With baseball’s grueling 162-game schedule thankfully in our rearview mirrors, our pastime’s finest month commences today and promises the October action we have all been waiting for.
The MLB postseason kicks off with a tripleheader of division series games today with the fourth and final matchup, Braves-Giants, beginning tomorrow. Facing a best-of-five series format, managers tighten rotations, shuffle lineups and attempt to find any advantage imaginable to win these imperative games.
With so many variables affecting the outcome of these win-or-go-home games, SI.com’s Tom Verducci cuts to the chase and examines the ten most compelling questions surrounding baseball’s playoffs.
Here’s the slate of games for the first day of postseason action (all times Eastern):
Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays (1:30 p.m., TBS)
Two of baseball’s best lefthanders take the mound in a likely pitching duel between Texas’ Cliff Lee and Tampa Bay’s David Price. SI.com’s Albert Chen previews the AL battle.
Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies (5:00 p.m., TBS)
The National League’s lone game of the day pits the Reds, who are making their first playoff appearance since 1995, versus Roy Halladay and the red-hot Phillies. SI.com’s Cliff Corcoran delivers his five keys to watch.
New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins (8:30 p.m., TBS)
The wild-card Yankees and C.C. Sabathia head to Minnesota to take on Francisco Liriano and the Morneau-less Twins. SI.com’s Ben Reiter breaks down the series.
By The Numbers
3 – Minutes the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh logged together Tuesday night in Miami’s preseason opener. James and Bosh combined for 38 points, but Wade left the game in the first quarter hobbled by a strained right hamstring.
150 – Points driver Clint Bowyer’s team was docked after his final appeal was dismissed Tuesday. NASCAR penalized Bowyer after the driver’s car failed to meet post-race inspections following his Sept. 11 victory at New Hampshire.
1,508 – Number of games Rangers third baseman Michael Young has played over his career without appearing in the postseason until today.