As twenty teams prepare to pack it in for the offseason, a few odds and ends concerning those still remaining in the battle for a World Series crown…
- The 2019 playoff picture is officially set. The Rays will head to Oakland for the AL Wild Card game on Wednesday, Oct. 2, with first pitch at 8:09 pm EST. Earlier this week, Rays manager Kevin Cash appeared on MLB Network Radio, where he made comments indicating that Charlie Morton would take the ball on Wednesday for Tampa. No official word has come from the Athletics regarding their own one-game stopper, but Billy Beane hinted to the San Francisco Chronicle that Sean Manaea may have the “inside track” to tackle the opportunity.
The Nationals and Brewers will do battle on Tuesday at 8:08 pm EST in Washington D.C. for the NL play-in spot, where Max Scherzer is expected to take the ball for the Nationals. Meanwhile, Tom Haudricort of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays that Brandon Woodruff will be trusted by manager Craig Counsell to best Scherzer in the winner-moves-on affair (link). Woodruff may not carry the imposing resumé of Scherzer (nor does he possess a rare genetic variation that endows him with transfixing, multi-colored eyes), but he has looked the part of a frontline starter when healthy in 2019, with a 3.62 ERA (3.01 FIP) in 121.2 innings this season.
- In other Brewers-related news, outfielder Ryan Braun expects to play in that Tuesday tilt against D.C. Haudricort also relays that outfielder Lorenzo Cain is “hopeful” for the game (link). Braun is dealing with a calf issue, while Cain has a gimpy ankle. As previously noted here, the Brewers may be limited to Trent Grisham or Tyrone Taylor in center if Cain is indeed too hindered to give it a ’go’ on Tuesday night.
- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hasn’t yet announced the full pitching lineup for the NLDS, but he tells Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Time that he is “feeling really good” about trusting Rich Hill with potential Game 4 duties (link). Hill was only activated from the IL on September 24th but did strike out five Padre hitters in just two innings of work in that appearance. As the number-one seed in the National League, the Dodgers will host the winner of the Nats-Brewers Wild Card play-in matchup. The Dodgers, in fact, will play at home throughout the postseason, unless they face the Astros in the World Series–by posting an MLB-best 107-55 record, Houston clinched homefield advantage through the Fall Classic.