Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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Both American League Division Series matchups have significant history. The Blue Jays and Rangers is a little more obvious only because it’s more recent. They faced each other in the ALDS just last postseason: Texas was up 2-0 and still managed to lose to Toronto, culminating in a game neither fan base is likely to forget.
There was the Shin-Soo Choo/umpire controversy. There was Elvis Andrus having a rough decisive game. There was Roberto Osuna making his presence felt on a national stage at 20, Marcus Stroman taking the ball in a spot everyone expected David Price to get it, and, of course, Jose Bautista and the bat flip. Fast-forward to 2016, and you’ve got Rougned Odor punching Bautista in the face, and you know this will all come back to these teams in a hurry during this rematch.
The Red Sox and Indians have less recent history, but that just means there is more to unpack here. Cleveland ended Boston’s playoff run — and quickly — in 1995 and 1998, with the Indians sweeping the Sox the first time by a combined score of 17-6, and then taking three in a row in ‘98 after Boston’s 11-run salvo in Game 1. The Sox would get their revenge in '99 after losing the first two games of the ALDS and also, seemingly, ace Pedro Martinez to injury.
The Sox would win 9-3, 23-7, and then 12-8 to take the series, with Martinez throwing six no-hit innings of relief to keep Cleveland in check in the final game. Then, in 2007, Boston and Cleveland faced off in the ALCS, with the latter going up 3-1 in the series before the Sox unloaded once more: Boston outscored the Indians 30-5 over the final three games, possibly with a little help from a catcher who was tipping everything.
There’s also the fact that the current Indians manager is Terry Francona, the man at the helm of the Sox when they took down Cleveland in 2007, and winner of two of Boston’s three World Series post-curse. He’ll take on his former pitching coach and former Indians’ director of player development, John Farrell, who led the Sox to that third World Series championship. Intrigue!
This next week is going to be a lot of fun and/or torture for four fan bases. The playoffs are the best, y’all, and you can start watching both of these series Thursday.
- Mets fans might disagree with that sentiment at the moment, but they’re allowed, as they got Bumgarnered and had to deal with a three-run homer from a dude who wasn’t even supposed to be there.
- At least the Mets got this amazing catch/wall collision from Curtis Granderson before it all ended.
- The Cardinals didn’t even get the opportunity to be Bumgarnered. What went wrong for them in 2016?
- If the Red Sox are to have an advantage against the Indians — who still have a strong playoff rotation even without Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar — they’re going to need Rick Porcello to beat Trevor Bauer in Game 1.
- Buck Showalter cost the Orioles their season, but hey, maybe his decision to save Zach Britton for a save that never materialized was so egregiously bad that it’ll change the conventional wisdom.
- Cole Hamels will pitch Game 1 of the ALDS against Toronto, while Yu Darvish will get Game 2. With the ALDS schedule the way it is, Texas can use either of them in Game 5 if necessary.
- You should read about this guy who attended Braves games for years with a press pass for a newspaper that didn’t exist.
- The Angels continued their streak of having at least three million fans, but it’s more suspect than ever.
- Here’s how the Giants became baseball’s most boring dynasty.