Playoff Reset: Cubs vs. Giants NLDS Game 3

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The Game: Chicago Cubs @ San Francisco Giants, NLDS Game 3
The Time: 9:30 PM EDT
The Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Jake Arrieta (Cubs) vs. Madison Bumgarner (Giants)

The Upshot:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Giants’ backs are up against the wall, if they don’t win, all is lost and . . . Madison Bumgarner is pitching for them. No one wants to be down 0-2 in a five game series, but if humanity needed to win a one-game playoff against the Martians, there is no one Earth would want on that hill more than Madison Bumgarner.

Bumgarner is working on 23 consecutive scoreless innings in do-or-die games for the Giants. Against the Cubs he’s 8-2 with a 2.25 earned run average in 12 starts, including two wins this year with a 1.32 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.

Not that the Cubs are countering with chopped liver. They have Jake Arrieta, the reigning Cy Young Award winner. Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA) is 4-2 with a 1.82 ERA in six career starts against San Francisco, including the splitting of two games against the Giants this year. One of those was to Bumgarner and he pitched well overall regardless. Bumgarner is gonna get his.

If he doesn’t get his tonight, the Giants’ run of even year World Series victories will come to an end. It’s, once again, all on MadBum’s shoulders.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.