LDS Thursday Preview & Picks!

Last night was a great night for Major League Baseball, but today may be even greater.

Giants @ Reds – 1:07pm on TBS

Series tied at 2

When I wrote my preview for this series, I said “I think this will be the series that almost nobody watches.” So far, unfortunately that has held true.

The Giants looked like they were on their way out after being swept at home, but they found a way to win in extra innings on Tuesday and then absolutely drubbed the Reds yesterday. If you watched yesterday’s game, you saw Tim Lincecum throw 4 solid innings in relief to keep the Giants in the game long enough for the offense to unload on Reds pitching.

The Reds have to be feeling down heading into today’s game. They get crushed at home, and find out their ace Johnny Cueto will not be joining them in the next round (should they advance).

The Giants have to be on cloud 9 right now. They have their ace Matt Cain on the hill today, looking to bounce back from a tough Game 1 start. Do you see Cain having 2 bad starts in a row? I don’t.

I picked the Giants, and I’m sticking to it.

Cardinals @ Nationals – 4:07pm on TBS

STL leads 2-1

This is the shoulda, coulda, woulda series. Fans all over the country are jumping on the “Strasburg should have pitched” bandwagon. Here is what we know about Strasburg’s situation.

Since October, 2011 – the Nationals said he’d have an innings limit. Strasburg’s doctor recently said he didn’t speak with the Nats regarding the shut down plan – but then a day later went back and clarified his comments suggesting he DID discuss it with Rizzo.

Further, Strasburg’s agent Scott Boras also said the doctor was involved in giving an opinion. At the end of the day, we’ve known for 12 months what the plan was – it’s never changed.

I found this quote very strange, “If we had (Strasburg), we’d be up 2-0,” an anonymous player told

So basically “You’re no good Jordan Zimmerman.” Who by the way had a better ERA in more innings pitched than Strasburg.

I understand the frustration, but I also think assuming you’d win a game no matter what is a little bit much. Strasburg threw 159 innings this year on a surgically repaired elbow. In 2010 he threw 143 innings, and then in 2011 he got hurt. So you can’t tell me you KNOW Strasburg wouldn’t be gassed by October had he stayed on the roster.

You know what will go down as a bigger mistake? Ross Detwiler starting instead of Gio on 3 days rest with the season on the line.

The lack of faith in Zimmerman, and the lack of urgency is what I believe will end the season for the Nationals today.

Orioles @ Yankees – 7:37pm on TBS

NYY leads 2-1

Raul Ibanez comes off the bench and makes Girardi look like a genius. It helped that Baltimore’s closer threw a beachball to Ibanez too.

I think yesterday was a crushing loss for the Orioles. Though I don’t trust Phil Hughes in a big spot, I trust Joe Saunders even less. I am baffled that Chris Tillman is not getting the start, and I’d hope he is the first guy out of the pen if Saunders gets into trouble.

Baltimore has to play this game with all hands on deck. They have to be fearing what may happen in a close game with their closer on the hill who has blown two games in this series.

I’m torn here, I picked NYY, I’m rooting for Baltimore and I really feel like the O’s have to be feeling crushed after last night – but at the same time I have faith in Buck.

I’m gonna go with my gut, and take NYY to end the series.

Tigers @ A’s – 9:37pm on TNT

Series tied at 2

The remarkable A’s did it again last night. Down 3-1 facing elimination, they brought 3 runs in the 9th to steal a victory from the shocked Tigers.

The A’s will send Jarrod Parker to the hill against Justin Verlander. Go get em rook.

I love the A’s story. I love that nobody expected them to win 70 games, their rotation is made up of rookies, their lineup is made up primarily of guys nobody wanted, they’ve had to play guys out of position all year, they came back from 13 games out to beat the 2 time AL champs and they’ve dealt with controversy (Colon) and tragedy (McCarthy and Neshek).

They are the best story in the sport, but at the end of the day I believe the best pitcher in the sport will close the book on this year’s story. I don’t think Verlander is going to hand the ball to anybody tonight. This will be his game to win, and he’s going to shut down the A’s.

I’m hoping for close games across the board, here’s to an exciting Thursday of playoff baseball!

About Michael Branda 267 Articles
Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.