Looking ahead to NLDS Game 3: Braves-Dodgers

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The Cardinals and Pirates will open this day of postseason baseball at 4:30 p.m. ET in Pittsburgh. As those two National League Central teams are wrapping things up at PNC Park, the Braves and Dodgers — tied at 1-1 in their best-of-five — will be preparing to get Game 3 underway in Los Angeles. Let’s preview the action-to-come at Dodger Stadium.

Julio Teheran earned a spot in Atlanta’s starting rotation with a sensational spring and kept right on rolling through the regular season, posting a 3.20 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 170/45 K/BB ratio in 185 2/3 frames. The 22-year-old righty from Colombia boasts a mid-to-low 90s fastball that he throws on over 63 percent of his deliveries and a slider, curve and changeup that carry varying degrees of effectiveness. Teheran was ranked a Top 100 prospect by Baseball America in four different preseasons and has the raw goods to put up zeroes at any time against any lineup. But he’s one of the youngest starters in this tournament and this will be his first time pitching in an October game.

Also pitching for the first time in the Major League Baseball playoffs will be Dodgers Game 3 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, a 26-year-old offseason import from South Korea. It seemed like an overpay when the Dodgers put up a $25.74 million posting fee for Ryu in November and then handed the left-hander a six-year, $36 million contract. But 11 months later that deal looks like a bargain. Ryu registered a superb 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 154/49 K/BB ratio over his first 192 major league innings this season and the conditioning concerns that arose early in spring camp never developed into anything more than baseball blog fodder.

Ryu was spotted wearing a sleeve on his left elbow last week and he threw a bullpen session Friday in front of team surgeon Neal ElAttrache, medical director Stan Conte and manager Don Mattingly. But the Dodgers are denying that there is an injury and Ryu reported feeling completely fine after his Friday workout.

The lineups should be posted at some point this afternoon. We wouldn’t expect any big surprises.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.