The Baseball Road Trip of a lifetime

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CAC Road Trip.jpgThere’s someone who does the whole visit-all-30-parks-road trip every year, but (a) I never get tired of hearing about it; (b) I never stop being jealous; and (c) I always root for the guy(s) to finish, whether or not they’ve given themselves a time limit.

The latest is Navin Vaswani, a journalist/blogger who is chronicling his trip in The Globe And Mail. So far he’s made it to Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and both New York
parks. He hits Fenway tomorrow and then points south and west.  I’ll be following his progress, and you should too because these kinds of things are fun.

Whenever I see this I like to drag out my proposal from a couple of years ago: a road trip show akin to Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” but for baseball.

The premise: a half hour travel show in the host hits up a Major League city for a weekend in an effort to convey the
history, flavor, and general milieu of a given team, its park, its fans,
and its city. He meets up with a couple of knowledgeable locals, goes to a couple of games, hits a couple of loyalist bars, stores or a museum or two and gives viewers a
taste of what it means to be, say, a Brewers fan. Or a Dodgers fan. Or whatever.

I figure you have at least 40 ready-made shows there once you do all the Major League teams, a trip to Cooperstown, the All-Star Game, some select minor league parks, and some side trips to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Japan and stuff.

If only I knew someone at a network who could get this sort of thing off the ground . . .

NLDS, Game 1: Cubs vs. Cardinals lineups

Jon Lester
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Here are the Cubs and Cardinals lineups for Game 1 of the NLDS in St. Louis:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
3B Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B Starlin Castro
LF Chris Coghlan
SS Addison Russell
C David Ross
SP Jon Lester

Jon Lester’s personal catcher David Ross takes the place of Miguel Montero behind the plate. Kris Bryant shifts back to third base after playing left field in Game 1, with Chris Coghlan coming off the bench to get a start in the outfield against a right-hander. Addison Russell bats seventh, which he did just 10 times during the regular season.

3B Matt Carpenter
1B Stephen Piscotty
LF Matt Holliday
CF Jason Heyward
SS Jhonny Peralta
RF Randal Grichuk
C Yadier Molina
2B Kolten Wong
SP John Lackey

Mike Matheny’s lineup for Game 1 is an interesting one. Jason Heyward is batting cleanup and playing center field, where he started just eight games all season. Stephen Piscotty plays first base, where he started just nine games. Yadier Molina is behind the plate, toughing his way through a significant thumb injury that’s sidelined him since September 20 and leaves him at much less than 100 percent now. Brandon Moss, Mark Reynolds, and Jon Jay are all on the bench.

Steven Matz is on the Mets’ playoff roster, set for Game 4 start

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) works during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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Rookie left-hander Steven Matz hasn’t pitched since September 24 because of a back injury, but he’s on the Mets’ playoff roster for the NLDS and looks likely to start Game 4 against the Dodgers.

Matz prepped for a potential start by throwing 80 pitches in a simulated game Thursday and apparently experienced no issues. Even setting aside the health question mark Matz has started just six games in the majors, but he’s 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA and 34/10 K/BB ratio in 35.2 innings.

Matz is one of 11 pitchers on the NLDS roster, along with 14 position players. No big surprises.

ALDS, Game 2: Astros vs. Royals lineups

Johnny Cueto Royals
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Here are the Astros and Royals lineups for Game 2 of the ALDS in Kansas City:

2B Jose Altuve
RF George Springer
SS Carlos Correa
LF Colby Rasmus
DH Evan Gattis
3B Luis Valbuena
1B Chris Carter
C Jason Castro
CF Jake Marisnick

SP Scott Kazmir

Carlos Gomez remains out of the lineup with an intercostal injury, so Marisnick makes another start in center field after going 2-for-4 with standout defense in Game 1.

SS Alcides Escobar
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Kendrys Morales
3B Mike Moustakas
C Salvador Perez
LF Alex Gordon
RF Alex Rios

SP Johnny Cueto

Royals manager Ned Yost sticks with the same lineup as Game 1, which isn’t surprising given that he trotted out the same lineup for basically the entire postseason run last year. Cueto gets the ball after Yost chose Yordano Ventura for Game 1 duties.