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Cardinals, Braves lineup for their decisive Game 5

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As I wrote earlier, this game is all about Jack Flaherty and Mike Foltynewicz. Here are the men who are gonna try to do something against them.

For the Cardinals, Matt Carpenter gets the nod at third. He’s not had a big series, but the Cards are hoping his muscle memory for being a big star kicks in:

1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
2. Kolten Wong (L) 2B
3. Paul Goldschmidt (R) 1B
4. Marcell Ozuna (R) LF
5. Yadier Molina (R) C
6. Matt Carpenter (L) 3B
7. Tommy Edman (S) RF
8. Paul DeJong (R) SS
9. Jack Flaherty (R) P

For the Braves, Adam Duvall gets the nod over Matt Joyce despite Joyce’s theoretical platoon advantage against the righty Flaherty. Brian Snitker — while not suggesting it was anything analytical as opposed to his gut — noted that Duvall has had a couple of big hits recently. Joyce, meanwhile has been cold. Nick Markakis in the five-hole is enough to make Braves fans sigh but, hey, if he goes 0-for-4, I guarantee you that he’ll do it professionally.

1. Ronald Acuna Jr. (R) CF
2. Ozzie Albies (S) 2B
3. Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
4. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
5. Nick Markakis (L) RF
6. Adam Duvall (R) LF
7. Brian McCann (L) C
8. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
9. Mike Foltynewicz (R) P

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.