TGI4Day: Postseason quadrupleheader action begins

Plenty of excitement, intrigue in store with matchups all day from coast to coast

TGI4Day: Postseason quadrupleheader action begins

After the Division Series round blasted off Thursday, the 2014 Postseason was sent into orbit today with four games that touch every division in baseball.

The quadrupleheader began at high noon on the East Coast, spanning from coast to coast and league to league, and offering baseball fans an opportunity to bask in a rare postseason marathon session that features an ace-off between Adam Wainwright vs. Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg's first October start, and the upstart Royals looking to continue their extra-inning magic.

Pack a lunch. And dinner. Maybe a late-night snack. And don't forget to hydrate.

Today will be the 15th day since the Division Series came into play in 1995 that will have as many games as possible with four. It could happen again Monday, depending on if anyone sweeps.

TGI4Day. Four games. Enjoy them all. Days like this are only guaranteed once per year.

Starting at noon ET on TBS with Game 2 of the American League Division Series in Baltimore, the Tigers will be trying to even things up with the Orioles after Game 1 got out of hand late Thursday night. The joyride then heads down the road to Washington for the opener of the National League Division Series between the Giants and the Nationals at 3 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 -- a Beltway double dip to get it started.

Then it's out to the West Coast, starting with the NLDS opener pitting the defending NL champion Cardinals and the Dodgers in an October rematch at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. And, finally, take a drive -- OK, at that time of day maybe a helicopter -- down Interstate 5 for Game 2 of the ALDS matchup between the Royals and Angels at 9:30 p.m. ET on TBS, the encore to a late-night thriller that kept Kansas City rolling in its first postseason run since 1985.

After doses of drama and domination in the one-and-done Wild Card round, the first night of Division Series play kept the ball rolling nicely, first with a tight battle that turned into a TKO for the O's, then with a heart-stopping thriller at the Big A.

In Baltimore, the atmosphere of the home crowd at Camden Yards built from the moment the gates opened to the chanting and singing that accompanied eight runs in the eighth inning of a 12-3 win over the Tigers for Buck Showalter's band of birds.

"Like Buck says, if you don't feel that, you're kind of dead," said slugger Nelson Cruz, who continued his postseason assault on the Tigers -- and the record books -- with a first-inning home run. "It's amazing to feel the energy of the crowd bringing into the stadium. As a player, you want to be in that situation, in that spotlight."

Then came the nightcap of the AL doubleheader, and the Royals went into extra innings and showed their 29-year drought truly is the stuff of history. The Angels had a pair of solo homers, the Royals carved out a pair of runs while right fielder Nori Aoki saved a couple with dazzling catches. And, just as they did in the Wild Card Game against the A's, they got in the last blow in a back-and-forth battle with Mike Moustakas hitting the game-winner into the bleachers for a 3-2 win in 11. Similar to J.J. Hardy, who went deep in the first game for Baltimore despite not homering in September, it was Moustakas' first home run since Aug. 25.

"We're having a lot of fun in this postseason. It's been awesome so far," Moustakas said after his heroic homer.

Well, Moose, this party's just getting started.

Sandwiched by Game 2 matchups in the AL today, two intriguing NL Division Series meetings will get under way in D.C. and L.A. The Giants will visit the nation's capital for the first time in the postseason since 1933, when they were from New York and Washington's team was the AL's Senators. The Cardinals will visit Dodger Stadium for the first time since last October … and a few other Octobers.

The Giants earned their way into the Division Series for the third time in five years -- the other two ending up with World Series titles -- with a convincing 8-0 victory at Pittsburgh in the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday. The Nationals did it by posting the best record in the National League over the course of the 162-game season.

The first pitch of that matchup will come from the right hand of Strasburg in his postseason debut, and he'll be facing the Giants' Jake Peavy -- one of the pitchers Strasburg admired when growing up in San Diego, and now neighbors and shares a bond with as a top-flight Major Leaguer.

"It's a tremendous opportunity, and I think I'm just excited for getting a chance to pitch in the postseason," Strasburg said. "It doesn't really matter who I'm facing."

Said Peavy, after speaking glowingly of the young fireballer on the other side: "I will be trying to beat him with everything I've got. He will be doing the same."

Across the country once that one is done, it'll be a pitching matchup in the shadow of that belongs on a marquee: Kershaw vs. Wainwright. Boom.

Kershaw and Wainwright finished 1-2 in the NL Cy Young Award voting a year ago and both won 20 games this season. Yeah, that's a pitcher's duel for you. And the late-afternoon start time means there's a decent chance the autumn shadows will come into play -- good luck, hitters, dealing with what's already an imposing challenge.

"Shadows just add to it," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, a man who knows a little bit about facing pitchers. "But I think the shadows are something that's hard to talk about too much, because they're going to have the same ones, so equal playing field. Doesn't make it easier, but these guys make it hard enough on you already, so might as well just get after it."

Even after that pair of aces is dealt, there will be one more game down the road at Angel Stadium, an encore to a command performance by both clubs Thursday night but just one-fourth of a Friday fiesta of ball.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.