Friday, October 2, 2015

The playoffs start tonight

It comes down to this, Astros fans. The Astros have to win this series at Arizona in order to play the Yankees in a one-game series on Tuesday. So let's check out what happened last night:

*The Rangers beat the Angels, 5-3.

*The Twins beat the Indians, 4-2.

The Yankees and Rangers both clinched playoff spots last night so the only thing left to decide is the AL West/2nd Wild Card, because. Here's where we stand:

Clinched playoff spot: Blue Jays, Yankees, Royals, Rangers.
Still alive: Astros, Angels, Twins

AL West
Rangers (87-72): -
Astros (84-75): 3.0 GB
Angels (83-76): 4.0 GB

AL 2nd Wild Card:
Astros (84-75): -
Angels (83-76): 1.0 GB
Minnesota (83-76): 1.0 GB

With the next win by the Rangers, they will clinch the division because the only point of baseball is to make you as miserable as possible. But the Wild Card is up for grabs. Obviously, if the Astros win out, they're in. There are three teams fighting for one playoff spot, and three games remaining in the season.

FanGraphs gives the Astros a 1.2% chance of winning the division (which seems high) and a 73.3% chance of holding on to that Wild Card spot.

If the season ended today:

Things would be much easier to deal with, emotionally. The Astros would head to New York for the Wild Card game on Tuesday and the winner would then head to Toronto for the ALDS.

Tonight's games:

7:00pm: Angels at Rangers. Jered Weaver vs. Martin Perez
7:10pm: Kansas City at Minnesota. Chris Young vs. Ervin Santana
8:40pm: Houston at Arizona. Dallas Keuchel vs. Rubby de la Rosa.


The Fighting' Goldschmidts are coming off a sweep of the Rockies entering the final weekend of the season. They're 3rd in the NL West at 78-81 and are 38-40 at home this season. The D'Backs are 7-3 in their last ten games, 12-8 in their last 20, and 15-15 in their last 30 games.

The Astros will face Rubby De La Rosa tonight, who is 14-8 with a 4.56 ERA. In five September starts, De La Rosa has thrown 24.1IP, 25H/14ER, 17K:9BB, allowing 4HR. This includes his September 12 start where the Dodgers rocked him for 9H/6ER in 2IP.

The Astros will throw Dallas Keuchel tonight, Collin McHugh tomorrow, and Lance McCullers or Mike Fiers on Sunday in an effort to keep Scott Kazmir the hell away from any semblance of an important outing.


*Bob Nightengale writes that clinching a playoff spot in Arizona would be pretty BAWSE for A.J. Hinch:
The last time he put on a uniform in this city, A.J. Hinch was openly mocked in his own clubhouse, ridiculed locally and nationally, and fired in a managerial experiment that went horribly wrong. 

*Brian T. Smith has sunshine, rainbows, and chocolate sprinkles coming out of his butt.
If you can blend a stubborn puppy dog with a relentless bumblebee, that's the 2015 Astros.

*Jason Lisk writes that September results are not a predictor of October success.

*Dallas Keuchel and Carlos Correa are finalists for the Players Choice awards, which will be won by Taylor Swift.

*Bo Porter has interviewed for the vacant managerial position with the Marlins. My appreciation and respect for Bo Porter is well-documented, and I think he is well-suited and better-equipped to return to the manager's chair. He has earned the right to start the Marlins turn-around before they inevitably and systematically dismantle their team out from under their fans and their manager.