While the American League championship series is set to kick off tonight, the National League side of the playoffs won’t get underway until Saturday. The San Fransisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals are no strangers to each other in the postseason, having met most recently in 2012. In their series 2 years ago, the Giants came out victorious after falling down in the series 3 games to 1, and winning in 7 games. In 7 regular season meetings this season, the Giants hold a slight 4 games to 3 series advantage. While the Giants have yet to announce who will toe the rubber for them in game 1 on Friday evening, the Cardinals have decided to send out Adam Wainwright. The ace of St. Louis’ staff is coming off another dominate campaign atop the Cardinals rotation in which he won 20 games, posted an ERA below 3.00, and pitched over 200 innings for the fifth time in his career. While 32-year old’s first postseason start saw him surrender 6 runs in 4.1 innings, his career playoff numbers predict a more polished pitcher will show up this time around. In 10 career postseason starts, Wainwright holds an ERA of 3.13, while averaging 10 strike outs per 9 innings. Over the course of his career, the Georgia native has enjoyed moderate success against his NLCS opponents, posting a 3.11 ERA in 10 starts against the Giants.
- Baseball is weird, and what further proof of that do you need than this year’s postseason? Who had the Royals and Orioles squaring off to represent the American League in the World Series? Not me. But low and behold, the two “little engines that could” teams capitalized on big playoff moments, and are now a step away from the acme of baseball. Now, with championship glory in their sight, the bandwagons have stated to fill up. (MLB Playoffs: Of Royals and Giants and Birds, oh my!)
- With the future of then General Manager Theo Epstein in limbo following the 2005 season, the Red Sox conducted interviews with potential replacement executives. Of the handful of candidates who interviewed for position, was current Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore. Then an assistant general manager with the Atlanta Braves, Moore was a serious contender for the role, until Sox brass decided to bridge Esptein’s two tenures internally. (The man who was almost the Red Sox general manager: Kansas City’s Dayton Moore)
- Mookie Betts isn’t just the Red Sox’ best young player, he’s also their best trade chip heading into the 2015 offseason. You can almost guarantee that Ben Cherington will field multiple inquiries on the 21-year old over the course of the offseason. Whether Boston is looking for an ace to place atop their rotation or a power bat to plug in at third, the interest in Betts will be sky-high. But are the Red Sox better off keeping the rookie in the fold, rather than trading him away? Betts’ early numbers place him among some of baseballs best, and suggest that his brief 2014 season wasn’t a fluke. (With value soaring, Mookie Betts aware of incoming trade speculation)
- For at least one more season, first base is locked up for the Red Sox by Mike Napoli. After enjoying one of his most productive seasons in 2013, the 32-year old saw a decline in his numbers and dealt with multiple injuries during the 2014 campaign. While Allen Craig could theoretically challenge Napoli for his job, Boston seems more than okay with giving Napoli a mulligan on 2014. (Red Sox offseason primer: First base)
- Even though James Shields is still pitching in the postseason, the offseason rumor mill is already cranking along. Early speculation has built a strong link between the Red Sox and the Kansas City ace. While the Royals will try to retain the right-hander, the bidding for the free agent is expected to exceed the $80M mark, and could require a 5 year commitment. (KC’s Shields on center stage)
- Tweet of the day: What a tangled web we weave…