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Let’s gear up for another incredible day of baseball

Oct 11, 2012, 8:13 AM EDT

A's celebration

In case you missed any of yesterday’s mind-boggling action I offer you two things. First, my condolences, because you missed one of the best days of baseball in recent memory. Second, I offer you a quick set of links explaining to you how incredible it was:

But that was yesterday. Today we strap in for another twelve amazing hours of baseball, complete with two certain elimination games and two potential elimination games. And they break down like this:

Giants vs. Reds, 1:07 PM, TBS:  Matt Cain vs. Mat Latos for the right to advance to the NLCS. The Reds are at home, but home field has meant nothing in this series. Perhaps more meaningful: the Reds have beaten up Matt Cain pretty well this year, with the Giants ace going 0-3 with a 5.50 ERA and six homers in 18 innings against the Reds in 2012. Meanwhile, Latos was 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in two starts against the Giants. The Reds have mostly outplayed the Giants and have certainly outhit them over the four games in this series, but the Giants have shown tremendous resolve. This is a tossup.

Cardinals vs. Nationals, 4:07 PM, TBS: Kyle Lohse against a man in Ross Detwiler who wouldn’t be in this postseason rotation if not for the shutdown of Stephen Strasburg.  But the talk of the woulda, coulda, shouldas of the pitching staff will have to wait for the winter. Right now the Nationals need to figure out how to hit again, because their lack of offense these past two games has killed them every bit as much as their poor pitching. As for the Cardinals: we’re now on two straight years of no one really taking them seriously as a playoff team. Last year, that made some sense. This year, as the defending World Series champs, far less sense. It’s almost as if these guys are showing us that playoff experience makes a difference.

Orioles vs. Yankees, 7:37 PM, TBS: How do you get up off the mat after sustaining the gut punch that was Raul Ibanez’s ninth inning home run and the knockout punch that was his 12th inning bomb? If you’re the Orioles you try to shake it off and tell yourself that, contrary to all of the stuff going on in front of you, there is no such thing as Yankee Mystique and Aura. Probably. You also hope that the not-so-good version of Phil Hughes shows up for the Yankees and the good version of Joe Saunders shows up for you.  Because really, these are two guys who are each capable of a short outing, and we should not expect another tense matchup like we saw with Kuroda and Gonzalez yesterday.  Yesterday’s blasts notwithstanding, the O’s have the better bullpen and this is a game in which they’ll likely need it again. For the Yankees, after pulling A-Rod for a hero pinch hitter, and after all of his struggles, what do you do with your $250,000,000 man?

Tigers vs. Athletics, 9:37 PM, TNT: OK, Tigers, get off the ground. Shake it off. I realize that your heart attack-inducing closer coughed up a two run lead when you were three outs from winning the series, but that’s the past and the future is brighter. Why? Because over there in that hangar you have a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II in the form of Justin Verlander, warmed up and ready to fire missiles against Oakland A’s hitters who, yesterday’s rally notwithstanding, have not been all that hot. If you’re a betting man, you take the otherworldly ace over the possibility of improbable comebacks and walkoff wins every time.  The only question is, after yesterday’s Jose Valverde meltdown, what on Earth does Jim Leyland do if he gets to the ninth inning with a lead?  My suggestion: set Verlander’s pitch count at approximately 195.

Strap in, baseball fans. Turn your TV on at 1PM Eastern and don’t touch that dial. And while you’re watching, have your computer, tablet or smartphone with you locked in to HardballTalk, because we’re gonna have this stuff covered like nobody’s business.

  1. dwrek5 - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Cards have the momentum, but gotta win today. They couldn’t hit Gio in Game 1 and chances are Gio won’t be that shaky next time around.

    • umrguy42 - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      Definitely. Last thing they want is a game 5, especially on the road.

      • atom55 - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        The Cardinals have a terrible history of NLDS game 5 on the road with against top tier starters.

        (But yes, obviously the odds are much better of winning today than game 5 against Gio. Your comment just provided a fun opportunity to rub that in Phillies fans faces again).

  2. thatyankeedude - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    Yesterday was insane!!!! Today should be even better, this is why I love baseball.

  3. dannythebisforbeast - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    With that said. Is Arod on the bench today??

  4. vipod4ever - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    The tv ratings should be interesting
    If MLB doens’t win the night it says a lot about the viewers, because the MLB product was insanely entertaining last night.

  5. sportsdrenched - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    F-35 comparison to Justin Verlander? I can go along with that. Does that mean Prince Fielder is a B-52?

    • bravojawja - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:41 AM

      Only if he puts his hair in a beehive:

    • spudchukar - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:29 AM

      A more accurate question would be, Does that mean Prince Fielder is a Blimp?

  6. joecool16280 - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    As great as football is there is NOTHING like baseball. This is awesome.

    • foreverchipper10 - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      I love football but it’s all about baseball tonight. I mean, who cares about the Steelers/Titans game anyway?

  7. succulentnipples - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Give me a he’ll yea!

  8. mungman69 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Crazy, crazy, crazy. Let’s see who chokes and who don’t. Can’t wait.

  9. akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    More stories based on anonymous quotes. I could be a fantastic national reporter with a ton of page hits if I just posted inciting stories quoting anonymous people.

    More gutless, chicken sh*t reporting. First out of Rosenthal, now Nightingale. If you guys want to put a ton of credence into his work, go google his Season-ending awards pick where he talks about how great the triple crown is and how Cabrera has to win. If you’re going to kill his credibility for that post, might as well be consistent and have the same opinion about this one.

  10. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    A 4:07 start for the Nats? Do they know what that will do to DC traffic?

  11. spudchukar - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    No sweeps, another 4 game day, Heaven on Earth.

  12. moogro - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Go A’s and O’s. Wow.

  13. colehamelz - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Screw this crap. All the wild card stuff is a silly money grab that waters down the playoff field and takes a whiz on baseball history & tradition.

    Let me know when the LCS action gets going so I can tune in for REAL playoff baseball..


    • butchhuskey - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      These aren’t real playoff games? The teams in it are pretty damn good and all the series have been competitive.

    • sportsdrenched - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      I’m sure in 1969 there was some #oldschool guy whining about how the League Champsionship Series watered down the World Seires too. But we’ve had the DS since 1995…it has it’s own history and tradition now.

      Anyone 27 or below probably has no cognizant memory of there just being an LCS & WS.

      • spudchukar - Oct 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        Plus these 7 game World Series contests are a sham. Real old-school enthusiasts know baseball has been bastardized since the 9 game format was abandoned.

      • 4cornersfan - Oct 11, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        And how about the early 60s when expansion teams increased MLB from 16 to 20 teams? That was the beginning of the general decline in morality and personal responsibility and U.S. military dominance and the superiority of the Western world in all things. We are but a pale shadow because of the Mets and Angels.

  14. stackers1 - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    If I see that horrific Bronson Arroyo, sweatshirt commercial again I’m gonna puke!

  15. kp53153 - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I am really very exhausted at the lack of respect and media coverage given the St. Louis Cardinals. If the Yankees, Mets or Giants had done what they did last year, we would still be hearing about it. But, since the STL Cardinals are a National Leage team, forget it. They’re just a bunch of midwest hicks. All the media coverage just swarms on the AL and it’s about time you start recognizing some of the NL teams that are just as good, if not better, than the NY teams. The Cards deserve a lot more attention and respect in the MLB and I’m just sick of how little they get. They could win the WS every year and still, it would not be good enough. However, it doesn’t matter that much because we are the most respectable and loyal fans in the MLB and we stick by our team no matter what. We’ll give them all the attention and support they are so worthy of, right here in their hometown.

  16. Blue Prodigy - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    THUMBS UP! Proud to be a Card supporting midwest “hick”!

    • kp53153 - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      thanks Blue Prodigy!

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