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The American League has the two winningest teams

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:56 am    Post subject: The American League has the two winningest teams Reply with quote

in baseball squaring off against each other in its Championship Series.The Boston Red Sox won 108 games and the American League East title before defeating the New York Yankees in four games in the Division Series. The Houston Astros won 103 games in winning the AL West Lonnie Chisenhall Jersey , and the defending World Series champions swept the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the playoffs.The Astros jumped out to an early lead after beating the Red Sox 7-2 in the series opener. Justin Verlander was on top of his game while striking out six hitters in six innings and allowing two hits and two runs, but Red Sox starter Chris Sale struggled with his control.The Astros held a 3-2 lead heading into the ninth inning, but they put the game away with four runs in the ninth thanks to home runs by Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel. American League Championship SeriesScheduleGame 1: Astros 7, Red Sox 2; Astros lead 1-0Game 2: Astros at Red Sox; Sunday, Oct. 14 at 7:09p.m. ET on TBSGame 3: Red Sox at Astros; Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 5:09p.m. ET on TBSGame 4: Red Sox at Astros; Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 8:39p.m. ET on TBS*Game 5: Red Sox at Astros; Thursday, Oct. 18 at 8:09p.m. ET on TBS*Game 6: Astros at Red Sox; Saturday, Oct. 20 at 5:09p.m. ET on TBS*Game 7: Astros at Red Sox; Sunday, Oct. 21 at 7:39p.m. ET on TBS*If necessary.The Red Sox took a big step up in the power department this season when they added J.D. Martinez in the offseason. Martinez blasted 43 home runs and knocked in 130 runs, and his preparation before each game was a big reason for his success.Martinez was joined by Mookie Betts, who should be among the favorites for the Most Valuable Player Award. Betts hit 32 home runs and stole 30 bases during the season and is also an outstanding defensive player.The Astros counter with Alex Bregman, George Springer and Jose Altuve, all of whom have been outstanding clutch hitters.The Astros have an advantage if it comes down to a battle of bullpens. The Red Sox had a few breakdowns in that area during the second half of the regular season, but that was not a problem in Game 4 of the ALDS, when the bullpen shut down the Yankees from the sixth through the eighth inning.However, when closer Craig Kimbrel got the ball in the ninth inning, the Yankees scored two runs and came within a few feet of extending the series to five games via a game-ending grand slam off Gary Sanchez's bat.Still, Kimbrel is the strongest part of Boston's bullpen.One other key factor in this series is Boston manager Alex Cora's familiarity with the Astros. Cora was Houston manager A.J. Hinch's trusted bench coach in 2017, and he understands all of the Astros' strengths and weaknesses.More importantly , he has turned the Red Sox into a looser, tougher and more aggressive team than they were a year ago.The Astros are minus-235 favorites, while the Red Sox are plus-195 underdogs, according to OddsShark. A Houston backer would have to risk $235 to win $100, while Red Sox bettors wager $100 to win $195.PredictionThe Astros have gained the early edge with their Game 1 victory at Fenway Park. However, the Red Sox will not give up, and they will find a way to win this series in seven games.National League Championship SeriesScheduleGame 1: Brewers 6, Dodgers 5; Brewers lead 1-0Game 2: Dodgers 4, Brewers 3; series tied 1-1Game 3: Brewers at Dodgers; Monday, Oct. 15 at 7:39p.m. ET on FS1Game 4: Brewers at Dodgers; Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 9:09p.m. ET on FS1*Game 5: Brewers at Dodgers; Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 5:05p.m. ET on FS1*Game 6: Dodgers at Brewers; Friday, Oct. 19 at 8:39p.m. ET on FS1*Game 7: Dodgers at Brewers; Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9:09p.m. ET on FS1*If necessary.The Milwaukee Brewers got the jump in the NLCS, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 in Game 1 Friday night.However, the Dodgers bounced back and evened the series with a 4-3 victory in Game 2 Saturday, as Justin Turner turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead with a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning. Closer Kenley Jansen dispatched the Brewers in the bottom of the ninth, and the series is squared 1-1 as the teams head to Los Angeles for Game 3.The Brewers are considered to have the better bullpen in the series, but the Dodgers are determined to show that their relievers are also an asset."That's something that to a man, I think our guys are taking it personal Bob Feller Jersey , as a challenge, because our guys are pretty good back there, too," manager Dave Roberts said of the Los Angeles bullpen, per Todd Zolecki of "And so there's not a whole lot said about them. But without those guys, we wouldn't be in this position."The Dodgers are minus-170 favorites to win the NLCS, while the Brewers are plus-150, per OddsShark.The Brewers will send Jhoulys Chacin to the mound in Game 3 against hard-throwing Walker Buehler of the Dodgers.Chacin had a 15-8 record during the regular season with a 3.50 ERA, and he has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last 12 starts. Buehler was 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA, and he helped steady the Dodgers rotation in the second half of the year.PredictionEven though the Dodgers won Game 2 to even the NLCS, the Brewers will not let their opportunity to win the National League pennant slip away. They will win the series in seven games. SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants hope to continue an increasingly improbable run to a playoff berth in the National League when they host the New York Mets on Saturday afternoon on the second day of a three-game series.On the same day that they appeared to raise the white flag when they dealt Andrew McCutchen to the New York Yankees for two prospects, the Giants (68-68) used Aramis Garcia’s first major-league home run and Chris Shaw’s first major-league RBI to help beat the Mets 7-0 on Friday night and inch within 6 1/2 games of first-place Arizona (74-61) in the NL West.The win was the Giants’ fifth on a homestand that also has seen them lose Buster Posey and Steven Duggar to season-ending injuries.Article continues below ...The Giants, who remained eight games back in the race for the second NL wild-card berth, haven’t given up hope, as was evidenced by the sight of Posey and Pablo Sandoval, also out for the season following hamstring surgery, rooting on the club on Friday.“He’s doing fine,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Posey, who underwent hip surgery Monday. “He’ll be rehabbing for a while. I know he’s glad to get this part of it over, especially that first day or two Satchel Paige Jersey , when you’re in a lot of pain.”Shaw, promoted earlier in the day to fill McCutchen’s vacated roster spot, eased a lot of the pain when he produced the Giants’ first run in the seventh inning Friday.Then Garcia, a catcher who had watched Nick Hundley do all the catching in the Arizona series that ended Wednesday, came through with a memorable first major-league hit — a homer off Mets reliever Robert Gsellman that triggered a six-run eighth inning.The Giants are hoping for more of the same Saturday with left-hander Derek Holland (7-8, 3.65 ERA) on the mound.The veteran is unbeaten in his last seven starts, including a five-inning outing on Aug. 20 in New York in which he limited the Mets to one run and four hits in a 2-1 win.Holland did not get a decision in the victory, and has never beaten the Mets in his career, going 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts.He is scheduled to be opposed by fellow left-hander Steven Matz (5-11, 4.36), who is winless in his last four starts, having allowed 14 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings.Like Holland, Matz didn’t get credit for a win when he pitched the Mets to a 6-3 home victory over the Giants on Aug. 21. He gave up just two runs and two hits in five innings.Matz is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in two career starts against the Giants.After the Giants roughed up the New York bullpen for six runs in the eighth inning Friday, the Mets called for reinforcements that are expected to join the team in time for Saturday’s game.Highly regarded reliever Eric Hanhold and minor-league mate Tim Peterson were reported to be headed west Friday night and should be ready to go when major-league rosters expand to 40 on Saturday.Hanhold, a hard-throwing right-hander, was acquired from Milwaukee as a player to be named later after the Mets dealt Neil Walker to the Brewers last September.
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