Wow, who imagined the Phillies and even more so the Padres on the verge of advancing to the NLCS? We have a wild and wooly day of baseball ahead of us today, with all four series in action and the two NL contests possibly getting closed out.
Philadelphia can become the first team to advance to the final four, kicking off today’s action hosting Atlanta, with Noah Syndergaard on the bump. Thor went 10-10 with a 3.94 ERA in 2021. Dansby Swanson and Ronald Acuña Jr. both have mashed in their careers vs. Syndergaard, but the righty has held down the rest of the Braves lineup pretty well.
Atlanta sends Charlie Morton to the bump, and the best thing you can say about sending out a guy who went 9-6 with a 4.34 ERA this year in a decider is that Morton has some strong postseason experience, with a 3.35 career ERA in 17 career postseason games. The Phillies have seen Morton pretty well, with JT Realmuto, Bryce Harper and Alex Bohm leading their hit parade.
The game starts at 1:07 p.m. CT, on FS1 and ESPN radio.
Flipping over to the AL for the second game of the day, it’s Houston heading to Seattle to try to complete the ALDS sweep. This is the game in which the Astros faltered a year ago in Chicago vs. the White Sox.
Lance McCullers Jr. pokes his head out from under the hood of his hot rod to unwrap his ponytail and take the mound for Houston in his first LDS start since getting hurt vs. the White Sox a year ago. He brings a 4-2 record with a 2.27 ERA in his abbreviated season to the proceedings. Ty France and Abraham Toro have seen McCullers well in very small sample sizes; Seattle has its work cut out today.
For the M’s, it’s George Kirby taking the bump looking to build off of his 8-5 record and 3.39 ERA in 2021. Houston really hasn’t seen much of the rookie, who has just 25 starts in his MLB career and got just one inning in during the Wild Card round vs. Toronto (earning a save). Let’s just assume the Astros are looking to ride this historic hot streak by Yordan Alvarez (.500, two homers, seven RBIs, 1.931 OPS, three barrels over two ALDS games so far) into the ALCS.
First pitch is at 3:07 pm. CT and is broadcast on TBS and ESPN radio.
The Yankees and Guardians are up next, with no day off for travel due to the rain in the Bronx. The quick turnaround in this deadlocked series could favor Cleveland, coming home and with some momentum after a Game 2 win. Triston McKenzie (11-11, 2.96 ERA) faces Luis Severino (7-3, 3.18 ERA) in what should be a terrific matchup.
The young Guardians will be hurt by unfamiliarity with Severino, as only three Cleveland batters have a body of work against him. However, what new, José Ramírez has just crushed the righthander, with three homers in 16 career at-bats. IBB IBB IBB IBB ...
For New York, the pressure is on, and McKenzie is unlikely to wilt in the face of the Yankees lineup, having had good success in a relatively small sample. Josh Donaldson, providing he opts to actually run out batted balls this game, is the only player with at least 10 ABs vs. Triston, hitting .300 with two doubles and two Ks.
This is another TBS game, starting at 6:37 p.m. CT. You can hear it on ESPN radio as well.
And we get the most intriguing game at all as the headliner, with San Diego looking to upset vaunted Los Angeles with a win.
Joe Musgrove (10-7, 2.93 ERA in 2021) starts for the Padres, up against Tyler Anderson (15-5, 2.57), and it won’t be an easy one for San Diego. Mookie Betts, Max Muncy and Justin Turner have all clubbed the righthander historically, with Turner bagging three long balls in 15 at-bats. And it’s full advantage to L.A. here, as Anderson has pretty well shut down the San Diego lineup, with Jorge Alfaro (3-for-10, HR) and Ha-Seong Kim (.5-for-12, but all singles) seeing him the hurler best.
This game kicks off back at FS1 and ESPN radio, at 8:37 p.m. CT.
We could have a few as just one game on Sunday — or another four!