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MLB Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Jon Lester, Jason Heyward and More

The MLB offseason figures to be a busy one for many teams across the league, and we can expect to see many familiar faces in new places once the dust settles.

Some notable transactions have already come to fruition, most recently a one-year deal for A.J. Burnett with the Pittsburgh Pirates. With a healthy amount of coveted players sitting on the free-agent market or rumored to be involved in trade talks, there will be no shortage of gossip floating around the Web any time soon.

A few pieces of information regarding some of the league’s well-known players have recently surfaced from trusted sources across the Internet. Here’s a look at the latest and greatest rumors as a frenzied offseason continues.


Jon Lester Latest

Lester really stepped up during his short time with the Oakland Athletics last season. Through 11 starts with the club, he allowed 66 hits, 20 earned runs and 16 walks while striking out 71 for a 6-4 record and a 2.35 ERA. He also tallied one complete-game shutout over that span.

That late-season success has piqued the interest of several clubs, via Peter Gammons:

Although, two stand out above the rest as very intriguing options.

According to Jeffery Flanagan of Fox Sports, the Kansas City Royals had discussions with the southpaw’s agents. This is interesting considering Lester pitched against the Royals in the American League Wild Card Game, going 7.1 innings and allowing eight hits and six runs for a 7.36 ERA.

The Royals have a phenomenal bullpen but could use some depth in their starting rotation, making Lester a nice fit.

Perhaps more interesting is discussions between Lester’s camp and his former team, the Boston Red Sox. The left-hander was traded to Oakland after spending the better part of nine seasons with Boston, and now it appears as though they want him back.

According to Gordon Edes of, the interest is expected to be real, and he gives some insight into what the team could be offering:

By now, both sides have a pretty good idea what it will take to get a deal done. Agent Seth Levinson would not be wasting Lester’s time, nor his own, with this meeting unless he had received a direct signal, from Cherington or, just as likely, Lucchino, that the Sox are prepared to make an offer that will not insult the intelligence of the parties involved.

That means an offer of at least five years, more likely six. Anything below $120 million is probably a nonstarter.

We probably shouldn’t expect a deal of this magnitude to be completed once the meeting ends; however, we should have a great idea of just how good the changes are of these parties hammering out a deal.


Jason Heyward Latest

There’s a strong possibility the Atlanta Braves will look to deal Heyward during the offseason. The 25-year-old outfielder is entering the final year of his contract, and there’s a chance Atlanta may not be able to ink him to a long-term deal.

According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, the Braves are looking to add pitching, and if they do enter a rebuilding phase, a trade could be expected:

Whatever the eventual stated goal is, it became pretty clear to me the past few days that the Braves are likely to trade at least one of their corner outfielders, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, both of whom are eligible for free agency a year from now and can probably expect to command long-term contracts worth at least a combined  $35 million annually and perhaps closer to $40 million annually.

If Atlanta does look to trade Heyward, which team is a likely suitor?

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports did tweet that several teams have already called about the outfielder:

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the St. Louis Cardinals “are said to like Heyward.”

St. Louis will be looking to improve its lineup, and Heyward would be a valuable addition. The outfielder tallied 74 runs, 155 hits, 26 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs, 58 RBI, 20 stolen bases and batted .271 last season. He’s a do-it-all player on offense.

Heyward has really improved his fielding as well over recent years. He only recorded one error last season and was responsible for nine assists and two double plays while maintaining a .997 fielding percentage.


Justin Masterson Latest

Masterson spent the better part of six seasons with the Cleveland Indians until he was dealt to the Cardinals last season. He appeared in nine games for St. Louis, starting six, and didn’t produce as efficiently as expected, totaling a 7.04 ERA during that span.

Interestingly enough, the Indians could be thinking about bringing the right-hander back to Cleveland, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain DealerHoynes put it simply, “Yes, the Indians have talked to Masterson about returning to Cleveland.”

If the Indians do offer the pitcher a deal, expect it to be a short one—perhaps just a year. After all, the team couldn’t have much confidence in Masterson after he slipped from its No. 1 starter to No. 5 in its rotation before being traded.

Bringing the pitcher back would most likely hinge on Cleveland thinking he can get back to the form he displayed in his All-Star 2013 season.

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MLB Playoffs 2014: Day 11 Schedule, Updated ALCS and NLCS Predictions

Those of us who expected to see Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Monday evening will just have to wait a little longer. Some torrential rains doused Kansas City, forcing a postponement to Tuesday.

Here’s a look at what the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals would have been dealing with otherwise, via Sports Illustrated:

While this proves to be a bit of a setback in the schedules of MLB enthusiasts everywhere, there is still some upside: With the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants already set to take the field on Tuesday for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, we’re in for a compelling postseason doubleheader.

Before we delve into predicting the eventual outcome of each series, let’s first take a look at the updated schedule for Day 11 of the playoffs.


NLCS Prediction

It’s uncanny how the Cardinals and Giants are similar in so many ways. Not only do both of these teams have quite a track record in the postseason, but they’ve been putting up some very similar numbers entering a Game 3 set to break the series stalemate.

On Tuesday, 35-year-old John Lackey and 39-year-old Tim Hudson take the mound for St. Louis and San Francisco, respectively. Through one start each in this year’s playoffs, here’s how the two pitchers have fared:

Perhaps the only difference between these two teams entering Game 3 is the way they’re scoring runs. St. Louis has been relying on the long ball, notching 11 home runs through six games, but San Francisco has been leaning on tough at-bats, accumulating a team .242 batting average.

So, where does all of this lead to a full series prediction?

Well, considering Hudson was virtually flawless in St. Louis earlier this season, going seven strong innings while allowing just three hits and zero runs in an 8-0 win, and the fact that the Giants are headed back to San Francisco with a road win, San Francisco should win Game 3 and gain just enough momentum to edge the Cardinals out in the end.

Prediction: Giants in seven


ALCS Prediction

The Orioles have dug themselves into quite a hole. Losing not one, but two home games against a surging Royals team brings tremendous cause for concern. After all, while Kansas City may not have been a powerhouse during the regular season, it sure is in the playoffs.

Perhaps the most well-rounded postseason team, the Royals combine a decent enough rotation with some very good pitching out of the bullpen, solid baserunning, efficiency at the plate and some newfound slugging power.

Meanwhile, the Orioles starters haven’t been able to last on the mound against the Royals, and the team hasn’t had enough effectiveness from its bullpen to notch a late-game win.

After all, reliever Darren O’Day has taken the loss in both ALCS contests to Royals reliever Wade Davis. There’s no reason to think we shouldn’t expect more of the same in Kansas City.

Here’s a glimpse at a small portion of the work Davis has done against Baltimore thus far, via MLB:

Let’s not take anything away from the Orioles here—they are a very good team. Unfortunately, they just happen to be outmatched in practically every phase of the game and now must attempt to climb out of an 0-2 hole in three road games.

This series will not make it back to Baltimore.

Prediction: Royals in five

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NLCS Schedule 2014: Cardinals vs. Giants Game 3 TV Coverage and Predictions

Due to the past success of the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants in October, we already knew the National League Championship Series would be a fight to the bitter end. Through two games of compelling baseball, that thought looms large.

The Giants earned a huge road win in Game 1, as Madison Bumgarner continued his playoff brilliance. San Francisco’s lineup got to Adam Wainwright early, and before we knew it, the Giants pitched a shutout thanks to continued stellar play from their bullpen.

With St. Louis down a game, it entered a must-win scenario in Game 2 and didn’t disappoint. Thanks to solid relief pitching—sans a poor day from Trevor Rosenthal—and some late-game heroics from Kolten Wong, the series moves to San Francisco all knotted up at one game each.

So, which team will successfully break this deadlock and earn a pivotal Game 3 victory? Before we predict the answer to that question, let’s first take a look at the contest’s essential viewing information.


Viewing Information

Series: Tied 1-1

Where: AT&T Park in San Francisco, California

When: Tuesday, October 14

Time: 4 p.m. ET

Channel: Fox Sports 1

Live Stream: MLB.TV (subscription required)


Preview and Prediction

As if these two teams couldn’t be any more evenly matched, the Giants are starting Tim Hudson and the Cardinals are going with John Lackey in Game 3. How does this pitching matchup make this impending contest even more of a toss-up? Take a look at each starter’s postseason numbers this year:

It doesn’t get much closer than that.

These teams match up evenly in regard to their starters, but what about depth in the bullpen? Looking back through two games in this series, both teams’ relievers surrendered runs; however, St. Louis had the better staff in Game 2, as three separate San Francisco relievers gave up a run.

Still, the Giants now return home, and their bullpen was magnificent before Sunday’s contest. The three runs given up by relievers over the last three innings may be more of an outlier than anything. After all, take a look at these telling stats before Sunday’s contest, via Richard Justice of

Regardless, considering the ability of Hudson and Lackey to go seven-plus innings, we may not see much bullpen work from either squad in Game 3.

Should the Giants go to their bullpen, it will be interesting to see if they finally put Tim Lincecum into action. Although, a tweet from Andrew Baggarly of doesn’t look promising:

One big difference between these two teams is how they’ve generated runs in the postseason. A side-by-side comparison is very telling:

In a far different trend from the regular season, St. Louis has suddenly discovered the long ball, while San Francisco has been relying more on manufacturing runs with consistent plate appearances across its lineup.

Taking this into consideration, the Giants get the slight upper hand in Game 3. Hudson was fired up and emotional in his last victory, and we should expect to see more of the same from him as he prepares to take the mound in a stadium full of supportive fans. It’s just difficult to see the Cardinals notching many deep balls in that scenario.

Prediction: Giants 4, Cardinals 2

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ALCS Schedule 2014: Updated Royals vs. Orioles TV Coverage and Predictions

Just as we were all geared up to see the third game of the American League Championship Series between the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles on Monday night, Mother Nature had to interfere. Some inclement weather rolled into town, and the game was postponed as a result.

Fox Sports: MLB had the updated series schedule following the postponement:

Now that we’re forced to wait until Tuesday night to see this series continue, we have some more time to speculate on which team is most likely to earn a coveted berth in the World Series. Before we get into some predictions, here’s an updated look at the remaining ALCS schedule.

*Denotes “if necessary” games.


Series Prediction

Luckily, Monday’s game was called before pitchers began warming up, which means Wei-Yin Chen is still slated to take the mound for the Orioles and Jeremy Guthrie remains scheduled to start for the Royals.

Guthrie wasn’t overwhelmingly consistent during the regular season, accumulating a record of 13-11 and a 4.13 ERA. Fortunately for the Royals, he enters Game 3 on a three-game winning streak, pitching at least seven innings in two of those contests.

Chen had a horrid outing in his one postseason start. The Detroit Tigers pummeled him for seven hits and five earned runs—including two home runs—over just 3.2 innings, which was good enough for a 12.27 ERA.

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports summed up exactly what Baltimore needs out of Chen in Game 3, via a tweet from America’s Pregame:

The Royals have been all over Baltimore’s pitching rotation, and based on what we saw from Chen’s first outing in October, the home team’s lineup could have a field day once again. Making matters worse for the Orioles is their shaky relief pitching. Darren O’Day has been horrid in this series and has earned two losses, while Zach Britton hasn’t been much better.

On the other hand, we have a steady Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland’s two saves and Wade Davis’ lights-out performances for the Royals, via this tweet from MLB:

It’s clear Kansas City has the upper hand on the mound right now. After this team discovered the long ball in the postseason to combine with some savvy baserunning, the Royals may be the most well-rounded team remaining in the playoffs.

Now, this team gets three consecutive games at home. Expect this Kansas City team to put the Orioles on the ropes in Game 3 and refuse to allow this series to go back to Baltimore.

Prediction: Royals in five

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Cardinals vs. Giants: Game 3 Time, TV Info, Live Stream and More

The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants are chock-full of playoff experience, and through two National League Championship Series contests, these squads are even. Speaking of experience, starters John Lackey and Tim Hudson—at a combined age of 74—are set to take the mound in Game 3.

Expect this roller-coaster ride to continue.

It doesn’t take an expert to quickly analyze these teams and determine that they are very evenly matched. Both have firepower at the plate, solid rotations and viable bullpens. So, what will propel one of these franchises to victory on Tuesday? Before that answer is predicted, here’s a look at all of the game’s pertinent viewing information.


Viewing Information

Series: Tied 1-1

Where: AT&T Park in San Francisco, California

When: Tuesday, October 14

Time: 4 p.m. ET

Channel: Fox Sports 1

Live Stream: MLB.TV (subscription required)


Preview and Prediction

We’ve already learned that whatever happened in the regular season isn’t exactly translating to October in 2014. After all, the Cardinals—ranked 29th in the league in home runs prior to the playoffs—have sent a postseason-high 11 balls out of the park.

This same theory can be applied to both Hudson and Lackey in Game 3. All “old jokes” aside, these two have defied their respective ages in October, as Hudson pitched 7.1 innings, allowing one run for a 1.23 ERA in one start, and Lackey lasted 7.0 innings, allowing one run for a 1.29 ERA.

We could have seen this coming for Lackey, as MLB Stat of the Day notes the pitcher’s career postseason ERA:

All right, so they each pitched one postseason game and fared well. How have they done against their upcoming opponents? That’s another area in which these pitchers are at a stalemate. Lackey is allowing a career .286 batting average with one home run to Giants hitters, and Hudson is allowing a career .290 average with zero home runs to Cardinals sluggers.

Let’s go ahead and call this one even on the mound. Although, it’s difficult to deny the appeal of Hudson’s enthusiasm following his first win, via John Middlekauff of 95.7 The Game:

But, what about at the plate? Well, it doesn’t get any easier there; however, these teams have scored runs this postseason in completely different fashions.

The Giants are batting .242 as a team and have more at-bats (265) than any other playoff squad. The team thrives on a deep rotation, as practically every hitter is a difficult out. They can get starters’ pitch counts up early and then feast on reserves.

The Cardinals have a different story. This is a team that has recently discovered the long ball. St. Louis is only batting .227 as a team, but an abundance of home runs gets this squad runs in bulk. The Cardinals attempted to shift their batting order in Game 2, moving Jon Jay to the No. 2 spot, but that didn’t quite work out, as he tallied just one hit in four plate appearances.

The edge in Game 3 has to go to the most consistent and complete team. While this may have not been the case during the regular season, the Giants get the advantage here. Earning a road win and coming home to a jam-packed crowd will lead to a win on Tuesday.

Prediction: Giants 4, Cardinals 2

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MLB Playoffs 2014: How Royals’ Game 1 Win vs. Orioles Shakes Up ALCS

Entering the postseason, the Kansas City Royals were blazoned as a solid baseball team that didn’t exactly have a good enough rotation or enough power at the plate to go deep into October. Well, after an 8-6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, that all changed.

The Royals were already known for savvy baserunning, as the team’s overall speed was great, and that translated to an impressive 153 stolen bases over the regular season. The team’s prowess on the bags got it through a wild-card game against the Oakland Athletics and had plenty to do with the sweep of the Los Angeles Angles in the American League Division Series.

Heading into the ALCS, the Royals were the feel-good story of the MLB postseason, but without a reliable long ball or a deep pitching staff, defeating the Orioles would be a tall order.

Well, just when we thought we knew exactly what Kansas City brought to the table, it threw us a big curveball on Friday, tallying three home runs en route to a big road to start the series. Don’t look now, but prior to Saturday’s game, Kansas City’s seven total playoff jacks top all 2014 postseason teams.

The power is coming at the right time, via ESPN Stats & Info:

So, that means the Royals have speed on the bases and power at the plate? Yes.

With the base-running abilities of Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson, Alex Gordon and Terrance Gore, and the resurgent slugging of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, this is suddenly a very dynamic offensive squad and is simply a shadow of a shadow of its regular-season form that ranked just 14th in the league in runs scored.

All right, so the Royals suddenly have some offense, but they still had a pitching staff that ranked 12th in the regular season with a 3.51 ERA. Well, that’s apparently changed as well.

Following Friday’s contest, Kansas City’s pitching staff has a combined 3.40 ERA in the postseason. That doesn’t seem like much of a difference from the team’s regular-season numbers, but the stats don’t tell the whole story.

While starter James Shields started strong, he faltered in the fifth and the bullpen was called into action. Rookie Brandon Finnegan entered the game in the sixth. He was charged with an earned run, but it came off a strange occurrence, as Jonathan Schoop reached third after being hit in the back when attempting to steal. He ended up scoring on a blooper over the mound.

Here’s a look at the odd situation:

Still, Kansas City’s bullpen continued to be brilliant thereafter. Both Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis—who are both used to one-inning outings—each pitched two innings without allowing a single earned run to help close out the game.

The team’s rotation is also backed up by some very solid defending. This remarkable diving catch by Gordon in the third inning is just one small example:

All of a sudden, the Royals are a team that can hit the long ball, manufacture runs with a bevy of quick base-runners, maintain solid pitching throughout a game and play some solid defense. That’s the definition of a well-rounded club.

Chase Goodbread of summed the team’s recent play up nicely:

While all of those attributes are impressive, the team’s resilience is its most dangerous quality. Kansas City has seen adversity several times in the 2014 postseason, and it has emerged victorious each and every time. That trait equates to playoff wins, and the Royals’ recent play has been a testament to that.

Here’s a great statistic regarding the team’s ability to overcome adversity, via ESPN Stats & Info:

Moustakas summed the team’s resilience up in a statement during a press conference, via Dick Kaegel of, “That’s what this team does. We overcome obstacles that are put in front of us every time. That just goes back to us believing in each other.”

Baltimore is a very talented team. However, a loss at home in Game 1 to a surging Kansas City team that remains full of confidence and momentum doesn’t bode well for the remainder of the series.

The Royals are certainly this year’s Cinderella team, and given how an impressive Game 1 victory in Baltimore has already put the ALCS in their favor, this story will continue through to the World Series.

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Cardinals vs. Dodgers: Game 2 Time, TV Info, Live Stream and More

The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers pitted aces Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright against each other in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. As practically no one expected, each pitcher was peppered, as the Cardinals emerged victorious by a score of 10-9.

On Saturday, both teams are back in action, and Zack Greinke and Lance Lynn will attempt to fare better than their counterparts. Although, based on the offensive fireworks that were on display from both teams on Friday, we could be in line for another shootout.

In this best-of-five series, Game 2 is immensely important. A St. Louis win would put a stranglehold on the series, while a Los Angeles win would even things right back up. As we await the action to continue, let’s take a look at the impending contest’s viewing information, outlook and prediction.


Viewing Information

Series: St. Louis leads, 1-0

When: Saturday, October 4

Time (ET): 9:30 p.m.

Channel: MLBN

Live Stream: MLB.TV


Outlook and Prediction

Well, Game 1 wasn’t exactly the pitchers’ duel we expected; however, we have two very talented players set to take the mound on Saturday.

Greinke and Lynn both come with their ups and downs. Lynn boasted a 2.54 ERA in the month of September and refusing to allow more than three runs in any contest—he went at least six innings in all six of his starts. On the other hand, Greinke comes in with a nice winning streak on his side after allowing just nine runs last month.

Although, while Greinke appears to have the hotter hand right now, he is still attempting to establish himself in the postseason. Here’s a look at his ERA in October, via Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller:

Both pitchers faced each other on June 28 this season. Lynn was wildly inconsistent, giving up six runs over just two innings pitched. Greinke was on point, going a full seven innings while allowing just one run.

The forthcoming pitching matchup is about as even as anyone could imagine. The same can be said at the plate. ESPN Stats & Info noted how badly the hitters from both teams teed off on the aces on Friday:

In Game 1, both teams showed a bevy of talent and depth in their lineups, combining for 26 hits and 19 runs. However, the Dodgers were more aggressive earlier in the game, as the team attacked Wainwright in the game’s early innings.

The Dodgers saw production from all across the lineup, as Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and A.J. Ellis all got into the action, scoring six times through three innings. Five different players finished with multi-hit games and seven accounted for at least one RBI.

On the other hand, St. Louis saw a frenzy of scores in one inning. The team pummeled the Los Angeles rotation in the seventh inning, earning a total of eight runs in the process. However, Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday combined for seven of the team’s RBIs.

While the production from those two sluggers was fantastic, the Cardinals will need to see more consistent output across the rest of the lineup in order to ensure ongoing success in Los Angeles.

For now, the nod goes to the Dodgers on Saturday. Expect Greinke to continue his hot streak while the team’s hitters keep up their torrid pace to even the series.

Prediction: Dodgers 6, Cardinals 4

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MLB Playoffs 2014: TV Schedule, Live Stream, Bracket Predictions for Day 3

A riveting second day of the 2014 MLB playoffs saw both National League Division Series commence. The Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants went toe-to-toe, as Jake Peavy defeated Stephen Strasburg in a pitchers’ duel. On the other side of the coin, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in a shootout after Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw were pelted in the middle innings.

All four teams are back in action Saturday.

Tim Hudson is set to take the mound for San Francisco, and he’ll face Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann. Lance Lynn will be starting for St. Louis in a duel against Zack Greinke. With so much talent set to take the mound yet again, we’re sure in for another very compelling day of baseball.

As we wait and see how Day 3 unfolds, let’s take a look at all pertinent viewing information and predict the outcome for each contest.

Live Stream: MLB.TV 


Day 3 Predictions

San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals

The Giants showed plenty of moxie on the road against a very well-rounded Nationals team that had the NL’s co-leader in strikeouts on the mound Friday. San Francisco’s bats were more active than the final score indicates, as they recorded eight hits off Strasburg en route to a 12-hit, three-run performance.

While Peavy had a great outing, San Francisco’s bullpen was equally as impressive. Hunter Strickland came through in the clutch, recording a strikeout with the bases loaded. Afterward, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla blanked the Washington bats the rest of the way.

Peavy had some major praise for Strickland during a press conference, via “He saved the game. I want to make sure he understands that, even giving up the homers. He probably has a bad taste in his mouth. He saved the game with that big out against Desmond there.”

One area where the Giants must improve going forward is converting with runners in scoring position—they went 3-for-15 in Game 1. The Nationals are no strangers to lighting up the scoreboard, finishing ninth in runs during the regular season. San Francisco can’t expect to hold them to such a low number in each outing.

The Nationals showed they can hit the deep ball as well as anyone Friday; however, like the Giants, they weren’t efficient with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-5 on the day. Bryce Harper was the only Washington player to have a multihit game, and this team needs a bigger impact from Ian Desmond to even things up.

Patrick Paolini Jr. of Fox5 tweeted exactly why the team needs a contribution from Desmond:

While the Giants appear to have the early advantage at the plate, Washington has a hotter pitcher set to take the mound Saturday. Zimmermann ended his regular season with a brilliant no-hitter, and he hasn’t lost a decision since mid-July. On the other hand, Hudson didn’t earn a single win in September, pitching six innings just once.

Expect Zimmermann to continue riding his momentum and the Nationals hitters to bring across enough runners to earn a close victory.

Prediction: Nationals 5, Giants 3


St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers

When a game features the likes of Wainwright and Kershaw, very little scoring is expected. Well, that wasn’t the case at all during Game 1 of this series. Both pitchers were pelted much more than usual, and the end result was a 10-9 St. Louis win.

At first, Friday’s game appeared to be well in hand for the Dodgers. Kershaw gave up two runs through six innings while Los Angeles consistently put runs on the board, bringing in a total of six through the fifth inning. Then, the wheels fell off.

After a couple of runs scored early in the seventh inning, Matt Carpenter—who homered earlier in the game—continued his surge, lining a double to deep center and clearing the bases, instantly giving the Cardinals the lead. Matt Holiday finished off the eight-run inning with a three-run jack.

The Dodgers did fight back, scoring two runs in the eighth and another in the ninth. However, with the tying run at third base, Yasiel Puig struck out swinging to end the game. Kershaw got the loss, and he also lost this unblemished record, via ESPN Stats & Info:

Defeating Kershaw in that manner will surely give the Cardinals a great deal of momentum going forward.

Both teams are looking solid at the plate, so we can expect Saturday’s showdown to be decided on the mound.

Greinke earned a greater amount of wins in September, claiming four in his five starts; however, he went at least six innings in just three of those games. Lynn’s ERA in September was actually lower than Greinke‘s despite giving up two more runs. The biggest difference, though, was the fact that Lynn also gave up five home runs to Greinke‘s one.

Like Kershaw, Greinke hasn’t been overly fantastic in the postseason, via Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller:

These pitchers squared off once during the regular season—a contest on June 28 in Los Angeles. Lynn was pummeled by Los Angeles, giving up six earned runs in just two innings, but Greinke was sharp, lasting seven innings while allowing just one run.

We should expect more of the same Saturday when Greinke evens the series for the home team.

Prediction: Dodgers 6, Cardinals 4

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MLB Playoffs 2014: Viewing Information and Predictions for Both Wild Card Games

The 2014 MLB playoffs begin for 10 teams on Tuesday, but that number will be reduced to eight by Wednesday evening. The Oakland Athletics are set to take on the Kansas City Royals, and the San Francisco Giants meet the Pittsburgh Pirates in single-elimination contests to determine which two teams will move on to the best-of-five Division Series.

The Athletics and Royals have met seven times this season (all in August), with Kansas City emerging victorious in five of those contests. The Giants and Pirates have faced off six times in 2014, with Pittsburgh taking four wins. Will we see those trends continue in the postseason?

With each team’s ace set to take the mound in these win-or-go-home clashes, we’re certainly in for some compelling baseball. As we await the onset of this year’s Wild Card contests, here’s a look at all of the pertinent viewing information, followed by predictions for each.


Viewing Information



Athletics vs. Royals

When talking about a powerhouse team at the plate, chances are that conversation isn’t about the Royals. Ranked 14th in the league in runs, 16th in on-base percentage and 19th in slugging percentage, this isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut.

But what Kansas City lacks in power, it makes up for in efficiency. The team’s batting average is .263, and it leads the league in stolen bases with 153. The Royals will need to continue playing small ball and manufacturing runs to win against the likes of Jon Lester.

MLB gives a good look at the lefty here:

Oakland’s offense has been in a huge slump since trading away Yoenis Cespedes in a deal which gave them their new ace. Despite a slacking offense, Lester came up huge for the Athletics, dropping his ERA to 2.35—it was 2.52 in Boston. He’s had success in the postseason, and he’s exactly who Oakland will want on the mound in an elimination game.

Lester allowed three runs to the Royals on two occasions this season and shut them out once. Expect him to be in top form on Tuesday, as he propels his team into October with another brilliant showing on the mound.

Prediction: Athletics 4, Royals 2


Giants vs. Pirates

The Pirates are projected to go with the hot hand on Wednesday, as Edinson Volquez will be sent to the mound. Volquez finished the 2014 season with a career-low 3.04 ERA, but even more impressively, he’s only allowed one earned run in his last 21 innings pitched.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been sluggish at the plate this season, either. The team finished 2014 ranked 10th in runs, fifth in batting average, third in on-base percentage and seventh in slugging percentage. The Pirates have a great mix of power with Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker, along with the efficiency and speed of Starling Marte.

Here’s a look at how clutch McCutchen is for Pittsburgh, via ESPN Stats & Info:

Madison Bumgarner should take the mound for San Francisco in an effort to quell the Pittsburgh offense. Jake Peavy was another option, but it’s clear why the southpaw got the nod: he’s produced wins in six of his last seven starts.

Bumgarner will need some help on the offensive end to get past a Pittsburgh team that can put up some runs. This could be a slight issue without Angel Pagan in the fold, and the team will need a big performance from Buster Posey. We’re sure in for a close contest here, and the Giants are a good road team, but home-field advantage will be the final difference-maker in this one.

Prediction: Pirates 6, Giants 5

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Angel Pagan Injury: Updates on Giants OF’s Back and Return

Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 16

CSN’s Andrew Baggarly has more on Pagan’s status:

MLB Lineups indicates Angel Pagan is out of the Giants’ lineup:

Bruce Bochy commented on Pagan’s status via Andrew Baggarly of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area:


Original Text:

The San Francisco Giants will be without outfielder Angel Pagan on Monday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his place will be Juan Perez, according to a tweet from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Schulman also tweeted the cause for the scratch:

After the Giants 6-2 loss, Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News provided an update: 

Andrew Baggarly of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area spoke with Pagan about the injury: 

The injury comes at a terrible time for San Francisco, as the team is feverishly chasing the Los Angeles Dodgers in a race for the NL West. We’re now in the midst of September, and with the postseason creeping ever so closer, San Francisco’s three-game deficit is quickly becoming increasingly difficult to overcome.

Losing Pagan’s .302 batting average doesn’t help the team’s cause. The outfielder has accumulated 115 hits, 21 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 27 RBI while stealing 15 bases in 95 games this season.

Perez will take over in Pagan’s absence. He’s batting .189 on 74 at-bats this season, totaling 14 hits, seven doubles, one home run and three RBI. He has some big shoes to fill as the Giants continue to make a push for the playoffs.

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