Nobody enjoyed the extended playoff schedule better than a bunch of guys who finally get a chance to play at October’s highest level.
It’s remarkable how many rookies who came to the league after they signed in August or September will get a chance to start this weekend in the league’s expanded postseason.
There are 20 starting assignments in the wild-card round on Sunday, including the head-to-head series between the Astros and Dodgers, a wild-card matchup between the Red Sox and Twins, and the series between the Giants and Rockies.
The Dodgers’ pitcher on Sunday afternoon could be either Walker Buehler or Clayton Kershaw. The Astros may get their No. 3 starter from Lance McCullers, who beat the Blue Jays the night before. And the Blue Jays’ starter could be former Mets pitcher Aaron Sanchez, one of the worst starters in the league, at least until he threw seven scoreless innings in relief on Saturday night. (Right now, it’s Marwin Gonzalez who’s going to get the start for the Dodgers.)
Other starting assignment possibilities on Sunday include the Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ, the Giants’ Derek Holland, the Phillies’ Aaron Nola, the Pirates’ Jameson Taillon, the Mariners’ Nelson Cruz, the Indians’ Francisco Lindor, the Giants’ Buster Posey, the Cubs’ David Bote, the Red Sox’ J.D. Martinez, the Rockies’ Ian Desmond, the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter, the Brewers’ Domingo Santana, the Dodgers’ Max Muncy, the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, the Giants’ Evan Longoria, the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins, the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, the Astros’ George Springer, the Dodgers’ Josh Reddick, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, the Giants’ Andrew McCutchen, the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, the Blue Jays’ Russell Martin, the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, the Brewers’ Jesus Aguilar, the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, the Nationals’ Matt Adams, the Yankees’ Miguel Andujar, the Rays’ Brad Miller, the Athletics’ Chad Pinder, the Rays’ Jonathan Lucroy, the Athletics’ Jharel Cotton, the Mariners’ Ryon Healy, the Mariners’ Marco Gonzales, the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, the Mets’ Michael Conforto, the Twins’ Miguel Sano, the Phillies’ Aaron Altherr, the Cubs’ Ian Happ, the Cubs’ Willson Contreras, the Indians’ Francisco Lindor, the Brewers’ Jesus Aguilar, the Phillies’ Nick Williams, the Cardinals’ Paul DeJong, the Red Sox’ J.D. Martinez, the Pirates’ Corey Dickerson, the Padres’ Christian Villanueva, the Braves’ Nick Markakis, the Astros’ Alex Bregman, the Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu, the Twins’ Robbie Grossman, the Nationals’ Juan Soto, the Mariners’ Kyle Seager, the Pirates’ Francisco Cervelli, the Mets’ Michael Conforto, the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals’ Paul DeJong, the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, the Twins’ Ben Revere, the Brewers’ J.D. Martinez
The Twins’ Zack Littell, who missed two months of the season with shoulder issues, could be a one-and-done starter in the Brewers’ series. The Cardinals’ starting pitchers could be all rookies, but they might opt for a late-season call-up to fill in. Aaron Nola, who took the Phillies’ rotation in May, may try to get his first career postseason start. Dillon Gee, a journeyman who signed with the Padres on Sept. 10, might get a shot to start in the Rays’ series.