Braves move on to NLCS
Atlanta has been dominant in this postseason. Their offense has done the job, but that hasn’t really surprised anyone as it’s been the case all year long. Their issue, and the thing that threatened to set them back in October, was starting pitching. That hasn’t been an issue in the first two rounds. The great pitching continued on Thursday in another easy win for the team. Young righty Kyle Write got the start for this one, and after working out of some trouble early on he wound up cruising through six scoreless innings. The bullpen then added three more shutout frames of their own to make it two straight shutouts for the Atlanta pitching staff. On the other side, they didn’t get any balls over the fence but the offense jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third, forcing rookie Sixto Sánchez out in his shortest start of the year, and that was pretty much that. It ended up being a 7-0 final, sending Atlanta to the NLCS and Miami home.
Astros finish the job
Everyone’s nightmare came true on Thursday out in Los Angeles. The Astros snuck into the playoffs thanks to this expanded field, but that was all they needed. Over the first two rounds of this postseason they’ve reminded the world of their firepower and they’ve rolled to two series wins. In this ALDS clincher over the Athletics, they were actually trailing 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth, but then everything flipped. Houston scored five in that inning, including two homers, one from Michael Brantley and another from Carlos Correa. They’d add two more in each of the next three innings, and it was officially a rout. Oakland closed the gap a little in the ninth, but it was far little too late. Houston won Game Four by a score of 11-6, and that pushed them into their fourth straight ALCS.
Yankees stay alive, force Game Five
There was a chance that all four series would be clinched on Thursday, forcing us into a baseball-less day on Friday. The Yankees were able to avoid that fate, though, forcing a decisive Game Five. New York’s biggest weakness this year has been their rotation depth behind ace Gerrit Cole, and that has been on display the previous two nights to put them on the ropes. In this one, however, they got a huge start from lefty Jordan Montgomery. He slowed down Tampa’s lineup in four innings of one-run ball, and that was all the Yankees needed with their dominant bullpen. Chad Green, Zach Britton and Aroldis Chapman combined to cover the final five innings, and the offense scattered five runs through the night to push them to a relatively easy 5-1 victory. The decisive Game Five will pit the aforementioned Cole, who started Game One, against Tyler Glasnow, who started Game Two. First pitch is on Friday at 7:10 PM ET.
Dodgers get to another NLCS
The Dodgers have been the most successful regular season team of the last decade, but they are still trying to get over the championship hump. There are still two more series to go, but so far they’ve yet to hit a speed bump in this postseason. This was a much-anticipated series against the Padres, and there were some tense moments. The series-ending contest was the opposite of that, however. San Diego did lead briefly very early on, but the Dodgers started pouring things on in the third. They scored five runs there to take a four-run lead, and they would end up putting 12 runs on the board altogether led by a five-hit effort from catcher Will Smith. The 12-3 victory pushes them along to the NLCS to take on the Braves. They’ll have a few days off to catch their breath before starting that one, as Game One will be Monday night.