Here are three things we’re monitoring around baseball today…
1. NLCS Game 2:
The Phillies took the first game of the National League Championship series, winning last night’s contest 5-3 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The second game goes tonight at 7:07 pm Central, with Merrill Kelly starting for the Diamondbacks and Aaron Nola for the Phillies. Can Arizona even the series or will the Phils take a 2-0 lead out west? Kelly tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his one postseason start thus far while Nola, an impending free agent, has a 1.42 ERA in his 12 2/3 innings so far in this year’s playoffs.
2. ALCS travel day:
The Rangers managed to hold on to a 5-4 victory yesterday, giving them a 2-0 lead in the ALCS. That puts the defending-champion Astros in a tight spot, heading to Arlington for three straight games there. They will need to win two of those three contests on the road just to stay alive and send the series back to Houston for Game 6. Game 3 is tomorrow night with Cristian Javier set to square off against Max Scherzer, who will be making his return from an injury that once seemed season-ending. A situation worth monitoring will be Yordan Alvarez, who has been sick and was almost held out of the Game 2 lineup. As relayed by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Alvarez insisted on playing and ended up hitting a pair of home runs yesterday. Ideally, the off-day will give him a chance to get over his illness but it certainly didn’t seem to hamper his performance.
3. What’s next for Kim Ng:
Yesterday brought the surprising news that the Marlins and general manager Kim Ng would not be continuing their relationship for another year. The club reportedly exercised a mutual option for 2024 but she did not trigger her end, seemingly motivated by the club being unwilling to give her a longer extension and because they planned to install a president of baseball operations above her. Given that the Marlins have fared well during her tenure, she figures to get interest from other clubs, but it’s unknown if she wants to immediately jump into a new job or take some time to mull things over. The Mets are looking for a general manager, but one that would work under president of baseball operations David Stearns. The Sox are also on the hunt for a GM but reporting indicates it’s not the most attractive job in the league, for various reasons.