By the time Saturday’s four scheduled games are all said and done, three teams could have potentially punched their tickets to the next round. The Phillies, Astros, and Padres all have two of the three necessary wins. Any of Atlanta, the Mariners, and the Dodgers could be done for the year. Only the Guardians-Yankees series, knotted at a game apiece headed into its third game, cannot possibly end today.
That’s a busy day of baseball. It’s potentially the last such day of the season. There are four games scheduled tomorrow, but that’s only if they all prove necessary. Enjoy it! The first game starts at 2:07 Eastern and games could run continuously, depending on how long Mariners-Astros takes to play, through to the end of the Dodgers-Padres game that starts at 9:37.
Here’s how the day’s action is lined up:
Atlanta at Phillies, 2:07, FS1
Starting pitchers: Charlie Morton (ATL), Noah Syndergaard (PHI)
The Phillies tried so hard to fall out of a postseason spot with their 14-17 record in September and October of the regular season, but the Brewers just weren’t up to the task of catching them. Now all they have to do is get hot. They’ve already dispatched the Cardinals and are one win away from taking down Atlanta.
I would enjoy this outcome, because the remainder of the postseason will be better if there is no more Atlanta home crowd on television. That’s pretty much the only reason. I don’t care very much about the Phillies. If the NLCS ended up being Padres-Phillies, I’d be rooting for the Padres because of Manny Machado. It would be kind of hilarious if the Phillies made a deep postseason run after having fired Joe Girardi during the regular season, though.
Astros at Mariners, 4:07, TBS
Starting pitchers: Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU), George Kirby (SEA)
This is the first time a postseason game has been played in Seattle in 21 years, and the fact is they might only get the one. The Mariners fans could bring all of their excitement to the stadium, spent all that money on tickets, only to see their favorite team lose. Baseball is really kind of cruel when you think about it. Only one team goes home happy at the end of it all. That’s true in most sports, I just don’t care about them as much.
Can Seattle at least avoid the sweep? It would be nice for them if they could do this. Their problem in the two games of the series so far is they have not combined good pitching and good hitting at the same time. They scored seven runs on Tuesday. They should have won! Except whining loser Robbie Ray blew the game at the hands of Yordan Alvarez. They allowed only four runs on Thursday. They should have won! Except they only got five hits all game, and Alvarez tagged them for a go-ahead home run, again.
Yankees at Guardians, 7:37, TBS
Starting pitchers: Luis Severino (NYY), Triston McKenzie (CLE)
A lot of baseball media oxygen/pixels have been spent on the regular season home run champion Aaron Judge is hitless in the series with seven strikeouts in eight at-bats. That’s objectively a hilarious fact. My life as a baseball fan has taught me not to celebrate any Yankee demise until it occurs, however. Judge is entirely capable of hitting five home runs in the next two games to eliminate the Guardians.
Judge wasn’t the only Yankee batter to strike out a lot yesterday. The team combined to strike out 15 times against Cleveland pitchers, and now they’ll be going up against McKenzie, who struck out 190 guys in the regular season. Hard to win when you strike out that much! We’ll see if the game plays out in such a way that it matters that the Guardians chose to use closer Emmanuel Clase for a seven-out save, the first time all year he had gone for more than one inning in a game.
Dodgers at Padres, 9:37, FS1
Starting pitchers: Tyler Anderson (LAD), Joe Musgrove (SDP)
Musgrove is fresh off a start where he dominated the Mets so thoroughly that former Orioles and current Mets manager Buck Showalter was left with only the gamesmanship option of having the umpires give Musgrove a wet willy to try to interrupt his rhythm and maybe discover that his weird ear sweat was a forbidden “sticky stuff” substance. It wasn’t. That was a weird saga.
If the Padres knock off the Dodgers after going 5-14 against them in the regular season, that would be a great postseason triumph. The Dodgers just won in 2020, so it’s time for them to lose so that someone else can get some glory. Plus they’re basically the Yankees of the National League, right?