LEADING OFF: Giants-Dodgers cap 4-game Division Series slate
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
FOR BEST FROM THE WEST
The 107-win Giants and 106-win Dodgers are ready to throw out all those wins and settle their season-long clash with a best-of-five NL Division Series in San Francisco.
It’s the first time the rivals have met in the postseason despite going way, way back to their memorable days in New York. In 1951 and ’62, the clubs faced off in a best-of-three NL tiebreaker, with the Giants winning both times.
They were about as even as you can get meeting head-to-head this year: the Giants won the season series 10-9, while the Dodgers outscored San Francisco 80-78.
Logan Webb takes the ball in Game 1 for the Giants in his postseason debut. The right-hander went 10-0 since a May 5 loss at Colorado. Los Angeles will counter with right-hander Walker Buehler, a 16-game winner over 33 starts who went 3-1 against San Francisco this year.
GET IT STARTED
Corbin Burnes and the Milwaukee Brewers’ exceptional rotation are set to open an NLDS against Freddie Freeman and the potent Atlanta Braves.
Atlanta has three of the NL’s top four RBI producers in Adam Duvall (113), Austin Riley (107) and Ozzie Albies (106). Freeman had an NL-leading 120 runs scored.
Milwaukee struck out an MLB-leading 1,618 batters, with Burnes (11-5, 2.43 ERA) leading the way in a season that could land him a Cy Young Award.
Burnes will be making his first career postseason start against Braves veteran Charlie Morton (14-6, 3.34) in the opener. Morton is 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 13 career postseason appearances, including 10 2/3 scoreless innings for Tampa Bay in last year’s AL Championship Series.
J.D. Martinez is on the roster for the Red Sox, but it’s unclear how much impact he can have after spraining his left ankle in Boston’s regular-season finale Sunday. He didn’t start in a 5-0 ALDS Game 1 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday but was available off the bench. He might be in a similar role for Game 2 against the AL East-winning Rays.
“Obviously, four at-bats, it’s going to be hard,” manager Alex Cora said before the opener. “He will keep getting treatment. If we need it in a big spot and in a situation that we feel it’s the right one, not only because of his bat, but where he is at physically, we’ll use him.”
Boston left-hander Chris Sale (5-1, 3.16 ERA) will oppose Rays rookie right-hander Shane Baz (2-0, 2.03) in Game 2. Sale made nine starts this year after having Tommy John surgery on March 30, 2020. Baz debuted in the majors Sept. 20 and will be making just his fourth big league start.
Randy Arozarena became the first player in postseason history to homer and steal home in the opener, picking up where he left off last fall as a breakout October star. He’s a career .361 hitter with 11 homers in 26 postseason games.
Lucas Giolito starts for the Chicago White Sox after they lost 6-1 to the Houston Astros in Game 1 of their AL Division Series.
Giolito put together a strong finish to the regular season, going 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his last seven starts. The 6-foot-6 right-hander tossed a three-hitter in a 10-1 victory over Houston on July 17. He is making his second career playoff start after pitching seven-plus innings in a 4-1 victory at Oakland last year.
Framber Valdez starts Game 2 for Houston. He went 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 22 starts this season. The left-hander is 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in four career playoff appearances. The 27-year-old Valdez faced the White Sox twice this year, going 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA.
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