Adam Wainwright was outstanding yet again last night, notching 12 strikeouts while pitching eight shutout innings. He allowed just five hits and a walk. All five hits were singles.
Wainwright is now 8-2 on the season with a 1.67 ERA and 77 strikeouts to 16 walks in 81 innings. He turns 33 in August and simply looks better than he ever has. Which is saying a lot given that he has been so fantastic for so long.
I was about to say that he was the clear favorite to be the NL Cy Young Award winner so far — and he may be — but to get there I took a gander at the NL pitching leaders and it’s hard to get one’s mind around how many great years dudes are having. Between Wainwright, Samardzija, Greinke, Cueto, Teheran, Tim Hudson, Wily Peralta and many more, it’s been almost silly. Wainwright may be the best pitcher among them so maybe he’s the favorite among them all to make his great first two months carry over for the rest of the season.
But I gotta be honest and say that, selfishly, I want to see Jeff Samardzija dominate and continue to get no run support so that he’s 0-14 but leads the NL in almost every pitching category so as to set up a final apocalyptic showdown between the folks that like pitcher wins and the folks who don’t. It would make Trout/Cabrera look like tiddlywinks.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.