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Indians, Dodgers seek to wrap up division series today

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The Astros and Red Sox are underway at the moment, with Houston holding a 2-1 lead in the second inning. The rains are starting to make their way to Boston, however, so we may have a delay in our future. Thankfully, though, there is a wondrous bounty of playoff action today, with all eight remaining teams in action. Two of these series, however, could end today.

In New York the Indians take the field leading the Yankees two games to one. As we mentioned this morning, they’ll do with a less-rested-than-usual Trevor Bauer taking the ball against Luis Severino, who was shelled in the Wild Card game last week. Bauer, of course, allowed only two hits in six and two-thirds innings as Cleveland won 4-0 in Thursday’s Game 1. The last time Severino faced the Indians he allowed two homers to Jose Ramirez and one to Carlos Santana in a 6-2 loss to at Yankee Stadium in late August. If the Yankees win, they’ll get another crack at Corey Kluber in Game 5, who they beat up in Game 2 before the Indians came back to win it in extra innings.

Out in Arizona the Diamondbacks will pitch their ace Zack Greinke against Yu Darvish of the Dodgers. Greinke had a short outing in the Wild Card game last week, requiring manager Torey Lovullo to go to Robbie Ray in relief. That may have cut into Ray’s effectiveness in Game 2, when Ray allowed four runs in four and a third. As such, Greinke isn’t just pitching to keep the Dbacks alive in this series, he’s hoping to pitch deep into the game to help rest the bullpen in the event there is a Game 4.

Darvish has not pitched since September 25 — a 13-day layoff. He’s faced the Dbacks once this year, striking out 10 Arizona hitters in five innings of a 5-2 victory at Chase Field on August 10.  He’ll certainly be fresh for this one. The Dodgers have scored 17 runs in their two playoff games thus far, so if form holds, Darvish need not be great to help the team advance, he merely needs to not break.

If you’re able, tune in the Astros-Sox game right now. If not, that’s OK. We have about 11 more hours of baseball action in front of us on this Columbus Day. Enjoy.

Mookie Betts, Javier Baez leading off the All-Star lineups

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I can’t imagine what it’s like to fill out the lineup card for an All-Star team. Most of the guys are 1-4 hitters on their own teams, but you gotta slot most of them someplace lower. Egos are probably a consideration. Strategic stuff. “Which top of the order or middle of the lineup hitter is batting eighth?” is both a difficult and thankless question.

Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch have to do it anyway, and today they released the All-Star lineups. Seeing Bryce Harper batting sixth and Manny Machado batting seventh is just not part of the usual baseball experience:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Mike Trout, CF
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Jose Ramirez, 3B
6. Aaron Judge, LF
7. Manny Machado, SS
8. Jose Abreu, 1B
9. Salvador Perez, C

NATIONAL LEAGUE

1. Javier Baez, 2B
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B
3. Paul Goldschmidt, DH
4. Freddie Freeman, 1B
5. Matt Kemp, LF
6. Bryce Harper, CF
7. Nick Markakis, RF
8. Brandon Crawford, SS
9. Willson Contreras, C

Not that this is gonna hold for long what with all of the substitutions.