LEADING OFF: Postseason returns to Toronto, KC hosts Astros
A look at what’s happening around the major leagues today:
WHAT’S THE PRICE?
Blue Jays ace David Price tries to reverse his playoff history – the lefty is 0-5 with a 4.98 ERA in five career postseason starts. The former Cy Young Award winner, acquired in late July, will throw the first pitch when Toronto hosts Texas in Game 1 of the best-of-five American League Division Series.
QUITE A TURNAROUND
After making a splash in the World Series last year with his 100 mph fastball, Yordano Ventura got off to a rocky start this season with the Royals. He beefed with Angels star Mike Trout, set off a bench-clearing brawl with the White Sox and later got sent to the minors. The 24-year-old Ventura bounced back to go 9-1 down the stretch, earning the start in Game 1 when Kansas City hosts Houston in the ALDS.
Astros ace Dallas Keuchel and his big ol’ beard opened this year’s playoffs with a win at Yankee Stadium in the AL wild-card game. Then bearded Jake Arrieta pitched a shutout as the Cubs won at Pittsburgh in the NL wild-card matchup. An early theme developing? Well, two years after a scraggly bunch of Red Sox won the World Series, we’ll see if anyone still left in the playoffs wants a haircut any time soon.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny might reveal the rest of his rotation for the NLDS following a workout at Busch Stadium. Matheny says John Lackey will start the opener Friday in St. Louis against the Cubs. Lackey went 9-4 with a 1.93 ERA in 17 starts at home.
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig says he’s been told that he’ll on the roster for the National League Division Series against the Mets. LA will wait until Friday’s opener to announce it. Puig missed nearly the entire final month because of a hamstring injury. He is hitting .255 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs.
It’s been a while since there was a postseason game in Toronto. A very long while. The last time was 1993, when Joe Carter’s bottom-of-the-ninth homer drove in future Hall of Famers Rickey Henderson and Paul Molitor to win the World Series. A sellout crowd at Rogers Centre – formerly SkyDome – is ready to rock when the Blue Jays end baseball’s longest current playoff drought.
Yovani Gallardo went 2-0 vs. Toronto this season, shutting out the highest-scoring team in the majors for 13 2-3 innings. He’ll start the opener for Texas in their ALDS matchup. Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion is 5 for 16 with three home runs against the Rangers righty.