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Postseason Gamethread: ALDS Game 2/NLDS Game 3s

Yankees and Guardians resume play, followed by a pair of National League tiebreakers

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs
Aaron Nola gets the call in front of the friendly and upbeat Philadelphia home crowd on Friday.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The National League Division Series play two critical, tiebreaking games on Friday, while the Yankees and Guardians play the final Game 2 on the American League side after yesterday’s rainout.

Yankees vs. Guardians (12:07 p.m. CT; TBS)

Shane Bieber (13-8, 2.88 ERA, 200 IP, 198 K, 3.6 WAR) vs. Nestor Cortés (12-4, 2.44 ERA, 158 IP, 163 K, 4.2 WAR)

The Guardians are looking to bounce back from their 4-1 loss to the Yankees in the Bronx on Tuesday.

Cleveland pitches their ace, Shane Bieber, in the second of the five-game series. The Guardians are looking for a repeat of Bieber’s Game 1 Wild Card series outing from last week, when the righty threw 7 ⅔ innings, allowing one run on three hits with one walk along with eight strikeouts. Bieber has had an impressive season for the young Guardians, with a record of 13-8, 2.88 ERA, 198 strikeouts, and 1.04 WHIP.

Nestor Cortés will get the start for the Yankees. The lefty will be throwing on 12 days’ rest, last pitching on October 1 versus the Baltimore Orioles. In that outing he threw 7 ⅓ scoreless innings, allowing one hit with two walks, and 12 strikeouts. While Gerritt Cole was considered the ace of the Yankees pitching staff going into the 2022 season, Cortés definitely made a case for the title with an exceptional season. He ended the regular season with a record of 12-4, 2.44 ERA, 163 strikeouts, and 0.92 WHIP.

The Yankees look to take a 2-0 lead with their lineup looking like this:

Cleveland counters thusly:

Atlanta at Philadelphia (3:37 p.m. CT; FS1)

TBD vs. Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.35 ERA, 205 IP, 235 K, 6.0 WAR)

While Atlanta has yet to announce their starter for Game 3, it’s a virtual certainty that we’ll be seeing presumptuous NL Rookie of the Year Spencer Strider (11-5, 2.67 ERA, 131 ⅔ IP, 202 K, 3.7 WAR) in some capacity, though whether it’s as a pure starter or as a “bulk man” following an opener remains to be seen.

Strider, whose 98.2 mph average fastball velocity ranked second in the major leagues this past year (Hunter Greene, 98.9 mph), makes his first playoff appearance barely two-and-a-half years removed from his final NCAA start for the Clemson Tigers. He faced the Phillies four times during the 2022 regular season, the most of any team, allowing just three earned runs with a whopping 34 punchouts in 21 ⅓ innings (1.27 ERA).

Opposite Strider, Aaron Nola had to throw more than 1,200 innings before seeing October baseball for the first time, but he made the most of his opportunity last week, shining with 6 ⅔ innings of shutdown pitching to send the Cardinals packing in Game 2 of their Wild Card series. Nola made five starts against Atlanta during the regular season, performing slightly worse than his season averages (3.67 ERA and 5.86 strikeout-to-walk rate), though he did average nearly seven innings per start.

Lineups will be posted when available.

Dodgers at Padres (7:37 p.m. CT; FS1)

Tony Gonsolin (16-1, 2.14 ERA, 130 ⅓ IP, 119 K, 4.6 WAR) vs. Blake Snell (8-10, 3.30 ERA, 128 IP, 171 K, 2.1 WAR)

The NL West rivalry showdown returns to San Diego for Game 3 with a pair of solid playoff veterans taking the bump for this afternoon’s 1-1 rubber match. Despite being just 28 and 29 years of age, Gonslin and Snell already have 17 combined playoff appearances between them (11 starts), though Snell — who with Tampa was quite famously pulled from Game 6 of the 2020 World Series with just 71 pitches despite allowing just two baserunners through 5 ⅓ innings — has found much more success than Gonsolin, who’s allowed 14 earned runs in his 13 ⅓ postseason innings.

Snell struggled in his first October start since that elimination game, allowing just two runs but walking six over 3 ⅓ innings in San Diego’s loss to the Mets in Game 2 of the Wild Card series.

Gonsolin will make his first appearance of the 2022 postseason with a roughly 75-pitch limit after missing the entirety of September with a forearm strain, returning for a brief two-inning start on October 3. He was in the midst of perhaps his most dominant stretch of the season prior to hitting the injured list, having allowed just two runs in 23 ⅓ innings (0.75 ERA) in four August starts.

Lineups will be posted when available.