There’s no doubt that the off-the-field goings on in Boston (and potentially in Chicago) are capturing the headlines so far on Wednesday.
However, Game Three of the NLCS and Game Four of the ALCS should get everyone back talking about the action on the field, for a while at least.
Game Four of the ALCS begins at 21.19 BST on Wednesday evening with Nat Coombs and Josh Chetwynd covering all the talking points live on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra from 21.00. The Texas Rangers lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 over the Detroit Tigers.
Doug Fister pitched brilliantly for Detroit to get them back into the series on Tuesday; however the Tigers know that it was only the first stage in their recovery from losing the first two games of the series in Texas.
Game Three was a ‘must win’ contest for them and you could say the same about Wednesday’s Game Four as well. A victory for the Rangers would give them a 3-1 series lead and leave the Tigers needing to win all three remaining games. That can be done, but it will be a very tough proposition against this Texas team. Game Five of the ALCS on Thursday is another early start, also beginning at 21.19 BST.
As for the NLCS, the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals won a game apiece from the first two at the former’s Miller Park. The Cardinals – more specifically first baseman Albert Pujols – put a thumping on the Brewers in Game Two after dropping the series opener.
The series now relocates to St. Louis and Game Three brings together two quality starting pitchers in Yovani Gallardo and Chris Carpenter. First pitch is set for 01.05 a.m. in the early hours of Thursday, while Game Four starts at the same time in the early hours of Friday.
All of the above games are being shown live on ESPN America and are available live and on demand to ‘international’ MLB.TV subscribers at MLB.com.
Big turnover in Boston
The Red Sox revelations are extraordinary. After parting company with Manager Terry Francona, it looks like General Manager Theo Epstein is on the verge of leaving the organization as well. Epstein is reportedly close to becoming the Chicago Cubs’ new General Manager following the dismissal of Jim Hendry in the latter stages of the regular season.
If he does make the move, it will be the second half of an incredible ending to what has been a successful era in Red Sox history. Few, if any, would have predicted prior to the 2011 season that Francona and Epstein would be gone by the end of the year. Everything looked like being in place for yet another World Series appearance.
Of course, those expectations are in part a reason for the strength of the reaction to the team’s miserable September collapse, but it just goes to show how quickly a position of strength can suddenly crumble. Francona agreed to a separation and quickly found his way to the FOX announcers’ booth, while the frustration at Fenway and the challenge of the Cubs appears to have tempted Epstein to have a crack at reversing another curse.
With the Chicago White Sox surprisingly recruiting former player Robin Ventura as their new manager and the Los Angeles Angels overhauling their Front Office and scouting department, there are plenty of changes taking place in the American League for teams that didn’t reach their goal of making it to the playoffs.