MLB on Sling TV: Cardinals vs. Cubs, Yankees vs. Blue Jays, Friday’s Action on FOX Sports Regional Networks

Sep 23, 2016 by Sling Staff

(all times Eastern, starters subject to change)

St. Louis Cardinals (Leake 9-10, 4.54) at Chicago Cubs (Arrieta 17-7, 2.96)
2pm ET on ESPN

How about this crazy NL Wild Card Race? The Cardinals went into Thursday in a three-way tie at 80-72 with the Mets and Giants for the two Wild Card spots, but fell off the pace as both those teams won and St. Louis had an off-day, dropping them a half-game back. Every game is a must-win game for the Cardinals at this point. The Cubs? They’re just trying to stay loose for the playoffs.

The Cards send Mike Leake to the hill today, and he’s been getting slapped around for the past 8 weeks, with a 2-3 record and a 5.79 ERA, thanks largely to a .362 BABIP. His strikeouts have been stable, his walk rate remains the best in the NL, and he’s given up just 5 homers over that span, but balls are dropping in all over.

Jake Arrieta has had a somewhat shaky second half, going 6-5 with a 4.33 ERA over his last 14 starts, and he’s done it with a remarkably low BABIP of .212. How, you might ask? Simple: dingers. In those 87 ⅓ innings, he served up 12 home runs. You can make a pretty nice living giving up 1.23 home runs per 9 innings, as Arrieta has over that span, but in his previous 98 innings, he gave up just 3, or .28 per 9, and in 2014 and 2015 combined just .4. He’s also been walking a lot of guys compared to the last two season, jumping from 2.1 per 9 to 3.5. Still, he’s among the best starters in the NL.

New York Yankees (Mitchell 1-1, 6.00) at Toronto Blue Jays (Liriano 7-13, 5.08)
7pm ET on ESPN2

Man, did the Yankees put a scare into everyone… Led by Gary “The Kraken” Sanchez, the Bombers, left for dead back in July, clawed their way to within 3 games of 1st place in the AL East by going on a 13-4 tear, during which Sanchez hit .300/.411/.617 with 5 homers and 4 doubles in 73 plate appearances. But then they had the misfortune of running into the too-hot Red Sox, and dropped 4 straight, to tumble out of contention for the division, and find themselves drifting toward the back of the Wild Card pack… But Sanchez has continued to mash, hitting 19 home runs in 192 plate appearances.

At 79-73, the Yankees now sit in 6th place in the Wild Card hunt, 3 games behind the Tigers for the second berth, while the Blue Jays are atop the heap at 83-69, 1 game ahead of the Tigers. Realistically, the Yankees’ season is over, with ESPN giving them just a 1.6% chance of making the playoffs – but they were left for dead two months ago, so stay tuned.

Bryan Mitchell has pitched just 52 ⅔ innings over the last three seasons, and hasn’t shown much promise, with a 5.47 ERA, 1.65 WHIP and a 1.95 SO/BB ratio, and in 6 career starts he’s never gone more than 5 innings. Hope the bullpen is healthy! The Jays picked up Francisco Liriano for the playoff push, and though he’s pitched reasonably well – 6 starts, 37 innings, 3.89 ERA – he’s got a record of just 1-2.

Watch the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Chicago Cubs at 2pm ET on ESPN, and the New York Yankees vs. the Toronto Blue Jays at 7pm ET on ESPN2 by subscribing to the Sling Orange.

And here’s the action from the FOX Sports regional networks across the land…

St. Louis Cardinals (Leake 9-10, 4.54) at Chicago Cubs (Arrieta 17-7, 2.96)
2:20pm ET on FOX Sports Midwest

Arizona Diamondbacks (Miller 2-12, 6.90) at Baltimore Orioles (Gallardo 5-8, 5.77)
7:05pm ET on FOX Sports Arizona

New York Yankees (Mitchell 1-1, 6.00) at Toronto Blue Jays (Liriano 7-13, 5.08)
7:07pm ET on YES

Atlanta Braves (Wisler 7-12, 4.93) at Miami Marlins (Cashner 5-11, 5.27)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Florida & FOX Sports South

Boston Red Sox (Pomeranz 10-12, 3.40) at Tampa Bay Rays (Archer 8-18, 4.05)
7:10pm ET on Fox Sports Sun

Chicago White Sox (Gonzalez 4-7, 3.83) at Cleveland Indians (Bauer 11-8, 4.24)
7:10pm ET on SportsTime Ohio

Kansas City Royals (Duffy 12-2, 3.18) at Detroit Tigers (Fulmer 10-7, 3.03)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Detroit & FOX Sports Kansas City

Cincinnati Reds (DeSclafani 8-4, 3.15) at Milwaukee Brewers (Davies 11-7, 3.92)
8:10pm ET on FOX Sports Cincinnati & FOX Sports Wisconsin

Los Angeles Angels (Meyer 1-3, 5.62) at Houston Astros (Fister 12-12, 4.45)
8:10pm ET on FOX Sports West

Seattle Mariners (Paxton 4-7, 3.88) at Minnesota Twins (Gibson 6-10, 5.10)
8:10pm ET on FOX Sports North

Texas Rangers (Hamels 14-5, 3.42) at Oakland Athletics (Graveman 10-10, 4.21)
9:35pm ET on FOX Sports Southwest

San Francisco Giants (Suarez 3-4, 4.16) at San Diego Padres (Jackson 4-6, 6.00)
10:40pm ET on FOX Sports San Diego

FOX is available live to Sling Blue subscribers in select markets; FOX Sports Regional Networks are available to Sling Blue subscribers in those regions.

All stats courtesy of ESPN and Baseball Reference

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