Do you like beer? Do you like marijuana? If you’re a lover of vices, then rooting for the Brewers and the Rockies seems like the way to go today. If you love corporate quirkiness and overthrowing the cutoff man, then it’s the Cubs and Dodgers for you today, weirdo.
Otherwise, congratulations to the Giants for doing their part to create some schedule chaos. Sure, the Dodgers are still a part of this chaos, but that also means they’re as susceptible to random chance as any team in a single game. Additionally, the Giants provided some Galaxy Brain-level mindscrewery by giving both the Rockies and the Cardinals false senses of security and superiority. For Colorado, 1993’s debt has been 40% repaid. For the Cardinals, they get nothing.
The outcomes of both games will decide the division winners of the NL Central and the NL West as well as the participants in Tuesday’s NL Wild Card Game. The winner of the Cubs-Brewers game will host the Wild Card Game winner and the winner of Dodgers-Rockies will host the Atlanta Braves (both NLDS series begin on Thursday).
Schedule for today:
Milwaukee @ Chicago: 10:05 am Pacific Time first pitch
Colorado @ Los Angeles: 1:09 pm Pacific Time first pitch
These are both the 163rd games of the regular season for all four teams. This means that regular season rules still apply: 40 man rosters are still in effect, the stats count for the players’ season totals, and video replay in New York will remain unbearably awful.
Game 1 Lineups:
José Quintana (13-11, 4.52 FIP) of the Cubs matches up against the Brewers’ TBD (0-0, 0.00 FIP), in a battle of a #3 starter versus a TBD.
Quintana struck out 31 in 28.1 innings this September with a 3.49 ERA and .288 BAbip. He’s pitched exactly five innings in each of his last three starts and he’s only pitched seven innings three times all season. Most importantly, he’s 4-1 in six starts against the Brewers this season (three at Miller Park, three at Wrigley Field), with a 2.17 ERA, 0.884 WHIP, and a 33:10 strikeouts to walk ratio in 37.1 innings pitched against their impressive lineup. The Brewers blasted him for five runs in five innings at Wrigley Field back in August, but he got the best of them on September 11th at Wrigley with 7 strikeouts in 6.2 shutout innings.
How did the Giants cause this mess? Milwaukee was four games out of first place when the Giants stumbled into Miller Park back on September 7th, and after the Brewers easily swept them, they were only 2 games out of first place as they traveled to face the Cubs.
Game 2 Lineups:
Meanwhile, although the Dodgers just spent the weekend turning the Giants’ organization inside out and exposing their embarrassing and genetically inferior innards to the entire world while simultaneously transforming AT&T Park into Dodger Stadium North (that hurt the most), they failed to clinch their sixth consecutive NL West title within the allotted 162 games. So now they’ll have to beat the Rockies in Dodger Stadium Actual with rookie Walker Buehler (7-5, 2.99 FIP) going against Sophomore Supreme, German Márquez (14-10, 3.34 FIP).
Buehler’s last start against Colorado was a little under two weeks ago. He struck out 12 Rockies (walking only 1; 2 unearned runs allowed) in six innings at Dodger Stadium in the Dodgers’ 5-2 win. Meanwhile, Márquez last faced the Dodgers on June 30th (striking out 9 in 8 innings at Dodger Stadium in the Rockies’ 3-1 win), but has struck out 22 in 21 innings this season (3 starts) against them (only 5 walks allowed). This should be an interesting matchup with a decent potential of being a pitchers’ duel — the Rockies can’t score on the road, and the Dodgers are tired after scoring 28 runs in 27 innings over the weekend.
How did the Giants cause this mess? The Rockies basically played all of July and all of August at Coors Field (do not fact check this), allowing them to get back into and surpass the Diamondbacks in the NL West race; but somehow, the Rockies came into AT&T Park while the Giants were in the midst of the longest losing streak in San Francisco history, having just swept them in Colorado the week before and lost two out of three. The Giants weren’t even trying. The Rockies couldn’t handle being at sea level.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ bullpen woes were such that they never really took off until the very end of the season. Also, they had won just one series at AT&T Park since 2015 and the Giants had lined up their best starting pitchers to face the top of the Dodgers’ rotation. The Giants even scored five runs off of Clayton Kershaw, but none of it mattered. The Giants simply rolled over for their arch rivals.
As Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently awful baseball is indistinguishable from losing on purpose to spite your rivals.”