Three League Championship Series teams have punched their ticket, with Blue Jays and Indians sweeping the Rangers and Red Sox, respectively, over the American League, and THE CUBS BEATING THE GIANTS LAST NIGHT!
The ALCS begins on Friday, with the Blue Jays heading to Cleveland to face the Indians. The NLCS will begin the next day, on Saturday, when a team will come to Chicago to open things up against the Cubs.
… but which team?
- That’ll be decided tomorrow, because the Washington Nationals were unable to eliminate the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday in their NLDS match-up. The decisive Game Five will begin at 7pm CT.
- The Dodgers had built a 5-2 lead by the 7th inning when their bullpen allowed the Nationals to tie things up. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Chase Utley came through with a run-scoring single in the 8th inning, and Kenley Jansen closed things out in the 9th.
- Clayton Kershaw wound up starting the game on short rest, and pitched very well over 6.2 innings and 110 pitches (short rest, back injury this year … yikes). It’s probably going to be Rich Hill, then, for the Dodgers on Thursday, and he will also be going on short rest. And he also has dealt with injury issues this year. I mean, I get it – it’s the end of the year, so rest is coming, and it’s the playoffs – but the Dodgers are leaning very heavily on those two guys. You wonder, even if the Dodgers are able to move on, whether the heavy usage will manifest itself in later rounds.
- Meanwhile, the Nationals will go with Max Scherzer for the decisive game, and you should already be feeling very, very good about the fact that the Dodgers forced a game five. Had they not, Scherzer would have been saved for Game One of the NLCS, and plausibly could have gone three times in the series against the Cubs. Now, he won’t be able to pitch until Game Three of the series, and the Cubs could even have a shot at eliminating the Nationals before he gets a chance to pitch twice.
- (Kershaw, if you were doing the math, could now also probably start only twice in the NLCS, in Games 2 and 6 or 7.)