For the first time since 2001, there will be three Game 5’s in the LDS round of the MLB playoffs.
Tonight, the Detroit Tigers travel to New York to face the Yankees. The Tigers will turn to in-season acquisition Doug Fister, while the Yankees have tabbed shiny rookie Ivan Nova for the start. One interesting factor could be unusual options of the bullpen, as New York has stated that C.C. Sabathia will be available in relief. The Tigers have said Justin Verlander will not pitch in Game 5.
Tomorrow, Ian Kennedy and the Diamondbacks try to complete their comeback against the Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee fought hard until the end of the season to try to secure home-field advantage for this round, given they have the largest discrepancy in home and away record among the playoff teams. This may prove to be an important decision, as the Brewers won both games in Milwaukee earlier in the series and a raucous Miller Field Crowd could help them to victory. Former Jays Aaron Hill and Ryan Roberts hit homers in Wednesday’s victory and will try to duplicate the feat against Gallardo. The Diamondbacks handed Lyle Overbay the start against Gallardo in the first game, but Goldschmidt has been hitting well for them this series (5-for-11 with 2 home runs) and Overbay will likely stay with John McDonald on the bench.
Finally, the late game Friday sees two former Blue Jays pitchers face off against one another in an elimination battle. Philadelphia turns to the incomparable Roy Halladay to stave off the Cardinals. After allowing a three-run homer in the first inning in Game 1, Halladay allowed a leadoff single in the second inning and then retired 21 straight batters. He’ll look to continue that success against a St. Louis lineup that will include Matt Holliday, as he got his first start in Game 4 yesterday. Doc faces off against friend and former teammate Chris Carpenter. Carpenter was ineffective in Game 2, pitching on three days rest for the first time in his career, and will be back on regular rest for Game 5. St. Louis refuses to quit and came back after falling behind yesterday in the first inning. Mid-season acquisition Edwin Jackson turned in a solid start and Octavio Dotel pitched well in middle relief. Up by two and with one on and two out, LaRussa turned to Marc Rzepczynski in the 8th inning and he struck out Ryan Howard on three straight breaking balls. Scrabble gave a small fist pump as he walked off the mound.
With a chance to see the Yankees eliminated tonight and former Jays players all over the Friday contests, it should be a fun couple of days of baseball. Here’s a place for all the news and notes on the Game 5’s.