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October madness: All four division series in action

Oct 9, 2015, 11:07 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today

ALDS GAME 2: TEXAS RANGERS AT TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Series: Rangers lead 1-0
Where:
 Rogers Centre, Toronto
Gametime: 12:30 p.m.
TV: MLB Network
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Indoors
Starting pitchers: TEX LHP Cole Hamels (13–8, 3.65 ERA) / RHP Marcus Stroman (4-0, 1.67 ERA)

Game 1 was a letdown for the home crowd in Toronto, as David Price was rocked in a 5-3 loss. The Blue Jays now enter Friday hoping to even up the series and avoid going to Arlington in an 0-2 hole.

In order to get even, Toronto will have to beat former World Series MVP Cole Hamels. As a long-time member of the NL, Hamels hasn’t pitched in Toronto since 2009. He did see the Blue Jays in Philly last season, but gave up five earned runs on 10 hits and two homers in six innings of work.

Young right-hander Marcus Stroman will pitch for the Blue Jays in only his fifth game of 2015 due to a torn ACL in the spring. He has allowed only five earned runs in 27 innings since coming back.

ALDS GAME 2: HOUSTON ASTROS AT KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Series: Astros lead 1-0
Where:
 Kaufmann Stadium, Kansas City
Gametime: 3:30 p.m.
TV: FS1
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Partly cloudy, 65 degrees, wind 9 mph
Starting pitchers: HOU LHP Scott Kazmir (7-11, 3.10 ERA) / KCR RHP Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44 ERA)

The Royals are in a similar situation to the Blue Jays after losing Game 1 at home. And, given they stole home field advantage last postseason against both the Angels and Orioles, they know very well the danger of losing Game 2.

Johnny Cueto, their big trade deadline acquisition, will be tasked with preventing that. Cueto has not been great since joining the Royals – he has a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts – and he has a rough playoff history. But, he was brought in for games like this, so we’ll see if he rises to the occasion.

Scott Kazmir, who the Astros also trade for midseason, will start opposite Cueto. The veteran lefty has also been inconsistent since joining his new team with a 4.17 ERA in 13 outings. Kazmir does, however, have a 2.11 ERA against the Royals this season, having faced them three times back when he was with the A’s in the AL West.

NLDS GAME 1: CHICAGO CUBS AT ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Series: 0-0
Where:
 Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Gametime: 6:30 p.m.
TV: TBS
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Cloudy, 66 degrees, wind 11 mph
Starting pitchers: CHC LHP Jon Lester (11-12, 3.34 ERA) / STL RHP John Lackey (13-10, 2.77 ERA)

After taking care of the Pirates – owners of the league’s second-best record – in the NL Wild Card game, the Cubs will now take their shot at the Cardinals, MLB’s only 100-win team. Jon Lester will start for Chicago and look to follow up a dominant start from his rotation mate, Jake Arrieta.

Lester has lots of playoff experience to pull from having won two World Series rings with the Red Sox. He boasts a 2.57 ERA in 14 postseason games.

John Lackey has also won two World Series titles, including one as Lester’s teammate in Boston. Lackey is coming off the best season of his 13-year MLB career.

NLDS GAME 1: NEW YORK METS AT LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Series: 0-0
Where:
 Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Gametime: 9:30 p.m.
TV: TBS
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Sunny, 86 degrees, wind 5 mph
Starting pitchers: NYM RHP Jacob deGrom (14–8, 2.54 ERA) / LAD LHP Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.13 ERA)

There are plenty of aces in action on Friday, but if you like pitching, it would be tough to top this particular matchup. In one corner you have Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher of this generation. And in the other, you’ve got Jacob deGrom, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year who might be the most underrated ace in the game.

Kershaw will look to overcome his playoff demons of the past. He holds a 5.12 postseason ERA which is more than double his 2.43 career regular season mark. That can’t possibly continue, can it?

Kershaw may have to be dominant to outduel deGrom, who enters the playoffs with a 2.54 ERA. deGrom, however, struggled down the stretch with a 4.91 ERA in his last seven starts through August and September.

  1. NatsLady - Oct 9, 2015 at 11:47 AM

    Go Rangers! Go Dodgers! Other than that, play good baseball.

    • Joe Seamhead - Oct 9, 2015 at 12:23 PM

      I’ll root Dodgers over the Mets, also the longshot Cubs over the Cards. I’m loosely rooting for the underdog Astros and Rangers, though don’t care too much.
      So far, in four playoff games, wild cards included, not one home team has won a game.

      • natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2015 at 1:18 PM

        I’m with you on all but the Rangers, who have had playoff chances in the recent past. Was hoping the Jays would win some postseason home games for their fans, because it’s been a while for them. Doesn’t look good, though.

        As we know all too well, it [stinks] to go to home playoff games and watch your guys get beat.

  2. veejh - Oct 9, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    Please pound the Mets.

    • ArVAFan - Oct 9, 2015 at 3:10 PM

      From your keyboard to the baseball gods’ ears. Amen.

      • natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2015 at 4:26 PM

        What they said.

      • NatsLady - Oct 9, 2015 at 7:20 PM

        Yep. I’m ready for Kershaw’s perfecto and Greinke to no-hit them for eight innings and then let their close have a save. Then I hope Brett Anderson, or whoever, wipes the floor with Matt Harvey back in NY.

      • natsfan1a - Oct 10, 2015 at 7:38 AM

        [Wakes up, checks online scores.] Eh, thanks for nothing, LA. [Deletes recording.]

  3. DaveB - Oct 9, 2015 at 5:52 PM

    Ross Ohlendorf gets the S for the Rangers with 3 SO in the bottom of the 14th. He’s hangin in there with that funky old style windup.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Oct 9, 2015 at 6:07 PM

    Astro-nomical melt down going on in KC.

    • NatsLady - Oct 9, 2015 at 7:18 PM

      For some reason the signal on FS1 is crap for the second game in a row, so I switched to the Cubs game. I suppose they can’t both lose?

  5. Candide - Oct 10, 2015 at 9:41 AM
  6. Candide - Oct 10, 2015 at 9:42 AM

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