The postseason has begun, and this year more than ever before, the schedule can be very overwhelming. I’ve decided to breakdown the starting pitching matchups daily every day until the end of the World Series, including which one I think should be the highest priority to watch.
2:08pm EDT: Sixto Sánchez, Marlins @ Yu Darvish, Cubs (MIA leads 1-0)
Let’s try this again, using the same write-up I had before rain postponed the game yesterday. This will be a fun one, as rookie phenom Sixto Sánchez has the chance to advance the upstart Marlins and keep their perfect Postseason series record intact. Sánchez has had the nasty stuff that was advertised in his prospect days, pitching to a 3.50 FIP and 3.46 ERA, though he has managed only 7.62 K/9. Still, his upper 90s heat and filthy change could easily play up against a beleaguered Cubs lineup. Of course, to prevent elimination, the Cubs have a dynamic arm of their own in Cy Young finalist Yu Darvish. Darvish famously throws *checks notes* every pitch, so if one weapon isn’t working he has limitless others he can use to give the Marlins fits. He was the NL fWAR leader (among pitchers) for this exact reason.
Where to watch: ABC
7:08pm EDT: Jack Flaherty, Cardinals @ TBA, Padres (Series tied 1-1)
After not getting length from their starter for a second straight game, the Cardinals turn to ace Jack Flaherty for a winner-take-all Game 3. Flaherty has struggled in 2020, posting a 4.91 ERA and 4.11 FIP, driven by spikes in BB% and HR/FB%. More concerning was a spike in average exit velocity allowed, as his 2020 value is a mile per hour higher than it was in 2019. Flaherty still strikes out a boatload (10.93 K/9), and is still the best option the Cardinals have, but he’s much more of a risk than he was last year. On the flip side, the Padres have no stable option to use, having gotten just 4.1 combined innings from their starters in the first two games. They’ve also exhausted many of their best bullpen arms. The likeliest outcome seems to be Garrett Richards, who pitched in each of the past two games, but threw just a total of 13 pitches in the two appearances combined. Richards hovered around league average this season, but his elite spin rate would play up in what is sure to be a short start with piggybacking starting pitchers Adrian Morejon (5.62 xERA) and Luis Patiño (4.18 xERA) ready for the first sign of trouble.
Where to watch: ESPN
Must-Watch Game of the Day
As tempted as I am to pick the super fun pitching matchup, the answer here is the winner-take-all game. After a wild win for the Padres and two quietly good offensive performances by the Cardinals, this should be a great game to determine which of these teams goes on to face the Dodgers. But on a day with only two games after having so many games for days on end, baseball fans should be approaching their watching strategy today with a “Why not both?” attitude.