ST. PETERSBURG - OCTOBER 06: Manager Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers congratulates catcher Bengie Molina #11 just after the game against the Tampa Bay Rays during Game 1 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field on October 6 2010 in St. Petersburg Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

2010 MLB Playoffs: TV Schedules And Keys To Thursday's Division Series Matchups

Thursday brings our second playoff tripleheader in two days, and in this StoryStream we bring you the relevant TV, radio, and matchup information for each of the day's games, along with three keys to each contest.

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2010 MLB Playoffs: Giants Vs. Braves NLDS Game 1 Viewing Guide

 

Time: 9:37pm ET

Starting Pitchers: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP Derek Lowe

Series: 0-0

TV: TBS

TV Announcers: Dick Stockton and Bob Brenly

Radio: ESPN Radio

Radio Announcers: Chris Berman, Dave O'Brien, Rick Sutcliffe

Umpires: Dana DeMuth, Paul Nauert, Paul Emmel, Mike Winters, Jerry Layne, Ed Hickox

MLB.com Gameday: Link

Team Blogs: McCovey Chronicles, Talking Chop

Situation

The last series to get going is an appropriate one, as no other teams in the playoffs deserved a longer break than the Braves and Giants, each of whom were batting for their playoff lives on the final day of the regular season. Now that they've had a chance to celebrate, settle down, and focus on the task ahead, they'll get the nightcap time slot. The orange-clad Giants fans will be out in full force as they cheer on by far the hottest team in baseball, as San Francisco allowed just 64 runs over the final 31 games of the year. The Giants are hot, and the Braves are shorthanded. This one's got a clear underdog.

Three Keys

(1) Tim Lincecum remains an excellent young pitcher, but he pitched a little worse in 2010 than he did in 2009, and a big reason is that his performance declined against left-handed hitters. Why? One explanation could be that lefties swung through his curveball half as often as they did a year ago. Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, and Eric HInske are arguably Atlanta's top three hitters, and each of them is left-handed. Going against Tim Lincecum is never a good matchup, but there's reason to believe the Braves could exploit a little weakness.

(2) Derek Lowe's whole gameplan is getting hitters to beat the ball into the ground, and save for Andres Torres, the Giants don't really feature a lot of burners. Lowe will give up his hits and walks and try to survive by generating force outs and double plays. The Giants won't be able to counter by sending the runners. What they'll need to do is be disciplined enough to recognize when Lowe leaves a sinker a little up in the zone, and hit it with some air underneath.

(3) The Giants and Braves each featured exceptional bullpens during the year, and they'll carry those over into the playoffs. Unfortunately for the visitors, Takashi Saito will miss the NLDS, taking away one of their top weapons. Even so, one gets the sense that whoever's winning this game in the sixth inning will probably be able to come out on top. Look for both managers to play for one run. This could be NL ball at its most typical, with extra emphasis on moving runners and getting the right matchups. 

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2010 MLB Playoffs: Twins Vs. Yankees ALDS Game 2 Viewing Guide

 

Time: 6:07pm ET

Starting Pitchers: RHP Carl Pavano vs. LHP Andy Pettitte

Series: 1-0 New York

TV: TBS

TV Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, and John Smoltz

Radio: ESPN Radio

Radio Announcers: Jon Miller and Orel Hershiser

Umpires: Jerry Crawford, Hunter Wendelstedt, Greg Gibson, Brian O'Nora, Gary Darling, Chris Guccione

MLB.com Gameday: Link

Team Blogs: Twinkie Town, Pinstripe Alley

Situation

Game 1 wasn't a heartbreaking loss for Minnesota, but it was a difficult one, as they saw their ace starter hand away a three-run lead in the top of the sixth. At that point, the Twins' mathematical odds of winning were at least around 80%. They blew it, and now they're in need of a very solid start from a very different type of pitcher than the one they threw out first. For the Yankees, they're looking for Pettitte to look more like he has before in the playoffs, and less like he did over his final two starts of the regular season.

Three Keys

(1) Andy Pettitte missed a chunk of time with a groin injury, and in his final two tune-up starts for the playoffs, he allowed 19 hits in 7.1 innings. Being that his last start came on October 2nd, he's getting the nod in Game 2 on normal rest. Once again, the Twins are going to want to look to their right-handed bats to supply the production. Their lefties went a combined 2-15 in Game 1, and though Pettitte isn't Sabathia, he's a fine southpaw in his own right. Michael Cuddyer's power display was encouraging. That would really come in handy.

(2) All Carl Pavano does is throw strikes. The Yankees, meanwhile, will on any given day feature perhaps the most disciplined batting order in the league. If the Yankees take a wait-and-see approach to Pavano, then they'll be fighting from behind in the count all game long. They'll need to be uncharacteristically aggressive to take advantage of him early, and Pavano, in turn, will need to get a feel for the ball and pitch to the corners in young counts. It's a cat-and-mouse game. Pavano is aggressive, so the Yankees will want to be aggressive, but Pavano will then want to be less aggressive, so - we'll see who's a step ahead.

(3) Carl Pavano finished the regular season having allowed 31 stolen bases, the fifth-highest total in baseball. That's with Joe Mauer behind the plate. He has a deliberate delivery, and there'll be the option there for the Yankees to be aggressive on the basepaths if they're able to get some speed on first. They won't necessarily have to play the longball game to win. If they can get runners and move those runners into scoring position, line drives are good enough.

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