It is here. As I type, we're less than nine hours away from first pitch in ALDS G1. I've already called in sick for tomorrow (can't today) but - how's this for irony? - I'm actually sick. Playoff Fever, baby, catch it! I don't know about you, but I'm an absolutely bundle of nerves. Within seconds I go from dreaming about going to the parade in downtown Houston to thinking about how I'm going to write the postmortem after the Astros get swept by Boston. This is what we wanted, I guess. So let's make some jokes and do some reading.
*Flick Nickem has your ALDS Bingo Cards ready for you to download.
*Five key Statcast facts to note during the ALDS.
*ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has a great piece on how the Astros' lineup is built to roll through October, and how the organization's philosophy has changed over the last four years.
*Verlander is honored to start G1, and complimentary of the rest of the rotation:
I've been lucky to be part of some pretty great pitching staffs where anybody can go No. 1 the first game and you don't feel like you're team's any different than if the other guy goes No. 1...It's a great situation to be on because...the weight of the world doesn't fall on your shoulders to have to win that game.
*Verlander said yesterday that there's a special buzz in the clubhouse.
*Josh Reddick is ready to go.
*Carlos Correa learned a few lessons from 2015 ALDS G4, and is ready for a deeper run. Hinch, on Correa:
He's so driven to be great, and most of the great ones are. I mean, it's how they're built and how they go about it. But I love how he takes it personal when people challenge him about playing shortstop, and I love how personal he takes it in being in the middle of the order and wanting to be the most productive hitter on the team.
*This is just great. ALDS G3 at Fenway will start at 1:38pm Central. My kingdom for a playoff night game. What a joke.
*The Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant and Gerry Fraley both picked Red Sox in five.
*Baseball saved Chris Devenski from gang life.
*The San Diego Union-Tribune is unsurprised by hometown boy Joe Musgrove's success.
*An oral history of Carlos Beltran's 2004 postseason.