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Friday Division Series open thread

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Today could be the last day of the season that has four MLB games. Enjoy them! Or as much of them as you can stand.

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels
Have you heard of this guy Verlander? He’s pretty good.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

If your interest and your work life allows, you will be able to watch playoff baseball straight through from 2:05 until whenever the 9:37 game between the Nationals and Dodgers ends. This could be the last day of the year where there are four MLB games to watch, depending on whether the two NLDS matchups go beyond three games. There won’t be many more such days either way.

The schedule lines up like this:

  • Rays at Astros, 2:05
  • Cardinals at Braves, 4:37
  • Twins at Yankees, 7:07
  • Nationals at Dodgers, 9:37

Obviously, that there might be hours of uninterrupted baseball depends on none of the games ending up being shorter than 2:30. It’s not impossible that a game could go so briskly, though that’s not the usual pattern. It also could rain over one of the three stadiums hosting a game today that has no roof. You never know.

The Rays-Astros game is on FS1, while Twins-Yankees will air on MLB Network. Both of the National League games will be on TBS.

Starting lineups for the teams that have put them out as of this writing:

Rays lineup

  1. Austin Meadows - RF
  2. Tommy Phan - LF
  3. Ji-Man Choi - 1B
  4. Yandy Diaz - DH
  5. Brandon Lowe - 2B
  6. Travis d’Arnaud - C
  7. Joey Wendle - 3B
  8. Kevin Kiermaier - CF
  9. Willy Adames - SS

The Rays starting pitcher is Tyler Glasnow, who struck out 76 batters in 60.2 big league innings this season. This feat would be a lot more impressive to share if Justin Verlander, who struck out 300 batters in 223 innings, was not the Astros starter today.

Astros lineup

  1. George Springer - CF
  2. Jose Altuve - 2B
  3. Michael Brantley - LF
  4. Alex Bregman - 3B
  5. Yordan Alvarez - DH
  6. Yuli Gurriel - 1B
  7. Carlos Correa - SS
  8. Robinson Chirinos - C
  9. Josh Reddick - RF

No one knows better than Orioles fans that Verlander’s team is not guaranteed to win a postseason game just because he’s starting. If he’s pitching to the same form he’s shown throughout the 2019 season, though, the Rays are going to have a hard time in a series where they might potentially face Verlander in two different games.

Cardinals lineup

  1. Dexter Fowler - RF
  2. Tommy Edman - 3B
  3. Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
  4. Marcell Ozuna - LF
  5. Yadier Molina - C
  6. Kolten Wong - 2B
  7. Paul DeJong - SS
  8. Harrison Bader - CF
  9. Jack Flaherty - RHP

Jack Flaherty posted a 2.75 ERA over 33 starts this season, with 231 strikeouts in 196.1 innings and a 0.968 WHIP. This is another feat that would seem to be a lot more impressive if not for the fact that Verlander’s numbers were better while facing AL lineups. Still, the Cardinals would seem to be in good hands with Flaherty, with a chance to go 2-0 after two road games. Too bad for Nick Markakis and Darren O’Day.

Braves lineup

  1. Ronald Acuna Jr. - CF
  2. Ozzie Albies - 2B
  3. Freddie Freeman - 1B
  4. Josh Donaldson - 3B
  5. Nick Markakis - LF
  6. Matt Joyce - RF
  7. Brian McCann - C
  8. Dansby Swanson - SS
  9. Mike Foltynewicz - RHP

Foltynewicz was, uh, not as good in the 2019 season.