to one run, the Braves retired the next two hitters. The Cardinals then got three consecutive singles to tie the game 3-3 and it stayed that way going to the ninth inning.
The Cardinals then scored four runs to take what was thought to be a safe lead but then the Braves came back to score three runs but they couldn’t come all the way back.
The Braves have now lost 9 straight postseason openers, extending the longest such streak in postseason history.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 4, 2019
They’ve also lost 10 straight Game 1s (which can include series beyond the first of a given postseason), also the longest such streak in postseason history.
The Cardinals will take a 1-0 lead to their second game against the Braves today.
In the other NLDS Game 1, the Dodgers shutout the Nationals 6-0. You can read TBLA’s recap here.
American League Divisional Series
The four American League teams playing won a combined 407 games this season. The Rays added one more to that total with their win in the AL Wild Card Game.
Rays at Astros - ALDS
The Rays will have Tyler Glasnow make the start today. After being on the injured list from early May until September with a right forearm strain, the 26-year old right-handed pitcher will go against Justin Verlander and the Astros.
If there is a favorite this postseason, it would be the Astros. They led the Majors with 107 wins. They have Gerritt Cole and Zack Greinke following Verlander in their rotation. And they have one of baseball’s best offenses.
They also went through periods this season with many players out with injuries, however Verlander and Cole were constant presences and they made sure that the Astros never hit long periods of poor play.
The Rays won their seasons series against the Astros, taking four of the seven games they played.
Twins at Yankees - ALDS
A rare early matchup of two teams that won 101 or more games this season, the Yankees, who had not won the American League East division since 2012 will play another team with long division winning drought, the Twins. The Twins had not won their division since 2010.
Home runs were a big part of each team’s stories this season, the Twins hit 307 with the Yankees right behind with 306.
The Twins had five players who hit 31 or more home runs, eight players who hit 22 or more home runs and 11 player who hit ten or more home runs. The Yankees had seven players with 21 or more home runs and 14 who hit 11 or more home runs this season.
This will be the sixth time the Twins have played the Yankees in the American League playoffs They have lost to the Yankees in all five prior matches, losing four Divisional Series, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010 and their Wild Card Game in 2017.
And then there is this factual nugget
The Twins' last postseason win was ALDS Game 1 at Yankee Stadium in 2004.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 4, 2019
Here are the starting lineups from that game. pic.twitter.com/uMR61rdbu9
This season, the Yankees won four of the six games they played against each other.
Friday’s schedule - Divisional Series
11:05 a.m. PT: Rays (Tyler Glasnow) @ Astros (Justin Verlander) - Game 1 (FS1)
1:37 p.m.: Cardinals (Jack Flaherty) @ Braves (Mike Foltynewicz) - Game 2 (TBS)
4:07 p.m.: Twins (Jose Berríos) @ Yankees (James Paxton) - Game 1 (MLB Network)
6:37 p.m.: Nationals (Stephen Strasburg) @ Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) - Game 2 (TBS)