Brett Anderson proving to be a wise gamble for Dodgers

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The Dodgers signed left-hander Brett Anderson to a one-year, $10 million contract over the winter even though injuries had limited him to a total of 123 innings at the major league level between 2012-2014. It has proven to be a wise gamble thus far.

Anderson struck out a season-high 10 batters over seven innings of one-run ball in a 7-1 win over the Marlins last night. He gave up just five hits and one walk, with the only run scoring on a ground out from Adeiny Hechavarria in the first inning. Amazingly, he allowed just one fly ball in the 25 batters he faced while inducing 13 grounders.

Anderson now has a 3.13 ERA and 62/24 K/BB ratio in 89 innings across 15 starts this season. Meanwhile, his ground ball rate of 68.7 percent is the highest among major league starters. The 27-year-old has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six out of his last seven starts and has gone at least seven innings in four of them. He has already logged his most innings in a season since his age-22 season in 2010 with the Athletics. His career veered off track after that due to a long list of injuries, but not only is he healthy right now, he’s thriving. It’s easy to get overlooked on a staff which also includes Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, but his steady presence has been important for a rotation which has lost Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy to injury.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.