As if this season has not been weird enough, neutral site postseason games are here to hammer the point home. The lack of fans has taken away from the playoff environment, but each pitch carries as much weight as any other year.
After a two-game appetizer on Monday, we’ve got a four-course meal on our hands today. Two teams will look to even their series, while four others attempt to win game one.
Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves, 2:08 PM —Fox Sports 1
Miami’s four game sweep of the Orioles was an early pain point for Baltimore, but that stretch is a bit easier to stomach with the Fish in the second round of the playoffs. The Marlins made quick work of the Cubs with back-to-back wins at Wrigley Field, but wins over the Braves may not come as easy.
The Braves also swept an NL Central opponent to earn their spot in the second round. Atlanta kept Cincinnati off the scoreboard in both of their first round victories before securing a matchup with Miami. Atlanta finished 35-25 to clinch the second seed in the National League.
Max Fried will try to extend the Braves’ shutout streak to three. The dominant lefty posted a 7-0 record with a 2.25 ERA this season. Fried will face off against Sandy Alcantara. Alcantara holds a more modest record at 3-2, but his 3.00 ERA through seven starts is nothing to take lightly.
Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics, 4:37 PM — TBS
The Astros and A’s will pick back up after a high scoring game one. The Astros finished the regular season with a losing record (29-31), but benefited from facing a franchise with a long postseason losing streak. The Astros swept the Twins, and somehow used that as an opportunity to pump their chests. Houston clearly seems motivated to prove their World Series title was not a fluke (and by “fluke” I mean obtained by cheating).
The A’s should have America behind them this series. Oakland needed all three games to knock off the White Sox in the first round, and will need another extended series after dropping game one yesterday. Sean Manaea will get the nod for Oakland while Framber Valdez starts for Houston.
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays, 8:10 PM — TBS
The second game of this inner division matchup will look a lot different on the mound for New York. After the Yankees started perennial ace Gerrit Cole in game one, the Yanks will send out their youngest starter in postseason history. Deivi Garcia is only twenty-one years old and did not make his MLB debut until August 30. Nevertheless, Garcia will be the guy for New York with Masahiro Tanaka getting pushed to game three.
Garcia will face off against Tyler Glasnow. It’s difficult to say anything about Glasnow without mentioning the Pirates dealing the starter and Austin Meadows to Tampa in exchange for Chris Archer. Cole, Glasnow and Tampa Bay’s game three starter Charlie Morton all called Pittsburgh home at one point. Hopefully that thought will make seeing any former Orioles in the postseason a bit easier.
San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers, 9:38 PM — Fox Sports 1
Today’s “main event” appropriately features the two top teams from California. San Diego bat flipped their way to a series win in game three against St. Louis, while the Dodgers took care of business against Milwaukee. Our old pal Manny Machado has a new middle-infield best friend in Fernando Tatis Jr. (sorry, Jonathan Schoop), and the Padres are not lacking in pop.
The Dodgers will send Walker Buehler to the mound tonight and save ace Clayton Kershaw for game two. Buehler battled a blister over four innings in LA’s first series, and could be limited again this evening. The Padres had not announced a starter as of Monday evening, but the story has revolved around their offense this season. “Slam Diego” has made quite an impression, but Mookie Betts and the Dodgers have the firepower to compete with anyone.