Playoff Reset: All eight playoff teams are in action today


This is a pretty good day to be a shut-in, which is fantastic work if you can get it. All four playoff series are on tap, with the Tigers and Orioles continuing in Baltimore, the Royals and Angels continuing in Anaheim and the Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Nationals finally getting their NLDS matchups underway.

The Game: Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles, American League Division Series Game 2
The Time: 12:07 PM Eastern
The Place: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Justin Verlander vs. Wei-Yin Chen
The Upshot: A few eyebrows were raised when Brad Ausmus named Justin Verlander the Game 2 starter over David Price. Verlander may have the better playoff pedigree, but Price was the better pitcher this year. Now, after last night’s bullpen debacle, the Tigers need Verlander to do something he used to do all the time but had trouble with this year: work economically, go deep into the game and shut the opposition down. If he doesn’t, the Tigers’ backs will be up against the wall. Heck, they may be up against the wall already.

The Game: San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals, National League Division Series Game 1
The Time: 3:07 PM Eastern
The Place: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
The Channel: Fox Sports 1
The Starters: Jake Peavy vs. Stephen Strasburg
The Upshot: A whole different and way tougher test for the Giants, as they go from facing a Wild Card team with their ace on the mound to facing the best team in the National League. The Nats are probably the deepest team in the playoffs. There really isn’t a weakness in the lineup, even if they don’t have an MVP candidate, and their rotation is fantastic. On paper, the Nationals are the clearly superior team. Playoff-wise, though, they are greenhorns compared to the seasoned Giants, winners of two of the past four World Series. Tonight’s pitching matchup should be interesting: Peavy and Strasburg are friends, both of whom make their home in San Diego and work out together in the offseason.

The Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, National League Division Series Game 1
The Time: 6:37 PM Eastern
The Place: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
The Channel: Fox Sports 1
The Starters: Adam Wainwright vs. Clayton Kershaw
The Upshot: The Cardinals beat the Dodgers in the NLCS last year, but very different circumstances reign this time around. For one thing, the Dodgers are more healthy. Last year they didn’t have Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez was injured in the first game of the series. The Cardinals’ robust offense of 2013 is gone too, with Carlos Beltran gone and most of St. Louis’ key performers experiencing declines this year. That said, there is a lot of play in the matchups here, with the Dodgers having an edge in 1-2 starters while the Cardinals’ 3-4 starters are clearly superior. The Dodgers’ offense was far better this year and was peaking in September. The Cardinals’ bullpen is, top-to-bottom, better than L.A.’s even if L.A. has the better closer. And of course: tonight we get Adam Wainwright vs. Clayton Kershaw, a matchup of perhaps the two best pitchers in baseball.

The Game: Kansas City Royals vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, American League Division Series, Game 2
The Time: 9:37 PM Eastern
The Place: Angels Stadium, Anaheim, California
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Yordano Ventura vs. Matt Shoemaker
The Upshot: The Royals are living a charmed playoff existence so far, winning their first two games in extra innings. You can’t expect that sort of magic to continue, but maybe you don’t need magic when your opponents’ top hitters — Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick and Josh Hamilton — do stuff like go for a combined 0 for 18. The Angels need their big guns to produce.