Four playoff games! What a gift. We can’t take today for granted — it’ll all be over soon.
The American League awakens from its long slumber to get rolling with its Division Series. The four teams going all have their own exciting qualities, but are all overwhelmingly American League, particularly the Yankees and Red Sox, so settle in for nine innings games that will take half the day for no good reason.
Schedule for today:
HOUSTON ASTROS vs. CLEVELAND INDIANS — GAME 1
First pitch: 11:05 am PT
Starters: Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.78 FIP) vs. Corey Kluber (20-7, 3.12 FIP)
I don’t know what’s going on with Justin Verlander. Since he came over to the Astros, all he’s done is posted the lowest FIP and strikeouts per 9 (12.2) of his entire career. The 28 home runs he allowed this season was the second-highest total of his career, but here we are: age-35 Justin Verlander is incredible.
Since Corey Kluber won the Cy Young Award in 2014, he’s pitched 855.2 regular season innings and has a 2.96 ERA and a 2.97 FIP.
MILWAUKEE BREWERS vs. COLORADO ROCKIES — GAME 2
First pitch: 1:15 pm PT
Starters: Jhoulys Chacin (15-8, 4.03 FIP) vs. Tyler Anderson (7-9, 4.57 FIP)
Chacin looked great against the Cubs in the Tiebreaker game. We’ll see if Counsell has a short leash for him today with the Brewers both ahead in the series 1-0 and a little depleted because of a bullpen day in Game 1.
Anderson hasn’t pitched well on the road (5.02 ERA in 80.2 innings), but that doesn’t really matter, since the Rockies can’t score on the road.
BOSTON RED SOX vs. NEW YORK YANKEES — GAME 1
First pitch: 4:32 pm PT
Starters: Chris Sale (12-4, 1.98 FIP) vs. J.A. Happ (17-6, 3.98 FIP)
Like Verlander, Chris Sale is also have a career year in FIP and strikeouts per nine. Injuries held him to just 27 starts and 158.0 innings, which skews the numbers a bit, but still, at 29, he’s pitching at a new level.
Since being traded to the Yankees, J.A. Happ has started 11 games and posted a 7-0 record with a 2.69 ERA (4.21 FIP) in 63.2 innings pitched. The 35-year old veteran made two starts against the Red Sox for the Yankees in September, striking out 13 in 12 innings and allowing 4 runs (all in his last start against them on September 28th).
LOS ANGELES DODGERS vs. ATLANTA BRAVES — GAME 2
First pitch: 6:37 pm PT
Starters: Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 3.19 FIP) vs. Anibal Sanchez (7-6, 3.52 FIP)
Clayton Kershaw is coming off of the worst start of his career against the Giants. He’s also Clayton Kershaw.
Sanchez struck out 29 in 28 innings (5 starts) this past September and posted a 2.25 ERA in that timeframe. The 34-year old really remade himself in 2018. The previous three seasons saw him post a 5.67 ERA (5.01 FIP) in 415.2 innings pitched, bad enough for a 74 ERA+. This year, in 136.2 innings, it’s a 143 ERA+.
No matter what happens today, let’s hope the Dodgers lose.