Friday, September 19, 2014
MLB Postseason Picture For September 19
Behind Gerrit Cole's strong right arm, the torrid hitting of Starling Marte and a high-wire act by closer Mark Melancon, the Pirates kept the heat on the Cardinals in the National League Central race on Thursday night, holding off the Red Sox. St. Louis, at home, needed 13 innings to subdue the Brewers and retain a 2 ½-game lead over the Bucs while the Brewers fell six off the pace. In Chicago, the Dodgers beat the Cubs to push their NL West lead to 2 ½ games over the idle Giants.
The Pulse of the Postseason remained alive in the Bronx, where Derek Jeter homered and the Yankees took a 3-2 decision from the Blue Jays in the bottom of the ninth on an error. The Yanks advanced within five games of the second AL Wild Card held by the Athletics, who fell a half-game behind the idle Royals after the Rangers completed a three-game sweep in Oakland. The Indians outlasted the Astros in 13 innings to move within four games of the second Wild Card.
IF THE POSTSEASON STARTED TODAY ...
Wild Card: A's at Royals
Division Series: Wild Card at Angels | Tigers at Orioles
Wild Card: Pirates at Giants
Division Series: Wild Card at Nationals | Cardinals at Dodgers
TODAY'S KEY GAMES TO WATCH (all times ET)
Dodgers (Kershaw, 19-3) at Cubs (Jackson, 6-14), 2:20 p.m.
Once again, the Dodgers look to Clayton Kershaw to show his dominance in pursuit of his 20th win -- remarkable in view of the fact he missed five or six starts early in the season with an upper back muscle strain. The Dodgers can clinch a postseason berth with a victory and a Brewers loss.
Brewers (Gallardo, 8-10) at Pirates (Locke, 7-5), 7:05 p.m.
Yovani Gallardo (7.36 ERA past three starts) needs to get back in his ace form as the Brew Crew tries to remain relevant in two races (Central, Wild Card) in this huge series.
Jays (Buehrle, 12-9) at Yankees (Kuroda, 10-9), 7:05 p.m.
The Yankees will try to build on the momentum of Thursday night's walk-off win behind Hiroki Kuroda as they try to make a big move in the Wild Card chase.
Tigers (Verlander, 13-12) at Royals (Vargas, 11-9), 8:10 p.m.
In this showdown series for AL Central supremacy, a pair of veterans lock up in an effort to give their clubs momentum and an early edge. Justin Verlander and Jason Vargas both have struggled lately.
Mariners (Walker, 1-2) at Astros (Peacock, 4-8), 8:10 p.m.
Taijuan Walker is a big part of the Mariners' impressive youth brigade, but it's the Seattle offense that needs to show it can deliver as the Mariners try to make a late move in the Wild Card race.
Reds (Holmberg, 1-1) at Cardinals (Lackey, 13-9), 8:15 p.m.
The Pirates are keeping the heat on the NL Central-leading Redbirds, who are looking to John Lackey to give them the pressure performance they anticipated when they dealt for him.
Phillies (Buchanan, 6-7) at Athletics (Lester, 15-10), 9:35 p.m
The A's have to regroup to regain a hold on a Wild Card berth, and it's up to Jon Lester to contain the Phillies as the offense looks to get the offense rolling.
Giants (Hudson, 9-11) at Padres (Despaigne, 3-7), 10:10 p.m. Preview
Tim Hudson's recent struggles with command are a concern, but he's in the right park to find his groove with the Giants breathing down the Dodgers' necks in the NL West race.
• Watch the races on MLB.TV
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
AL East: Orioles clinched
AL Central: Tigers 11 over Royals
AL West: Angels clinched
AL Wild Card 1: Royals 10 over A's
AL Wild Card 2: A's 10 over Mariners
NL East: Nationals clinched
NL Central: Cardinals 8 over Pirates
NL West: Dodgers 8 over Giants
NL Wild Card 1: Giants 9 over Pirates
NL Wild Card 2: Pirates 7 over Brewers