All sorts of stuff happening today as we count down to tonight’s Rays / Indians AL wild card game and tomorrow’s Dodgers / Braves NLDS, so let’s utilize the busy blogger’s best friend, the list! …and get right to it.
1) Over at ESPN Insider today, I contributed the series preview for the NLDS, including each team’s “X-factor”, key reliever, key bench player, and a modest proposal about a lineup decision that should make one of my regular readers pretty happy.
2) Yesterday at ESPN, I provided reasons why each NL team would have difficulty winning it all this October. Braves fans were uniformly unhappy, so that means I did something seriously right.
3) The Indians have a fun new bullpen weapon tonight, Opening Day starter Justin Masterson, who missed most of September due to injury and isn’t stretched out enough to start. This is my debut on the main FanGraphs site, which is why I’m posting it here, and you’ll hopefully be seeing more of that.
4) The Braves announced their NLDS roster earlier today, and it has 11 pitchers, 7 outfielders — technically, Evan Gattis is listed as the third catcher, but we know he’s likely to join the 6 other outfielders — and no Dan Uggla, Scott Downs, Anthony Varvaro, or Paul Maholm. The Dodgers haven’t and I don’t expect them to today; the deadline is 10am tomorrow.
6) Hyun-jin Ryu will pitch Game 3, and Ricky Nolasco will pitch Game 4. There was really never any question that Ryu was the #3 guy, but some wondered if Edinson Volquez would manage to sneak ahead of Nolasco. That never seemed viable to me, nor should it have been. Mattingly, by the way, says that starting Clayton Kershaw on three days rest in Game 4 was not considered, as Kershaw has never done it before. (The Braves announced that Freddy Garcia will throw Game 4.)
7) No official word yet on the start time of Game 3 back in Los Angeles — which, as you know, I will be at — but by all indications it appears to be a 5:37pm PT start.
8) Finally, set your panic meter to a billion: in a radio interview today, Vin Scully indicated that 2014 could possibly be his last.