The Phillies, D-Backs, Rangers and Astros HAVE been playing thrilling playoff baseball, assuming you’ve crawled out of your cave of Orioles-induced sadness to see it. Last night, the Rangers forced a Game 7 in the ALCS on the strength of a strong start by Nathan Eovaldi, playing the stopper at home, and Adolis García’s grand salami in the ninth inning. Meanwhile, the Phillies could clinch the NLCS tonight with a win at home.
NLCS Game 6: Diamondbacks at Phillies
RHP Merrill Kelly (1-1, 3.00) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (3-0, 0.96 ERA)
The Diamondbacks have earned themselves the nickname “the Answerbacks” with their scrappy play this postseason, including a walk-off win in Game 3. But tonight they’re on the road in hostile Philly down in a 3-2 hole, and have to to find an answer for Aaron Nola, who’s been lights out this postseason. Nola is coming off six shutout innings in Game 2 and hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a start since Sept. 9. So Arizona has their work cut out for them. They’ll counter with Merrill Kelly, who’s had a good postseason, with 11 K’s and an 0.92 WHIP in 12 innings.
ALCS Game 7: Rangers at Astros, 8 ET
RHP Max Scherzer (0-1, 11.25 ERA) vs. LHP Cristian Javier (2-0, 1.69 ERA)
Texas’s presumptive ace Max Scherzer was hella rusty in his most recent outing in Game 3 of the ALCS, where he allowed five runs over four innings in the Rangers’ 8-5 loss. It was the righty’s first start since mid-September, and Texas will hope he looks more like the postseason ace that’s been in his career before, with a 3.80 ERA in 28 postseason games (23 starts). However, it’ll be a steep climb if Houston’s Cristian “El Reptil” Javier keeps pitching like he’s pitched this postseason. In his most recent outing in Game 3, Javier yielded just two runs over 5 2/3 innings with one walk and three strikeouts. Javier has been nails in the postseason: in his career he has a 2.08 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 16 playoff appearances.