It’s Friday, baby, which is great news on its own, but it’s also a Friday with a full slate of MLB postseason games, which basically makes it the best Friday possible.

Rejoice, my friends, and watch baseball all day.

Below, we’ll break down the schedule, viewing options and make a few predictions for all the day’s action.

I’m sticking with my overall picks to win each series to triumph on Friday, with the exception of one contest.

In the first game, I’m not going to get too creative with my pick. Frankly, I like Yu Darvish to stifle Toronto and win his duel against J.A. Happ. In his last two starts (13.0 innings), Darvish has given up just one run, two walks and five hits while striking out 21 batters.

Unsurprisingly, the Rangers won both of those games.

Yes, the Blue Jays knocked around Cole Hamels on Thursday. And yes, Happ has been very solid this season, so he’ll keep the Blue Jays in the game. But I expect Darvish to tame the explosive Toronto bats, at least for one game.

The second matchup has a fascinating pitching duel of its own, as David Price takes the mound for the Boston Red Sox against Corey Kluber. Price has had his woes in the postseason, owning a 2-7 record in the playoffs with a 5.22 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He’s also given up 11 home runs in 63.1 innings pitched.

Not good.

But Kluber, Cleveland’s ace, is returning from a quadriceps strain, according to Zack Meisel of But Kluber should be just fine.

“It’s the first time in the last three years that [Kluber] has had any kind of breather during the season,” the team’s pitching coach, Mickey Callaway, told Meisel. “The ball is coming out of his hand great. His leg feels fine. His mechanics looked good.”

He added: “The ball was coming out hot. He said, ‘Oh, man, my arm feels great.’ He did really good.”

I think Boston will win this series. But until Price can exorcise his postseason demons, it’s tough to trust him. No, we don’t know how Kluber will handle the postseason spotlight or a fantastic Boston offense. He faced Boston twice this season, giving up just two runs in seven innings in May for a win and four runs in 5.1 innings in an April loss (Price earned the win in that contest, giving up two runs in six innings).

Which Price will we see? Which Kluber, for that matter?

I’ll take Kluber to triumph in a tight contest.

Yes, the third game on the docket, the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. the Washington Nationals, is all about the pitching matchup, too (it’s the postseason—it’s always about the pitching matchup). 

Clayton Kershaw, like Price, has struggled in the postseason with a 2-6 record and a 4.59 ERA. On the other hand, Max Scherzer has been better in the postseason, going 4-3 with a 3.72 ERA, but he hasn’t exactly reminded anyone of Madison Bumgarner in his October appearances.

There are a few reasons to like Kershaw, however. In his only start against Washington this year (Scherzer didn’t start against the Dodgers this season), he went seven innings, giving up just one run while striking out eight. And while his season was shortened by injuries, he still posted ridiculous numbers, going 12-4 with 172 strikeouts, a 1.69 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP in 149 innings.

Of course, Scherzer might win the NL Cy Young this year, so he’s hardly chopped liver. But two factors play in favor of the Dodgers in this contest.

As Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times noted: “The Nationals have plenty of weapons in their lineup, but a series of injuries has slowed their production. Neither Daniel Murphy nor Bryce Harper, the two most dangerous hitters, appears close to 100 percent as the playoffs begin.”

And the second factor: “The Dodgers might have the best offense in baseball—when they are facing a right-handed pitcher,” as McCullough wrote.

Look for the Dodgers to maintain home-field advantage and take Game 1.

Finally, the Chicago Cubs will host the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs were the best team in baseball during the regular season. Madison Bumgarner is arguably the best postseason pitcher in MLB history. But Bumgarner won’t pitch until Game 3.

So, yeah, the Cubs should take Game 1. I’ll take Jon Lester, Aroldis Chapman, the loaded offense, Joe Maddon and the best home record in baseball over Johnny Cueto and the Giants in Game 1.

And in this series. 


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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