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All four Division Series could be decided on Monday

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Monday is going to be a big day for baseball, not only because there will be close to 12 hours of nonstop playoff action, but because all four Division Series could be decided on the same day. As Christopher Kamka of NBC Sports Chicago notes, the only time all four Division Series were decided on the same day was October 5, 1996.

Here’s what’s on the schedule:

1:05 PM ET – Astros @ Rays, ALDS Game 3 (MLB Network)

Astros lead 2-0

The Astros convincingly won both games of the series thus far. Justin Verlander tossed seven shutout innings in Game 1 while Gerrit Cole was even better in his Game 2 start, fanning 15 Rays over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. The Rays will have to stave off elimination by besting Zack Greinke. Between the Diamondbacks and Astros, Greinke posted an aggregate 2.93 ERA during the regular season. The Rays will have their best starter on the mound in Charlie Morton, who tossed five solid innings in the AL Wild Card game against the Athletics.

3:07 PM ET – Braves @ Cardinals, NLDS Game 4 (TBS)

Braves lead 2-1

After a ninth-inning rally to come from behind and win 3-1 in Game 3, the Braves will try to defeat the Cardinals again on Monday to advance into the NLCS for the first time since 2001. Not including this year, the Braves have been in the playoffs eight times since 2002, getting booted out of the NLDS seven times and out of the NL Wild Card game once. The Cardinals will send Dakota Hudson to the mound for his postseason debut. The Braves haven’t announced their starter yet. It will be either Julio Teheran or NLDS Game 1 starter Dallas Keuchel. Teheran was added to the postseason roster after Chris Martin suffered an oblique injury. Keuchel limited the Cardinals to one run over 4 2/3 innings on Thursday.

6:40 PM ET – Dodgers @ Nationals, NLDS Game 4 (TBS)

Dodgers lead 2-1

The Dodgers’ offense went white hot exploding for 10 total runs — nine against the Nationals’ bullpen — in their Game 3 win. They’re looking to advance to the NLCS for a fourth consecutive year while the Nationals are hoping they can advance out of the NLDS for the first time since moving to the nation’s capital and becoming the Nationals. Their last NLCS appearance in franchise history came in 1981 when the Expos lost in five games to… the Dodgers. The Nationals’ playoff hopes rest in the right arm of Max Scherzer, who will start opposite lefty Rich Hill.

8:40 PM ET – Yankees @ Twins, ALDS Game 3 (FS1)

Yankees lead 2-0

The Yankees continue to serve as the Twins’ immortal playoff demon. Here’s a brief history:

  • 2003 ALDS: Yankees win 3 games to 1
  • 2004 ALDS: Yankees win 3 games to 1
  • 2009 ALDS: Yankees win 3 games to 0
  • 2010 ALDS: Yankees win 3 games to 0
  • 2017 AL Wild Card game: Yankees win 8-4
  • 2019 ALDS: Yankees lead 2 games to 0

This series hasn’t been particularly close, either. The Yankees won Game 1 by a 10-4 margin and Game 2 by an 8-2 score. The Twins’ starting pitching has been terrible and the bullpen has been just as bad. The two starters, José Berríos and Randy Dobnak, combined to allow seven runs over six innings. The bullpen has yielded 11 runs over 10 innings of work. The Twins will hope Jake Odorizzi can keep their playoff hopes alive, but he’ll have to overcome Yankees starter Luis Severino to do so. Severino returned in late September after missing almost the whole season due to shoulder and lat injuries. He’ll be making his 2019 playoff debut.

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.