Our last weekend of baseball’s common season! It has been a enjoyable trip, my associates.
This is a fast have a look at what to observe for this weekend:
Sport of the day: Cubs at Cardinals (Eight p.m. ET, ESPN2)
The Cardinals had been 7½ video games up on the Brewers on Sept. 5, however Milwaukee is an inconceivable 18-2 since then to climb only one recreation again within the Nationwide League Central and put strain on the Cardinals this weekend. (Each groups will not less than earn a wild-card spot.) It isn’t as if St. Louis has performed poorly: The Playing cards are 11-Eight since that date.
Dakota Hudson will get the ball for the Cardinals, and the sinkerball specialist — he leads certified starters with a 57.2% floor ball charge — is 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA over his previous eight begins. There was some success in his run, with a .167 BABIP, however he has allowed solely three residence runs over 48⅓ innings. The reeling Cubs will not precisely be enjoying their “A’ lineup this weekend. They’ve additionally misplaced 9 in a row and don’t have anything to play for however delight. Will they discover any?
With a win and a Brewers loss, the Cardinals clinch not less than a tie for the NL Central. The Cardinals received the season sequence with Milwaukee 10-9, so if a tiebreaker recreation is required Monday, the Cardinals will host it.
Different video games to observe
Indians at Nationals (7:05 p.m. ET, ESPN+): With losses Wednesday and Thursday, the Indians have entered desperation time, as they want some assist from the Blue Jays in opposition to the Rays to maintain their playoff hopes alive. A 3-way tie for the 2 American League wild playing cards remains to be doable, nevertheless:
— If the A’s go 0-Three in opposition to the Mariners, they end 96-66
— If the Rays go 1-2 in opposition to the Blue Jays, they end 96-66
— If the Indians go 3-Zero in opposition to the Nationals, they end 96-66
If all that occurs, we go to the three-team tiebreaker for 2 slots. Let’s clarify that out yet one more time. Groups are given A, B and C designations. Membership A hosts Membership B. The winner is one wild-card group. Membership C then hosts the loser of the primary recreation to find out the second wild card.
The A’s received each season sequence, so that they get first selection on their designation. They in all probability select A, giving them one residence recreation and a second recreation in the event that they lose. Tampa Bay will get subsequent selection and sure chooses B. So our tiebreaker video games in all probability can be:
Monday: Tampa Bay at Oakland
Tuesday: Tampa/Oakland loser at Cleveland
Then we get the precise wild-card recreation on Wednesday. Tampa Bay may doubtlessly journey from Toronto to Oakland to Cleveland and again to Oakland in 4 days. Give that touring secretary a increase if that occurs.
Braves at Mets (7:10 p.m. ET): Pete Alonso has three video games left, needing one residence run to tie Aaron Decide’s rookie file of 52 and two to interrupt it. I’m wondering if the Mets will bat him leadoff to get him an additional at-bat or two within the sequence. Dallas Keuchel begins for the Braves, and he is wanting just like the Sport 1 starter for the Braves within the division sequence, as rookie Mike Soroka noticed his last begin pushed again to Sunday, lining him as much as pitch Sport 3 (with Julio Teheran for Sport 2). Keuchel, in fact, has loads of postseason expertise, with a 3.31 ERA, and he has a 2.06 ERA over his previous eight begins.
Brewers at Rockies (8:10 p.m. ET): Can the miracle proceed? The Brewers’ 18-2 run matches the most effective 20-game stretch in franchise historical past (in addition they did it in 1987 and 2011). Zach Davies begins in opposition to Chi Chi Gonzalez. Milwaukee supervisor Craig Counsell has 20 pitchers on his roster and he has been utilizing all of them in September. Will probably be fascinating to see how onerous he pushes the bullpen this sequence, understanding he might need a tiebreaker recreation Monday and the wild-card recreation Tuesday. Josh Hader, for instance, threw 16 pitches on Thursday and 24 on Tuesday. Not a giant workload, however how obtainable will he be on this one?
Twins at Royals (8:15 p.m. ET): The Twins go for win No. 100. Even together with their days because the Senators, they’ve reached that mark solely as soon as in franchise historical past, in 1965, once they received 102 video games and misplaced within the World Sequence. If the Twins do get to 100, that is 4 100-win groups throughout the majors. That has by no means occurred. (The Twins additionally may tie the Yankees at 102 wins, however New York owns the tiebreaker and home-field benefit over Minnesota.)
Sport of the day: Brewers at Rockies (8:10 p.m. ET)
If the A’s and Rays win Friday and the Indians lose, the A’s and Rays clinch and the Indians are performed. So the one video games assured to imply something of playoff significance Saturday are the Brewers and Cardinals video games. Brandon Woodruff begins for Milwaukee, however this might be one other bullpen recreation, as Woodruff has gone solely two innings in every of his two begins since coming off the injured listing. Will the Brewers be going for his or her 20th victory in 22 video games? There may be additionally the matter of residence subject for the wild-card recreation. Getting into the weekend, now we have:
The Cardinals and Brewers each maintain the tiebreaker over the Nationals, so the Nationals want to complete with the higher file.
Different video games to observe
Cubs at Cardinals (7:15 p.m. ET): This may very well be the division clincher for St. Louis, so it is becoming that Adam Wainwright will get the beginning (the Cardinals moved Wainwright up from Sunday to start out right here as an alternative of Miles Mikolas). The 38-year-old has had his finest season since 2014, going 14-9 with a 3.98 ERA — oh, and he is 5-Zero with a 1.69 ERA in September. The newest pitcher to go 6-Zero over the ultimate month? Felix Hernandez in 2009, though it took him seven begins, and the seventh one truly got here in October. Earlier than that: Jose Contreras for the White Sox in 2005 (all six begins in September). Guess who received the World Sequence that yr?
Yankees at Rangers (8:05 p.m. ET): Luis Severino has seemed good in his first two begins of the season, giving up no runs over 9 innings in opposition to the Angels and Blue Jays. The Rangers might be somewhat higher check. He threw 80 pitches in 5 innings in opposition to Toronto, so the Yankees may attempt to get him within the 90-to-100 vary in his last begin earlier than the postseason.
Astros at Angels (9:07 p.m. ET): Justin Verlander makes his last tune-up begin forward of subsequent Friday’s Sport 1 of the division sequence. Teammate Gerrit Cole makes his last begin Sunday. With out digging into the following layer of stats, it appears like a toss-up for the American League Cy Younger Award:
Verlander: 20-6, 2.53 ERA, 217 IP, 133 H, 42 BB, 288 SO, 34 HR, 7.Eight bWAR/6.2 fWAR
Cole: 19-5, 2.52 ERA, 207⅓ IP, 138 H, 46 BB, 316 SO, 28 HR, 6.7 bWAR/7.Three fWAR
Break up the distinction in WAR and also you get … a lifeless warmth. Cole has fanned 39.7% of the batters he has confronted, the single-season excessive for a beginning pitcher. He additionally has received 15 choices in a row, posting a 1.78 ERA over 21 begins. Verlander has the no-hitter and 10 extra innings. Cole has made 20 of his 32 begins in opposition to groups underneath .500 whereas Verlander has made … 20 of his 33 begins in opposition to groups underneath .500. Can we name it a tie?
Sport of the day: Dodgers at Giants (3:05 p.m. ET)
We may have 5 video games that actually matter — or none. However none is perhaps extra emotional than this one. The Giants host the Dodgers in Bruce Bochy’s last recreation as supervisor … and Madison Bumgarner might be taking the mound in what may very well be his last begin in a Giants uniform if he leaves as a free agent.
The sport additionally may imply one thing for the Dodgers. The standings for finest total file and potential home-field benefit all through the postseason appear to be this coming into Friday:
The Astros personal the tiebreaker over the Yankees in the event that they find yourself with the identical file (and meet within the American League Championship Sequence). The Yankees personal the tiebreaker over the Dodgers by advantage of a 2-1 edge of their head-to-head video games. The Astros and Dodgers didn’t play, so the second tiebreaker is divisional file. The Astros are 53-20 in opposition to the AL West and the Dodgers are 48-25 in opposition to the NL West, in order that edge goes to Houston.
Different video games to observe
Indians at Nationals (3:05 p.m. ET): If the Indians are nonetheless alive, Mike Clevinger will go. The Nationals are undecided, because it’s unlikely Max Scherzer will pitch — giving supervisor Dave Martinez the choice of both Stephen Strasburg or Scherzer within the wild-card recreation.
Who has clinched a postseason spot, and who may very well be subsequent?
2019 postseason schedule
Rays at Blue Jays (3:07 p.m. ET): 2018 Cy Younger winner Blake Snell will make his third begin since coming off the IL. The Rays have 2019 ace Charlie Morton able to go on full relaxation, whether or not that is in a Monday tiebreaker or Wednesday’s AL wild-card recreation.
A’s at Mariners (3:10 p.m. ET): Tanner Roark begins the ultimate recreation for Oakland. He has struggled over his previous three begins, with a 9.45 ERA and together with eight residence runs in 13⅓ innings. After shedding wild-card video games at Kansas Metropolis in 2014 and at Yankee Stadium in 2018, the A’s hope they will get this one at residence. Sean Manaea, who has dominated since his return from the IL, would be the seemingly starter for that recreation.
Brewers at Rockies (3:10 p.m. ET): Adrian Houser begins for Milwaukee.
Cubs at Cardinals (3:15 p.m. ET): The Cardinals clearly hope they clinch Saturday, so they would not have to start out Jack Flaherty (and his 0.97 ERA within the second half) on Sunday — and thus have him obtainable to start out the division sequence opener subsequent Thursday. If the division title remains to be up for grabs Sunday, nevertheless, Mike Shildt hinted that Flaherty would get the ball. That is not essentially the worst factor, as Flaherty may then begin Sport 2 of the Nationwide League Division Sequence on common relaxation Friday after which, because of the off days, additionally begin Sport 5 on common relaxation. After all, if Flaherty pitches Sunday and the Playing cards find yourself tied with the Brewers, that takes Flaherty out of the equation for not solely the tiebreaker recreation Monday however a possible wild-card recreation Tuesday.