Commissioner of Baseball Selig gestures to the crowd after throwing out the opening pitch before the start of Game 5 of the MLB National League Divisional League Series baseball playoff in Milwaukee

Selig: expanded playoffs coming, but maybe not next year


When Bud Selig talks to reporters he usually runs thought three or four things and then walks on. He did that last night in Milwaukee. Here are the things:

  • Labor negotiations are moving along just swell. There is no timetable or deadlines for implementing a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires in December, but no one is sweating it. It’s gonna happen.
  • Expanded playoffs are a near-certainty, but Selig is not optimistic that it could be implemented for 2012.  He was asked how to square expanded playoffs with not stretching the season into November, and he said that shouldn’t be a problem, strongly suggesting that the plan will be to do one-game play-ins between the two wild card teams in each league. My guess: everyone is still high from that game 162 crack cocaine from two weeks ago and wants to keep the feeling of scheduled win-or-go-home games alive.
  • Selig met with would-be Astros’ owner Jim Crane last week. The meeting went well he said, but there’s still no word on when or if Crane will be approved as the owner before the November 30th deadline built into Crane’s deal with current owner Drayton McLane.
  • He has no concerns about the Mets or their finances. He also sounded pretty optimistic about how the Dodgers’ litigation is going.
  • While he maintains that he will retire after the 2012 season, Selig left open the possibility that he would travel to the city of Istar during the Age of Might and ensconce himself in the court of the Kingpriest. Thereafter, he would use an artifact called the Bloodstone to retain his immortality and eventually enter The Abyss and seek to challenge Takhisis and become a god.

Hmm. Wait. That last one may have been mis-transcribed. I’d check my notes but I lost ’em. Oh well.

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)

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.