After an NL-only slate on Saturday, we’re back with a pair of AL games with teams looking to stave off elimination. There’s no shortage of storylines and intriguing, if not necessarily great pitchers. Check ’em out!
RHP Brad Peacock (HOU) versus RHP Doug Fister (BOS) — 2:38 p.m. ET, FS1
Peacock will attempt to pitch the Astros into the ALCS. And it’s sort of hard to believe at this point that it could happen without Lance McCullers having made a start. At least it would have been much harder to believe earlier in the season. You know, when McCullers was cruising. Or when Justin Verlander wasn’t an Astro yet. Or when Peacock was coming out of the bullpen.
Nevertheless, here we are, with the 29-year-old righty having posted a 3.00 ERA in 34 appearances (21 starts) with a .206 BAA and 161 strikeouts in 132 innings. The Red Sox have been an absolute mess in this series. So we’ll see if the Astros can mercifully end it on them before they get any sort of momentum going.
It also doesn’t help that the Sox are turning to Fister. He wasn’t even with a team to start the season. And, was even released from the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate after they determined he couldn’t help their ravaged triage unit of starters. Fister was not particularly good for the Red Sox either—4.88 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and .254 BAA. But he did fan 83 batters in 90.1 innings and allowed just nine homers.
If he can at least go into damage-control mode and hold the Astros offense at bay for four or maybe even five innings, maybe they can patch something together and get this series back in the right direction? Admittedly, it doesn’t look good.
RHP Carlos Carrasco (CLE) versus RHP Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) —7:38 p.m. ET, FS1
This is a nod to the tremendous pitching depth the Indians have3as well as the stones of manager Terry Francona—that Carrasco is starting any Game 3 in a series.
Granted, Francona put his neck on the line by starting Trevor Bauer in Game 1. But having Carrasco to go for the jugular against a reeling Yankees team coming off a walk-off loss is not a bad thing. Carrasco was in the top-10 in the AL in innings, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. And yet, he won’t get any sort of serious consideration for the Cy Young award other than some down-ballot consideration.
That’s how deep this Cleveland rotation is. We don’t like New York’s chances, either. An AL East-less ALCS? That’s music to some people’s ears.
Meanwhile, Tanaka was all over the place this season, posting a 4.99 ERA in September. So it’s fair to say the latest work is not all that positive. Working in his favor is that the game is at Yankee Stadium, where he posted a 3.22 ERA this year as opposed to a ghastly 6.48 mark on the road. Tanaka was markedly better in the second half (3.77 ERA) than the first (5.47). But, there was not too much rhyme or reason to his month-by-month ERA marks: 4.20, 8.42, 3.94, 3.82, 2.63 and 4.99.
It’s also worth noting that this could be his last start in a Yankees uniform—he has an opt-out built into his contract.
Don’t be surprised if at least one team is staying home after this Sunday slate.