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Thursday ALDS/NLDS Matchups

October 11, 2012

Baseball

ALDS: NYY lead 2-1 (TBS 7:37)

Joe Saunders (BAL) v Phil Hughes (NYY)

This should be a really great game, with the Orioles wanting to stay in the hunt after those two amazing walk off home runs by Raul Ibanez last night. There will be two very experienced campaigners on the mound, with Joe Saunders up against Phil Hughes. Saunders has pitched in the post season four of the seven years he has been playing, and got Baltimore off to the best postseason start possible, beating Texas in the American League Wild Card playoff. In that game, Saunders went 5.2 innings, giving up a run on six hits and had strikeouts. This year, Saunders was 9-13, including 3-3 with the Orioles. He posted a 3.14 ERA with just 112 strikeouts. He has never been a strong post season performer, but the game against Texas was his best ever at this time of year, so he could be on the way up.

Saunders will come up against a young pitcher who deceptively has pitched a lot at this time of year. His name is Phil Hughes, who has appeared in the postseason four of his six years. He is 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in a crazy 16 games, but just three were as a starter. This year, Hughes went 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA. His best month came in June where he went 4-1, while he went 3-2 in September. Unfortunately for Hughes, he has given up four runs or more in four of his six last starts, giving up five against Toronto in his last appearance. Overall though, Hughes has one of his better years of his career in 2012, and is a great option for a game four matchup against Joe Saunders.

Overall

Both of these pitchers have plenty of experience in this time of the year, but very contrasting careers. Saunders has moved around a bit from LA, to Arizona and now in Baltimore while Hughes has always been a Yankee. Hughes has seen a lot of time out of the bullpen, while Saunders has always been used as a starter. It is these contrasts, along with the performances of these two pitchers which makes this match up a competitive one. This one is too close to call, with both players being very good this year. I would just give it to Hughes having had a better year and more postseason experience.

ALDS: TIE 2-2 (TBS 9:37)

Justin Verlander (DET) v Jarrod Parker (OAK)

Justin Verlander was hoping to pitch game one of an ALCS series against Baltimore or the Yankees, but now the ace must save the Tigers from three straight losses to be bundled out of the playoffs. Jarrod Parker has also appeared in this postseason back in Comerica park in game 1 against Verlander, and though he didn’t win the game, he did have a nice outing in his first start in the postseason. He gave up just two earned runs to Detroit, and gave up seven hits along with five Ks in 6 1/3 innings. This year, he went for at least six innings in 22 of his 29 starts, as well as being 6-5 with a 2.61 ERA in 15 starts, and Parker should be even better at the Collesium than in Detroit.

Facing him is arguably the best pitcher in baseball in Justin Verlander, who led the MLB with 239 strikeouts. He also brings the fact that he can throw over 100 MPH, which is no easy task to face. The only run he gave up back in game one was a homer to Coco Crisp, and Verlander will want to do something similar in the final game of the series to give his team a shot. He may not even be here, but thanks to that same man – Crisp, who hit an RBI single in the twelfth inning last night  – he is back here against the Athletics.

Overall:

What a duel this will be. Both pitchers will be hoping to be the hero to get their team in an ALCS, and both certainly can. They are both coming off great starts the last time they faced each other in game one. Justin Verlander has pitched the most of any one this year, while Parker has pitched 57 less innings than Verlander. Tonight could be the time where Verlander falls down, but regardless, the odds of that happening are very small. Verlander has a lot of postseason experience, much more than his opponent, and that could be all it come down to. It may just come down to the bullpens, and if Jose Valverde makes an appearance, I would give Oakland a real shot at home.

NLDS: TIED 2-2 (TBS 1:07)

Matt Cain (SFG) v Mat Latos (CIN) 

This battle of the two Matts will be a good one. Matt Cain pitched in game one of this series and was worse than normal. He gave up three runs on five hits in exactly five innings of work. He also had just the four strikeouts, and will want that number to improve if he is to win. 2012 was a great year for him as he pitched a gem at AT&T Park, with Gregor Blanco making “an unbelievable catch in the seventh inning” to preserve it. He went 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA this year. Cain has gave up just one run in his in previous postseason appearance back in 2010, and that year he pitched in three games. He also has a combined ERA of 0.99 with 17 strikeouts.

Facing him his Mat Latos who came over from the struggling San Diego at the start of the season and has performed well. He went 14-4 with a 3.48 ERA. He also clocked up 185 strikeouts in this season. Pitching in game one in his first postseason appearance, Latos worked just four innings, giving up a run on four hits while working out just one strikeout. He did enough to help the Reds to a 5-2 win, but will be wanting more time on the mound against the Giants this time around, especially if he starts working the strike zone and getting pitches in the desired areas.

Overall:

This will be another close one, with the winner moving on to the ALCS. Both Latos and Cain will have a lot at steak and will want to do themselves, their teammates and their ball club proud. It turn out to be a pitchers duel if both players start to get things going, and the result should be a little closer than the game one these two pitched in. Looking at postseason experience, Cain has much more of that, but Latos won’t be bothered by that. He’ll likely be thinking that game one was just a time to get rid of the playoff nerves, and now he’ll go out there with nothing to lose.

NLDS: STL leads 2-1 (TBS 4:07)

Kyle Lohse (STL) v Ross Detwiler (WSH)

Lohses last start was against Atlanta in the National League Wild Card game, and he pitched very well in that game. It was his first postseason win in five attempts, and he’ll want to keep things rolling on from that and clinch the series here in game four. Kyle Lohse has really had a career year, going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA. He has easily bettered his overall numbers from his previous best year back in 2008, and his seen much more innings as well. He pitched in two games against the Nats this season and had a 6.94 ERA, giving up a combined 12 runs on 17 hits. Despite that, he’ll certainly be really confident going into this start, and has no reason not to.

He goes up against the rather unheard of Ross Detwiler. Detwiler has really flown under the radar this season, but Washington have really appreciated what he’s done so far. He went 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA in the regular season, and this game will be his first ever postseason appearance. He faced the Cardinals in his final start of the year and really struggled too, giving up seven runs (three earned) on four hits in just 2 1/3 innings. He also walked five and striking out three. Despite that, Detwiler will be very pleased that this game is at home in Nationals Park. He went 8-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 17 starts at home. That’s opposed to a 2-6 record with a 4.38 ERA on the road.

Overall:

I am really looking forward to seeing this matchup, and certainly being at Nationals Park balances it out a lot more. It will allow Detwiler to get into the game and give himself a shot, while Lohse will still be rolling on from the confidence after beating the Braves a few days ago. Like almost every other game today, this will be a really close one. I look to the Cardinals hitters to get on top of Detwiler early as they did back in Busch stadium. I would then assume that Lohse should be able to continue his great year. Even if Detwiler is out early, you can still never count out the Nats hitters, especially at home. I think it will be no different to a lot of the other games today – close!

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About JarrahVW

I am a student from Melbourne, Australia who loves sport and wants to make writing about it his career. I have a wordpress site at www.sportsotheworld.com with analysis and general information about many Australian, American and International sports. As well as that, I also write on www.thefarmclub.net.

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