The Game: ALCS Game 4. Kansas City Royals lead Baltimore Orioles 3-0
The Time: 4:07 PM Eastern
The Place: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Jason Vargas
The Upshot: Can anything stop the Royals at this point? Probably not in the series, as it would take an historic comeback by Baltimore to keep Kansas City from the World Series, and they’ve shown that, in the ALCS anyway, they have no second gear. The real question now is whether the Royals can sweep the entire playoffs, as they shoot for their eighth playoff win in eight tries this afternoon. Jason Vargas? He’s hittable. The Royals lineup? You can pitch to them. But that’s the same story that has held for a couple of weeks now and it hasn’t mattered a bit. The Royals are gelling and the defense — maybe it’s most important, though undersold trait — is all but immune from struggling. The real question is whether Buck Showalter can get some fight out of his men or if, alternatively, they know where this is going and subconsciously play in such a way as to put themselves out of their misery.
The Game: NLCS Game 4. San Francisco Giants lead St. Louis Cardinals 2-1
The Time: 8:07 PM Eastern
The Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
The Channel: Fox Sports 1
The Starters: Shelby Miller vs. Ryan Vogelsong
The Upshot: Yesterday afternoon’s game was just plain weird, ending with the Cardinals’ worst reliever on the mound in extra innings of a playoff game and a guy who went 0 for 4 with a sac bunt as the hero in a mob scene. Going for the Giants is Ryan Vogelsong, who is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in his last five playoff outings. The Cardinals have handled him in the regular season, however, and they’ll need to do so again in order to find themselves with their backs against the wall. Shelby Miller, who stood to be the loser in Game 4 of the ALDS before Matt Adams’ homer off Clayton Kershaw bailed him out, takes the hill for the Cards. Once again, one assumes, Yadier Molina won’t play.
Things didn’t start well for John Lackey and the Cardinals this afternoon. After his offense went down 1-2-3 to start the first inning, Lackey didn’t fool anyone in the bottom of the inning. After getting two quick outs, this happened:
- Buster Posey single;
- Pablo Sandoval single;
- Hunter Pence double, scoring Posey;
- Brandon Belt intentional walk to load the bases; and
- A Travis Ishikawa double that cleared the bases, making it 4-0 Giants.
The Ishikawa ball was absolutely tattooed. If it weren’t for a stiff wind blowing from right to left knocking it down, it would’ve been in the water. As it was it appeared to hit off the brick wall and right fielder Randal Grichuk had trouble playing the carom. Or it possibly just fell short of the wall and Grichuk couldn’t track it. It was hard to track live and then I missed the replay because, man, I got kids here.
One thing that is true, however, if that Lackey was visibly upset that the ball fell. Perhaps he was unaware that, you know, if you allow absolute blasts like that, it’s maybe bad form to blame your fielder for not bailing you out in tough conditions.
We’re heading into the bottom of the third and the Giants maintain their 4-0 lead.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski held a press conference this afternoon. No real news or anything, just an end-of-season wrap. One question was about last winter’s trade of starter Doug Fister to the Nationals. His response:
I suppose it’s possible that Fister is a big jerk no one likes and thus trading him away for scrap and watching him put up a 16-6 record with a 2.41 ERA with the Nationals is no big thing. That trading away one of the guys you got for him — Steve Lombardozzi — for Alex Gonzalez in March (who was subsequently cut) while another, Ian Kroll put up an ERA of nearly 5.00 out of your bullpen and the third, Robbie Ray, was beat up pretty good in the majors and the minors is not particularly bothersome.
But I sort of feel like maybe, just maybe, Dombrowski would take a do-over on that one.
Guy was just announced as the Dodgers president of baseball operations an hour ago, but a lot of people have already started wondering if Andrew Friedman would stick with Don Mattingly as manager. Some have speculated about prying Joe Maddon away from the Rays — though he is under contract and would require compensation.
Initial reports, however, suggest that Mattingly will keep his job:
I imagine part of this is contingent on having a conversation with Mattingly about, you know, playing your best players in playoff elimination games, which Mattingly did not do in the deciding game of the NLDS.