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ALCS G-2 & NLCS G-1 – Previews, Articles, Info. Saturday 10/17/15

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  • #9030
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    Keymaster

    Saturday LCS Doubleheader Betting Preview: Blue Jays at Royals, Cubs at Mets

    Toronto Blue Jays at Kansas City Royals (+134, 7.5)

    Royals lead series 1-0

    David Price has lost all six of his career postseason starts but looks to end that pattern when the Toronto Blue Jays visit the Kansas City Royals on Saturday for Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. Toronto hopes the left-hander can flash his regular-season form as it attempts to even the best-of-seven series after falling 5-0 in Friday’s opener.

    Price is well aware of his postseason struggles and claims he isn’t putting extra pressure on himself. “No, I know it’s going to come,” Price said in a press conference. “I have 100 percent confidence in myself. I know my teammates do, as well, and our coaching staff. This is part of it. You’ve got to be able to live in the moment.” Four Kansas City pitchers combined for a three-hitter in Game 1, silencing Toronto’s powerful bats. Salvador Perez hit a solo homer and Alcides Escobar went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI for the Royals, who won their eighth consecutive ALCS contest – two off the major-league record set by the Baltimore Orioles from 1969-73.

    TV: 4:07 p.m. ET, FS1, RSN (Toronto)

    WEATHER: Temperatures in the high 50s under clear skies.

    PITCHING MATCHUP:

    Blue Jays LH David Price (1-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. Royals RH Yordano Ventura (0-1, 7.71)

    Price picked up a victory in relief in Game 4 of the AL Division Series against Texas despite surrendering three runs and six hits over three innings. He served up two homers in his one start versus the Rangers after allowing just four in 11 regular-season turns with the Blue Jays. Price is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in six career appearances (five starts) against Kansas City, including a 1-0 mark and 2.93 ERA in two 2015 starts.

    The 24-year-old Ventura is making his third start this postseason and the seventh of his career as manager Ned Yost feels he has found his comfort zone. “I don’t think he’s gotten any better in terms of his talent, but as a professional and as a competitor, he’s gotten a lot better,” Yost said. “He’s matured a lot, which is a good thing. Young guys go through some tough times up here. And the more you endure it, the more you learn from it, the better off you’re going to be.” Ventura is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts against Toronto, with the win coming this season despite allowing five runs and six hits in seven innings.

    TRENDS:

    * Royals are 6-0 in their last six games with umpire Diaz behind home plate.

    * Blue Jays are 2-6 in the last eight meetings in Kansas City.

    * Blue Jays are 5-0 in Price’s last five road starts.

    * Under is 5-1-2 in Venturas last eight home starts.

    Chicago Cubs at New York Mets (-117, 6.5)

    The Chicago Cubs are four wins away from their first trip to the World Series since 1945 – all that stands in the way are the New York Mets. The Cubs visit the Mets for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday.

    Chicago survived the wild-card game against 98-win Pittsburgh and took down the 100-win St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series to move one step closer to its first pennant in 70 years and first World Series title since 1908. The Cubs rode an impressive group of young sluggers led by Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler through the NLDS and will send two-time World Series winner Jon Lester to the mound in Game 1. The Mets hit their fair share of home runs in their division series against the Los Angeles Dodgers as well, capped by Daniel Murphy’s decisive solo shot in Game 5, and are riding their own wave of momentum in the NLCS. New York, which went 0-7 against Chicago in the regular season, will send ace Matt Harvey to the mound with no restrictions in Game 1.

    TV: 8:07 p.m. ET, TBS

    WEATHER: Temperatures in the high-40s with wind blowing in from left field at around 12 miles per hour.

    PITCHING MATCHUP:

    Cubs LH Jon Lester (0-1, 3.68 ERA) vs. Mets RH Matt Harvey (1-0, 3.60)

    Chicago decided to go with Lester over Jake Arrieta in Game 1 because he was next up in the rotation, and both are set to go twice in the series if necessary. Lester allowed three runs and five hits while striking out nine over 7 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the NLDS but took the loss to drop to 6-5 with a 2.66 ERA in his postseason career. The 31-year-old tossed seven scoreless innings at New York on July 1 and has never lost to the Mets in three career starts.

    Harvey has worked a total of 22 1/3 innings since Sept. 8 as the team tried to limit his workload in anticipation of the playoffs. The Connecticut native went five innings and allowed three runs – two earned on seven hits and a pair of walks in a win in the NLDS and has surrendered two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four outings. Harvey struck out nine over seven scoreless innings at Chicago on May 13.

    TRENDS:

    * Cubs are 5-0 in the last five meetings in New York.

    * Under is 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings.

    * Under is 7-1-1 in Lester’s last nine road starts.

    * Mets are 4-0 in their last four vs. National League Central.

    #9031
    admin
    Keymaster

    Ventura, Price to face off in Game 2 of ALCS

    The Kansas City Royals will be aiming to go up 2-0 in the American League Championship Series vs. the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium after a decisive Game 1 win on Friday.

    The Royals will be counting on righty Yordano Ventura to hold the high-powered Blue Jays offense at bay. He will be making his seventh career playoff start.

    “It’s a very talented group, a lot of power, a lot of experience,” Ventura said of the Toronto offense.

    Ventura has pitched seven innings of postseason baseball this year, giving up seven runs on eight hits while striking out 10.

    “I think it’s going to help him a lot,” Royals manager Ned Yost on the experience Ventura gained in the playoffs during the Royals run last season. “I think he’s made great improvements from the beginning of the year on. And a lot of them were just learning how to deal through adversity and how to become a better professional. And I think he’s learned those lessons really, really well.

    “The quality of stuff is the same. I don’t think he’s gotten any better in terms of his talent, but as a professional and as a competitor he’s gotten a lot better. He’s matured a lot, which is a good thing. Young guys go through some tough times up here. And the more you endure it, the more you learn from it, the better off you’re going to be.”

    The Royals’ plan against Toronto is to pitch inside aggressively, which worked to perfection Friday. Ventura will have to follow Game 1 starter Edinson Volquez’s lead to be successful in Game 2.

    “Again, it’s not anything new,” Ventura said. “That’s been part of our game plan from the very beginning against any team. We’ve got to establish the inside part of the plate and execute pitches. The fact that it’s them, it’s not a new approach to how we do things.”

    It will be a tough task Saturday, as Ventura faces Blue Jays lefty David Price. But for all his regular-season success, Price is still searching for his first postseason win as a starter. He is 0-6 with a 5.23 ERA in the playoffs as a starter in his career.

    “No, I know it’s going to come,” Price said, when asked if he was under any undue pressure given his postseason record. “I have a hundred percent confidence in myself. I know my teammates do, as well, and our coaching staff. This is part of it. You’ve got to be able to live in the moment. I want to be able to step up for my teammates and this organization and all our fans in Canada.”

    #9032
    admin
    Keymaster

    MLB notebook: Mets to start Harvey in NLCS opener

    New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey will start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.

    Harvey faced the Cubs only once in 2015 and went seven scoreless innings.

    “We got here because we have very, very good pitching. In the middle of summer when we weren’t scoring any runs, we were still in games. We’d still win close games because our pitching kept us in it,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Our starters, our bullpens, they’re young, yeah, they’re inexperienced. But they’ve got quality stuff, and that still pays off. That’s why we’ve said all along, no matter what the outcome of the season is, the light at the end of the tunnel is here, and this is going to be a bright future for this organization.”

    The Cubs announced Thursday that Jon Lester would start Game 1 and Jake Arrieta in Game 2.

    The Mets advanced to the first NLCS since 2006. They did so by beating Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, two of baseball’s top pitchers, in the first and final games of the series.

    “We came into a five-game series and you saw Kershaw twice and Greinke twice. That may not be fair,” Collins said Thursday night. “But we’ll take what we got. We got the wins that we needed, and we’re going to go party for a little while, and take a day off and get ready for the NLCS and it will be a lot of fun.”

    —Major League Baseball announced the umpires who have been assigned to the League Championship Series.

    The crew chiefs will be 32-year major league umpire John Hirschbeck and 19-year veteran Ted Barrett, both of whom served in that capacity for the wild-card games.

    Hirschbeck will lead the American League Championship Series crew, marking his 19th career postseason assignment, including his fifth LCS. His crew will consist of Laz Diaz, Dan Iassogna, regular-season crew chief Jeff Nelson, Tony Randazzo and Hunter Wendelstedt. Randazzo will be the home plate umpire in Game 1. Hirschbeck, Nelson, Reynolds and Wendelstedt worked the NL wild-card games.

    Umpire Jim Reynolds will serve as the ALCS replay official in Games 1 and 2, with the assistance of fellow umpire Mike Estabrook, before Randazzo shifts into that role beginning in Game 3. Iassogna was a replay official for a wild-card game this postseason.

    The ALCS began Friday night between the Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays.

    Barrett will oversee the crew assigned to the NLCS. This is his 21st career postseason assignment, including his seventh LCS. Barrett will work alongside Eric Cooper, Rob Drake, Paul Emmel, Tim Timmons and regular-season crew chief Bill Miller. Drake will call balls and strikes in Game 1 of the NLCS. Barrett, Cooper, Emmel and Miller officiated the AL wild-card game this postseason.

    Umpire Mark Wegner will be the NLCS replay official, with the assistance of Estabrook, in Games 1 and 2 before joining the on-field crew for Game 3, when Drake will serve in the replay capacity. Wegner was a replay official for a wild-card game this postseason.

    —Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal is slated to undergo shoulder surgery next week, according to a report in the Orange County Register.

    Grandal was bothered with significant left shoulder soreness over the second half of the season and batted just .067 over his final 30 regular-season games.

    “I’m looking forward to not having to deal with this anymore,” Grandal told the newspaper.

    Grandal had a strong first half and made the National League All-Star team before being hindered by the injury.

    #9033
    admin
    Keymaster

    Mets to start Harvey in NLCS opener

    New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey will start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

    Harvey faced the Cubs only once in 2015 and went seven scoreless innings.

    “We got here because we have very, very good pitching. In the middle of summer when we weren’t scoring any runs, we were still in games. We’d still win close games because our pitching kept us in it,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Our starters, our bullpens, they’re young, yeah, they’re inexperienced. But they’ve got quality stuff, and that still pays off. That’s why we’ve said all along, no matter what the outcome of the season is, the light at the end of the tunnel is here, and this is going to be a bright future for this organization.”

    The Cubs announced Thursday that Jon Lester would start Game 1 and Jake Arrieta in Game 2.

    The Mets advanced to the first NLCS since 2006. They did so by beating Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, two of baseball’s top pitchers, in the first and final games of the series.

    “We came into a five-game series and you saw Kershaw twice and Greinke twice. That may not be fair,” Collins said Thursday night. “But we’ll take what we got. We got the wins that we needed, and we’re going to go party for a little while, and take a day off and get ready for the NLCS and it will be a lot of fun.”

    #9034
    admin
    Keymaster

    2015 baseball playoff information

    American League
    Blue Jays vs Royals

    Price is 2-6, 5.04 in 12 playoff games, but both wins came in relief; he is 0-6 as a playoff starter, 5-1, 3.32 in his last six starts (over 4-1 last five) overall.

    Ventura is 1-1, 4.18 in six playoff starts, he is 1-1, 3.00 in his last four overall (under 4-1 last five overall).

    Blue Jays won three of last five games with KC; home side won eight of last ten series games. Toronto won three of last four games (over is 4-2-1 in their last seven games).

    Royals won nine of their last eleven games (over 3-2 last five).

    National League
    Cubs vs Mets

    Lester is 6-5, 2.66 in 13 playoff starts, 1-3, 3.18 in his last four starts overall (under 4-1 in his last five).

    Harvey is 2-1, 2.38 in his last four starts (over 8-2 in last ten).

    Chicago won its last nine games against the Mets (under 6-2-1); Cubs won nine of last ten games overall (over 3-0 last three).

    New York won four of last six games (under 7-2 in last nine); they played on Thursday, the Cubs clinched Wednesday, if that matters.

    #9035
    admin
    Keymaster

    Blue Jays lineup not the same without Encarnacion

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Blue Jays lineup without designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion is missing a big piece.

    Encarnacion, who pounded 39 home runs and drove in 111 runs in the regular season, was pinch hit for in the eighth inning of Friday’s American League Championship Series game against the Royals when the Blue Jays had two runners on base.

    Encarnacion left to have his left middle finger, which has been bothering him for a while, X-rayed. While the X-rays came back negative, it is questionable whether Encarnacion will start in a Saturday afternoon game.

    “It swelled up a little bit more than we’ve seen it in the past,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “(He) did that early in the game. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.

    “Usually a day or two it calms down on him and he’s able to get through it. We’ll see. It’s an early game tomorrow. Hopefully he’ll be ready to go.

    “That thing has been bothering him all year. Every now and then he takes a swing and it just — whatever happens, just grabs it.”

    Justin Smoak, batting for Encarnacion, popped up foul to first baseman Eric Hosmer.

    “This guy’s a gamer,” catcher Dioner Navarro said of Encarnacion. “He has a huge heart. In order for him to get out of the game, it must have been something serious. We count on him. He knows the team counts on him. So he’s doing everything possible to be in the lineup.”

    #9036
    admin
    Keymaster

    Cubs will be without SS Russell in NLCS

    Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, who strained his left hamstring during the National League Division Series, will miss the NL Championship Series, manager Joe Maddon announced Thursday.

    “Hopefully, if everything plays properly and we have another opportunity to play in another round, he might be available at that time, but for sure not this one,” Maddon said during the Cubs’ off-day practice at Wrigley Field.

    Russell left Game 3 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday after getting hurt while running out a fourth-inning triple. He didn’t play in Game 4 on Tuesday as the Cubs clinched their place in the NLCS.

    Even though the Cubs are leaving Russell off their NLCS roster, he would be eligible to be reinstated to the roster for the World Series if Chicago advances.

    Javier Baez, who filled in for Russell at shortstop the last game and a half against the Cardinals, figures to man the position against either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the New York Mets. Baez hit a crucial homer in Game 5 against St. Louis after committing an error in Game 4.

    “The big thing with him is the consistency on defense,” Maddon said. “We have to catch the ball. I know he can do that. It’s a mental thing.”

    Baez is 4-for-5 in the postseason after hitting .289 with one homer and four RBIs in 28 regular-season games.

    If the Cubs decide to add an infielder to fill Russell’s roster spot, Jonathan Herrera is the logical choice. Herrera was on the Cubs’ roster all season but didn’t make the roster for the NL wild-card game or the NLDS.

    In his first major league season, Russell batted .242 with a .307 on-base percentage, a .389 slugging percentage, 13 homers and 54 RBIs in 142 games.

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