Playoff Reset: League Championship Series Game 4

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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.

Max Scherzer reaches 300 strikeouts on the season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.

Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.

At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.