Welcome to something new.
For the first time, there are 10 teams in baseball's postseason. Two of them will go home for the winter after today's games, the first winner-take-all wild-card play-in games in major-league history.
Some of you don't like this. Personally, I do. I believe in most cases, the better team is going to win. Sometimes, that won't happen and the team that had the better record in the regular season will stay home, knowing they shoulda, coulda, woulda moved on if only...
It gets more teams involved. It gives two games of drama every year. I like it.
Predictions for Friday: the Braves will dethrone the defending champion Cardinals. Atlanta has won 23 straight games started by Kris Medlen. That doesn't figure to change; the Cardinals haven't seen Medlen this year except for a couple of brief relief appearances back in May.
In the American League game, the Rangers are coming off a sweep at the hands of the A's in which they played poorly. Luckily for Texas, Buck Showalter has made the inscrutable decision to start Joe Saunders, who has started six games at Rangers Ballpark, lost all of them and posted a 9.38 ERA in 31⅔ innings with 13 (!) home runs allowed. Given that and the hot-again Yu Darvish (2.35 ERA in his last eight starts) going for Texas, the Rangers will get their shot to defend their AL title -- against the Yankees.
Here are the pitching lines; enjoy these games. Perhaps the Cubs will get themselves into one of them sometime soon.
Wild card games: Braves over Cardinals; Rangers over Orioles
NLCS: Giants over Nationals
ALCS: Tigers over Yankees
World Series: Tigers over Giants
Here are the 2012 season stats for Friday's pitchers:
|2012 - Kyle Lohse||16-3||34||33||0||0||0||0||211.0||192||74||67||19||38||143||2.86||1.09|
|2012 - Kris Medlen||10-1||50||12||2||1||1||1||138.0||103||26||24||6||23||120||1.57||.91|
|2012 - Joe Saunders||3-3||7||7||0||0||0||0||44.2||49||20||18||4||8||23||3.63||1.28|
|2012 - Yu Darvish||16-9||29||29||0||0||0||0||191.1||156||89||83||14||89||221||3.90||1.28|
Today's games are on TBS.
MLB.com Gameday for Cardinals/Braves. Game time: 4 p.m. CDT. Announcers: Brian Anderson, Ron Darling, Joe Simpson and Tom Verducci
MLB.com Gameday for Orioles/Rangers. Game time: 7:30 p.m. CDT. Announcers: Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz, Cal Ripken and Craig Sager
This will be the only thread for today's games; if it gets too slow, post another one in the fanshot area. Discuss amongst yourselves.