October 17, 2018

MLB Closes Investigation Into Claims Astros Cheated In ALDS Game 3 & ALCS Game 1

Metro Exclusive: Astros May Have Been Cheating In Game 1 Against Red Sox
Danny Picard, Metro Boston, October 16, 2018
In the third inning of the first game of the [ALCS], security removed a man claiming to be an Astros employee from the media-credentialed area next to the Boston Red Sox dugout, according to multiple security sources ... The man had a small camera and was texting frequently, but did not have a media credential.

After the man was removed another Astros staffer intervened - according to sources who were on the scene - and tried to convince security that he was authorized to be in the area next to the dugout. The man was not allowed back into the credentialed area, but was allowed to remain in the ballpark.

Security sources say they had been warned about the man, because of some suspicious activity in Houston's ALDS series against [Cleveland]. It's unclear as to whether or not that warning came from Major League Baseball or the Red Sox.

MLB Chief Communications Officer Pat Courtney acknowledged Saturday night's incident in an email on Tuesday afternoon, saying, "We are aware of the matter and it will be handled internally."
Updated: Astros Possibly Got Caught Cheating In Game 1 Of ALCS Against Red Sox; Source: 'This Is A Big Story'
Lucy Burdge, WEEI.com, October 16, 2018
After the Red Sox' 8-2 win over the Astros, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that the matter had been taken care of early in Game 1 and did not impact the outcome in any way. Dombrowski said he had been briefed on MLB's investigation Tuesday but has been instructed by Major League Baseball to not to comment on any of the situation's particulars.

"That was taken care of very early in the game," he said. "That didn't have anything to do with the game. Really, all I can say is it's in Major League Baseball's hands. It was done early in the game, caught early in the game. There are things they were dealing with. It's in Major League Baseball's hands. But it did not cost us anything."
Rob Bradford (WEEI.com) posted two tweets:
"Just talked to Major League exec about this: 'This is a big story' Insinuated feeling in baseball that this is far from an isolated incident"

"To be clear, source was exec with another MLB team who was familiar with the situation"
Evan Drellich (NBC Sports Boston) posted three tweets:
"Sources: in a similar incident with someone affiliated with the Astros, the Indians suspected there was an attempt by the Astros to gain information impermissibly in Cleveland during the American League Division Series"

"Sources: the Indians tipped Red Sox off to Astros employee attempting to impermissibly gather info. The same individual was involved both in Cleveland and Boston. That same employee was seen again at Minute Maid Park today, but not in a suspicious capacity."

"The Astros employee involved works for the team essentially in his free time, sources said. He has a connection to Astros owner Jim Crane."
Astros Employee Removed From Photo Pit Near Red Sox Dugout In Game 1 Of ALCS
Alex Speier, Boston Globe, October 16, 2018
Fenway Park security identified an unauthorized Astros representative monitoring the Red Sox dugout with a cellphone camera from the first-base photographer's well during the early innings of Game 1 of the ALCS. ...

As first reported by Metro Boston, the Astros were described as initially uncooperative when the security team questioned the employee.

An industry source told the Globe that MLB's investigation concluded the Astros employee was trying to determine if the Red Sox were using dugout video monitors to steal signs from the Astros. ...

The man, identified by Yahoo! Sports as Kyle McLaughlin, was discovered during the first three innings of the game. He was removed by security and told not to return.

The behavior that was stopped, according to the source, didn't provide a competitive advantage for the Astros.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch claimed he was unclear of the details of the incident.

"I'm aware of something going on, but I haven't been briefed," he said. ...

Yahoo! Sports reported that the [Clevelands] caught McLaughlin taking photographs of their dugout during Game 3 of their Division Series against Houston and had him removed.

The [Clevelands] are believed to have warned the Red Sox.
Cleveland [Baseball Team] File[s] Complaint To MLB About Astros Trying To Film Inside Their Dugout During ALDS
Paul Hoynes, Cleveland.com
The [Clevelands] have filed a complaint with MLB about the Houston Astros trying to film inside their dugout during the Game 3 of the ALDS at Progressive Field.

An employee of the Astros, holding a cellphone camera, was removed twice by security from the photographer's pit next to [Cleveland's] dugout during Game 3 on Oct. 8. The Astros completed a three-game sweep ... with an 11-3 win that day.

On Oct. 9, the day after Houston's sweep, Boston officials called the [Cleveland Baseball Team] to find out what happened. Four days later a similar incident took place at Fenway Park during Game 1 of the ALCS ...

For almost two weeks before the ALDS, the [Clevelands] worked hard to protect their signs because of Houston's reputation for stealing signs. The Astros reportedly try to train cameras on the opposing catcher, manager and bench coach in an effort to steal signs and pick up tendencies.

[Cleveland's] preparation was so intense that those close to the situation said it bordered on paranoia. ...

The Astros, according to one school of thought, may have just planted the man in the photographer's pit next to [Cleveland's] dugout as a smokescreen. Manager Terry Francona, bench coach Brad Mills and other coaches are located at the other end of a crowded dugout. So what exactly could he decipher from the camera pit?
Sources: Red Sox Were Warned By [Cleveoland] About Astros Attempting To Steal Signs And Information
Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports, October 16, 2018
The Boston Red Sox were warned that a man credentialed by the Houston Astros might try to steal signs or information from their dugout after [Cleveland] caught him taking pictures of their dugout with a cellphone camera during Game 3 of the American League Division Series, sources with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo Sports.

A photograph obtained by Yahoo Sports showed a man named Kyle McLaughlin aiming a cell phone into Cleveland's dugout during [Cleveland's] 11-3 loss that ended their season. McLaughlin was the same man caught taking pictures near the Red Sox's dugout during Game 1 of the AL Championship Series, which was first reported by the Metro Times. McLaughlin was removed by security in Cleveland and Boston, sources said.

While McLaughlin is not listed publicly as an Astros employee, photographs on his Instagram account show him wearing an Astros ID badge as he posed for a picture in 2016 with Astros owner Jim Crane. In another photo, McLaughlin is standing next to a private plane with logos for the Astros and two companies owned by Crane ... McLaughlin removed "Houston Astros" from his biography on his Instagram page Tuesday night.

It was the culmination of a series of events that cast aspersions on the defending World Series champions, who have been accused of cheating by at least one other organization this season, sources told Yahoo Sports. Major League Baseball, which was made aware of McLaughlin taking the photograph in [Cleveland's] dugout before the ALCS, declined comment. ... McLaughlin did not respond to messages left on two social-media accounts.

MLB significantly beefed up its security presence at Game 3 on Tuesday, according to a league source with knowledge of its staff, sending three people from its baseball-operations office and another six security personnel to monitor the game. The league stationed an employee in each of the teams' video-review rooms, according to the source. The paranoia among teams, the source said, "is like the NFL these days. Every club thinks the other club is cheating."

This is not the first investigation into the Astros' attempts to gain competitive advantages this season, three sources told Yahoo Sports. During a late-August game against Oakland, A's players noticed Astros players clapping in the dugout before pitches and believed they were relaying stolen signs to pitchers in the batter's box, sources said. The A's called the league, which said it would investigate the matter. It's unclear what the result of the investigation was or whether it remains ongoing.

Two major league players said they have witnessed the Astros hitting a trash can in the dugout in recent years and believe it is a way to relay signals to hitters. The Los Angeles Dodgers also believed the Astros were stealing signs during the World Series last season, according to two sources. ...

Teams around the league are perhaps more wary of the Astros than any team, fearful that their employment of cameras – they use high-speed models made by Edgertronic to help evaluate players, according to sources – allows them to steal signs. MLB has not punished the Astros for any illegal behavior, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Jason Bristol, KHOU-TV (Houston) posted four tweets:
"This isn't good optics ... 'McLaughlin removed "Houston Astros" from his biography on his Instagram page Tuesday night.'"

"But what's really interesting is inside that Zoominfo search, that same Kyle R. McLaughlin has work experience at Floridian National Golf Club...which is owned by Astros owner Jim Crane."

"What's interesting is the person identified by Yahoo's Passan, Kyle R. *McLaughlin*, is identified as part of 'Baseball Operations' for #Astros via @ZoomInfo, though he's not listed in Astros directory (i.e. media guide)"

"Two diff reports now say MLB has closed the matter on the Astros; "the person in question was with the Astros, he was actually trying to ensure that the Red Sox were not the ones cheating," per @Forbes"

October 16, 2018

ALCS 3: Red Sox 8, Astros 2

Red Sox - 200 001 050 - 8  9  0
Astros  - 100 010 000 - 2  7  0
Jackie Bradley's eighth-inning grand slam off Robert Osuna doubled the Red Sox's run total from four to eight, releasing any pressure the bullpen might have felt about securing this pivotal third game. The Astros' last two half-innings were uneventful and Eduardo Rodriguez put the exclamation point on the win by whiffing George Springer on a 2-2 cutter to end the game.

Bradley has driven in seven runs in the last two games, both hits coming with the bases loaded. His three-run double in the third inning of Game 2 on Sunday put the Red Sox up 5-4, a lead they did not relinquish. His grand slam tonight increased Boston's lead from two runs to six runs - and avoided the possible perils of having Craig Kimbrel in the game.

The Red Sox lead the series 2-1, with Rick Porcello on the mound tomorrow night. The Astros will counter with Charlie Morton, who has not pitched since September 30, in the final game of the regular season. Morton has thrown only four innings since September 15.

Boston again grabbed a lead in the first inning, this time off Dallas Keuchel (5-4-2-2-0, 84). Mookie Betts lined a single into center field and went to second when Andrew Benintendi lined an opposite-field single to left. J.D. Martinez (0-for-7 in the two games at Fenway Park) smoked a double down the right-field line, scoring Betts. Benintendi scored on Xander Bogaerts's grounder to short.

Nathan Eovaldi (6-6-2-2-4, 84) was hitting 101 with his fastball right away and George Springer fanned on a slider away to start the bottom half. Two singles from Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman and a fielder's choice by Yuli Gurriel put Astros on first and third with two outs. Marwin Gonzalez dropped a single into right field to cut the lead to 2-1. Josh Reddick flied to left and the first inning was over - after 34 minutes.

Keuchel walked Martinez and Boagerts with two outs in the third. Pearce sent a drive to deep left that Tony Kemp tracked to the wall and caught with an extraordinary leap. Kemp's momentum carried him into the wall and a loud, metallic clank sound led Alex Cora to challenge the call. It was a clean catch, however, and the call was upheld.

Eovaldi got into and out of a jam in the third. Springer singled and was forced at second by Altuve (Eduardo Núñez made a fantastic backhand grab). Bregman worked a five-pitch walk. Gurriel grounded to third and Núñez made a long, one-hop throw to first. With runners at second and third, Gonzalez flied to the track in left.

Núñez singled to start the fourth and was lifted for Rafael Devers, giving Boston a platoon advantage since all but one of the Astros' relievers are right-handed. After that hit, Keuchel retired the next six Boston batters, with the last four being routine groundballs. In the bottom of the fifth, Houston tied the score with two outs. Altuve walked and scored on Bregman's double down the third base line and into the left-field corner.

Late in the game, TBS's Ron Darling made a keen observation. In the sixth, Astros manager A.J. Hinch went to his bullpen, despite Keuchel having allowed only one hit (and two walks) over the last 18 batters. He had thrown only 74 pitches. Joe Smith retired Bogaerts before Steve Pearce snapped the 2-2 tie with a 456-foot home run down the left field line. By contrast, Cora let Eovaldi - at 81 pitches - pitch the bottom of the sixth. He had no problems, allowing only a deflected infield hit with two outs. That left Cora needing to use his bullpen for only three innings rather than four.

Ryan Brasier had an uneventful seventh, although Altuve did bunt for a hit with two outs. A passed ball sent Altuve to second, but Bregman flied to center on a 3-1 count.

Robert Osuna made his first appearance in the series in the top of the eighth. His inning began well, as Martinez swung at the first pitch and flied to right. After that, though, it all went downhill. It was only after watching the half-inning a second time that I noticed the numerous times Osuna was only one strike away from the third out.

Osuna got ahead 0-2 on Bogaerts. The count eventually went full and Bogaerts reached on an infield hit that rolled slowly along the third base line. The announcers called it "a swinging bunt". Those types of hits are usually referred to in that way, but why? Bogaerts had no intention of bunting and he took a full swing at the ball. He simply did not make much contact, so the ball dribbled along the grass close to the plate.

Osuna fell behind Pearce 3-1. He chopped the ball down the third base line. Bregman moved to his right and made a strong, fadeaway throw from foul territory to second for the force.

Osuna now had a man on first and two outs.

Osuna got ahead 0-2 on Devers, on three foul balls. Devers grounded a single through the shift into right field. Pearce stopped at second.

Osuna got ahead 0-2 on Brock Holt, who was batting for Ian Kinsler (0-for-3). Osuna's third pitch to Holt was inside and low; plate umpire Joe West called it a ball. Holt stepped out and told West the ball had hit his left foot. West asked the Boston bench if they wanted to challenge the call. Cora said yes. The replays were clear and the ruling was changed to HBP. The bases were loaded.

(On TBS, Ron Darling first said that if anyone knew that Holt had been hit by the pitch, it was Holt. Fair enough. But then Darling uttered one of most bizarre sentences I have ever heard from an announcer.
It's one of those things where you have to trust the player. There has never been a player in the history of the game that comes out of the box and says he was hit by a ball unless he was. Because he felt the pain of it.
My mind went immediately to Saint Derek, who should have won an Emmy for his performance on September 15, 2010. (Was the MFY trainer also up for Best Supporting Actor?) What was Darling thinking? We have all seen outfielders pretend to have caught sinking line drives that were really trapped, infielders pretend to have tagged a runner they were nowhere near, and batters act like they really did foul off that two-strike pitch. Pitchers get away with balks on throws to first, batters have no issue with trying to get hit with a pitch (against the rules, though very rarely enforced) and fielders will never tell an umpire that a blown call benefiting their team was wrong and should be changed. ... Hearing that was like a quick drop into bizarro world ...

Osuna got ahead 0-1 and 1-2 on Mitch Moreland, who was batting for Christian Vázquez. Osuna's 1-2 pitch hit Moreland's right arm and forced in a run. Pearce scored to make it 4-2, Red Sox.

Osuna got ahead 0-1 on Bradley. As Osuna evened the count at 1-1, I posted to the JoS Gamethread, 8:25:27 PM: "JBJ needs to crush one."

JBJ crushed Osuna's 27th (and last) pitch of the game to deep right for a grand slam.

At 8:26:06 PM, I reacted:


(David Ortiz liked watching it.)

The Red Sox have hit a postseason grand slam in 2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018.

They did not hit a postseason grand slam in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2016, or 2017.

Just sayin'. ...

Matt Barnes took over in the bottom of the eighth and walked Gurriel. He got a force out and a strikeout before handing the ball to Joe Kelly, who threw a wild pitch before getting Carlos Correa to ground to short. Eduardo Rodriguez pitched the ninth. He faced two pinch-hitters, striking out Tyler White on high heat and inducing Evan Gattis to ground to Bogaerts. he got ahead of Springer 0-2. He threw two balls and Springer fouled off the next three pitches. Rodriguez's eighth pitch of the at-bat was a cutter on the outside black and Springer swung and missed.

TBS Report: I remain convinced that Brian Anderson and Ron Darling are both wearing Astros pajamas during this series and using an Alex Bregman night-lite. (At one point, Anderson said the mere sight of Bregman in the on-deck circle sends "fear" through the Red Sox dugout.)

When the Astros had singled twice off Eovaldi in the bottom of the first, Anderson cheered that the Astros "have come right back". (The score was, of course, still 2-0 at that point. So when Houston scored one run, were they really up 3-2?)

Martinez walked in the third and Anderson said: "Great at-bat from Martinez." Darling also mentions Martinez's strong "at-bat". But walks do not count as at-bats. The next batter, Bogaerts, also walked. Anderson said Keuchel had two-strike counts on both hitters. Bogaerts had actually walked on a 3-1 pitch, which had happened less than one minute earlier.

At the end of the third inning, Darling says Eovaldi was averaging eight pitches for every out he had recorded. Eight pitches times nine outs is 72 pitches. Eovaldi's pitch count at that point was 55.

One inning later, Anderson says Keuchel was cruising, having thrown only 70 pitches through four innings. Not much later, Darling said that Eovaldi's pitch count was too high, at 65 pitches through four innings.

In referring to Josh Reddick's catch on Ian Kinsler's fly ball in the fourth, Darling says Reddick made the play "against the wall". While he said those words, the replay showed Reddick catching the ball while crossing from the grass to the warning track.

When Anderson said that Osuna had allowed "five ernies" in his eighth-inning stint, I began rethinking my opposition to the death penalty.
Nathan Eovaldi / Dallas Keuchel
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Pearce, 1B
Núñez, 3B
Kinsler, 2B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
Early start time: Enjoy dinner while watching the Red Sox hand Keuchel his lunch. ... Mookie's home run will be a nice dessert.

Steve Pearce, on Alex Bregman's Instagram post of three Astros hitting home runs earlier this year off Nathan Eovaldi:
I don't know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we'll see who is talking at the end of the series. I don't think he needs to run his mouth. ... Nothing against the guy. If that's how he has to motivate himself, whatever.
Blake Swihart grew up with Bregman in New Mexico:
[I]n his mind, he’s probably thinking he's trying to pump up his team, get everyone excited. It might have come off the wrong way. I know he deleted it ... In this type of game, you should already be pretty pumped up.
Brock Holt was asked yesterday if he thought the Astros - as the defending World Champs - were the toughest team in baseball.
Besides the Boston Red Sox, yes, but we can't play them. ...[T]he Houston Astros, I feel these two teams are the best in baseball. ... We did what we did in the regular season. But they're the champs. So they're the ones everyone's chasing.... [T]hey're solid, 1 through 25, as far as their roster goes. Their starting pitching is unbelievable. Offensively, they scored the most runs in baseball. ... [W]hen we beat the Yankees, we knew that we had a tough task ahead of us.
Note: The Astros were actually 6th in runs scored among all major league teams. The Red Sox were #1 - they scored 79 more runs than the Astros.

2018 Runs Scored (MLB)
Red Sox      876
Yankees      851
Clevleand    818
Athletics    813
Dodgers      804
Astros       797
Rockies      780
Nationals    771
Cubs         761

Chris Sale Leaves Hospital, Will Be In Houston For Game 3

Chris Sale has left Massachusetts General Hospital and will be with the Red Sox on Tuesday night in Houston for ALCS G3.

Sale went to the hospital only a few hours after the end of Saturday's Game 1, in which he pitched four innings with decreased velocity. Alex Cora did not think Sale's stomach issues contributed to his odd performance (4-1-2-4-5).

Cora says he will talk with Sale before confirming that the lefty will start Game 5 on Thursday:
[E]verything I heard, he should be fine and it's a matter of him showing up and we'll talk to him and see how he feels physically and go from there. ... It's just his stomach. That's it. He felt ill right after the game, started throwing up. And then he decided to go to the hospital and that was it. ... When I got to the ballpark [on Sunday] they told me he was there. Nothing serious.
On Monday, Houston's Alex Bregman posted a video of his team hitting three consecutive home runs off Nathan Eovaldi (who was with the Rays on on June 20), with the caption: "Lil pre-game video work." Eovaldi will start Game 3 for the Red Sox.

Bregman's post was soon deleted, but in 2018, a post left public for even one minute will be snagged by someone. Eovaldi did not seem bothered: "I don't have any social media or anything like that. The guys told me about it. I think home run clips, right? Something like that? Yeah, I'm aware of it. I still have a job to do. I've got to go out there and pitch my game tomorrow ..."

Cora: "Like I said a few days ago, if you need motivation in Game 3 of the ALCS, you better check yourself."

October 15, 2018

Craig Kimbrel Says He's "Tired Of Giving Up Runs"

Welcome to the club.

In his nine-year career, Craig Kimbrel has allowed runs in more than two straight appearances only twice (with one coming two months ago). Kimbrel has now allowed runs in his last four postseason games.

Bill Baer, NBC Sports:

"[Kimbrel's] walk rate, which shot up to 12.6 percent [in 2018] after settling at 5.5 percent last season. ... Kimbrel's ratio during the regular season of 3.1 strikeouts for each walk marks the second-lowest among full seasons in his career.

Of the four balls the Astros put in play on Sunday night, three had an exit velocity of 92 MPH or above. [George] Springer's two-out double, which sparked the beginning of a potential rally, registered at 106.3 MPH. If we go back to Kimbrel's ALDS Game 4 appearance against the Yankees last week, the two balls put in play against him had exit velocities of 99.5 and 107.1 MPH. ... When bats are being put on Kimbrel's pitches, they're mostly being smoked. ... The Red Sox shouldn't overreact to a sample size of 3.1 innings, but they should have a life raft attached to their boat in case Kimbrel can't shape up in time."

Allowed Runs In Three Consecutive Games (Regular Season)

April 29 to May 4, 2012 (Atlanta)
Allowed 1 run in 1 inning in each game, against Pirates, Phillies, and Rockies
Atlanta won all 3 games, with Kimbrel getting 2 saves

August 4-11, 2018 (Red Sox)
Allowed 1 run in 1 inning in each game, against Yankees, Blue Jays, and Orioles
Red Sox won all 3 games, with Kimbrel getting 1 win and 1 save

Allowed Runs In Consecutive Postseason Games

October 9, 2017 to October 14, 2018 (Red Sox)
2017 ALDS 4 vs Astros  - 1.0-3-1-1-1 - Red Sox lost
2018 ALDS 1 vs Yankees - 1.1-1-1-0-3 - Red Sox won
2018 ALDS 4 vs Yankees - 1.0-1-2-2-1 - Red Sox won
2018 ALCS 2 vs Astros  - 1.0-2-1-0-1 - Red Sox won
In the four games: 4.1 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, 2 wild pitches, 2 HBP, 3 saves (10.38 ERA)

In the 10 games mentioned above, Kimbrel's team came out on top nine times. That does not mean we want to see him continue to pitch like this.

Alex Bregman is 0-for-3 in the ALCS, but he has been on base seven times, with six walks and one hit-by-pitch. His batting average is .000, but his on-base average is .700.

In the 2018 postseason, Bregman has reached base in 17 of 24 plate appearances (.708 OBP).

Bregman is the second player to draw 10 walks through five games of a postseason, matching Jim Wynn (1974 Dodgers). Nine of Bregman's 10 walks have come on full counts.

Bregman's 10 walks are one more than Mariners outfielder Dee Gordon had in the entire regular season (588 PA).

Bregman is the first player to reach base four times without a hit in a postseason game (2018 ALCS 1) since David Ortiz did it in Game 6 of the 2013 World Series (four walks (three intentional)).

Bregman is the second player to reach base three times without a hit in back-to-back postseason games. Cubs outfielder Jimmy Sheckard walked three times in Games 2 and 3 of the 1910 World Series.

October 14, 2018

ALCS 2: Red Sox 7, Astros 5

Astros  - 022 000 001 - 5  7  1
Red Sox - 203 000 11x - 7  9  0
David Price did little to improve his reputation among a majority of Red Sox fans (4.2-5-4-4-4, 80), though he did avoid serious trouble and (with the assistance of Matt Barnes) kept the Red Sox in the game.

Boston's bats jumped on Gerrit Cole (6-6-5-2-5, 90) for two early runs and Jackie Bradley put the Red Sox on top to stay with a three-run double. Mookie Betts provided insurance in the later innings, scoring one run and driving in another. They were needed, because Craig Kimbrel did not have a smooth ninth inning.

But all that matters right now is the final score was in the Red Sox's favour and the ALCS is tied 1-1.

The Red Sox were 74-15 when scoring first during the regular season and they are 4-0 in the postseason.

Price gave mixed signals as soon as the game began. After he got George Springer on a pop to first, he walked Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman. But then Price was suddenly back on point and struck out Yuli Gurriel and Tyler White on the minimum six pitches.

In the home first, Betts crushed a 3-1 pitch halfway up the wall in straightaway center. Andrew Benintendi followed with a first-pitch single to right-center for a 1-0 lead. With one out, Xander Bogaerts grounded back to Cole and the pitcher threw the ball over his first baseman's head. Boston had runners at second and third - and Cole walked Steve Pearce to load the bases. Rafael Devers lined an opposite-field single to left, scoring Benintendi with a second run. Cole stopped further damage, for the time being, striking out Ian Kinsler and getting Bradley on a groundout.

Price could not hold the 2-0 lead. Carlos Correa beat out an infield single to shortstop and went to third on Martin Maldonado's double to left. With two outs, Springer came through, muscling an inside pitch down the right-field line for a two-run double. The Astros took the lead in the third when Gurriel singled with one out and Marwin Gonzalez, with two outs and a full count, homered to left. Tonight's definition of frustrating was watching the Astros score four times when Price was one out away from a scoreless inning - twice.

J.D. Martinez struck out to open the bottom of the third. (He finished the game 0-for-4, with two strikeouts. He looked clueless at the plate; perhaps the day off will clear his head.) Bogaerts singled on a hard grounder through the box and up the middle.

Pearce doubled to deep left. Gonzalez, who had made a nice catch at the base off the wall on Benintendi to end the second inning, leapt for Pearce's drive and slammed his back into the wall. Springer fielded the carom when Gonzalez crumbled to the dirt. He needed about five minutes to get his breath back before the game went on. Meanwhile, Cole's arm may have cooled during the delay because he walked Devers on four pitches. Kinsler batted again with the bases loaded - and for the second time in three innings, he struck out on three pitches. (There is no excuse at this point for not playing Brock Holt.)

Bradley got ahead 2-0, swung and missed, and then lifted a flyball towards the left field corner. Gonzalez was too close to the wall and when it hit maybe 20 feet up, it caromed over back over his head. He ran after it, watching it pinballed along the ledge of the side wall, comically just out of his reach. By the time he got the ball back to the infield, all three runners had scored.

Price set down the Astros in order in the fourth, on only 10 pitches - his best inning of the night. He issued a couple of walks in the fifth and departed with two outs. Barnes struck out Gonzalez to strand those runners. Barnes also pitched a clean sixth and Ryan Brasier gave up a two-out walk in the seventh.

After the stretch, Betts worked a walk against Lance McCullers. Benintendi struck out on a wild pitch and Betts went to second. With Martinez at the plate, McCullers's 1-0 pitch got away from Maldonado for a passed ball and Betts advanced to third. JDM struck out. McCullers's first pitch to Bogaerts was also a passed ball - and Mookie scored. Forget about scoring a run without a hit - this run scored without the ball being put into play! McCullers was pulled and Josh James came in to finish Bogaerts's plate appearance. James threw three balls for a BB to X before getting Pearce to ground to short.

Devers led off the eighth with a single. James struck out Kinsler and JBJ, but Mitch Moreland, hitting for Christian Vazquez, singled to right. Sandy Leon went in as a pinch-runner since he was going to catch the ninth. Héctor Rondón came in to face Betts. He threw a ball and then Mookie lined a double to right-center, scoring Devers. Tony Sipp took over. Benintendi got ahead 3-0 and opted to offend Ron Darling yet again by swinging at the next pitch and flying to center.

Rick Porcello pitched the eighth, striking out two of his three batters, and I wanted him to pitch the ninth as well. But the Red Sox's three-run lead created a "Save Situation", so you know that meant: Kimbrel Time.

In Kimbrel Time, you pour a very big, very strong drink and curse your way through the inning, hoping your increasingly tight, white-knuckle grip does not shatter your glass. Evan Gattis led off and Kimbrel threw him a strike - followed by three balls. Jesus. Gattis popped to second on a full-count fastball. Josh Reddick was dispatched on three pitches: called, foul, swinging. Maybe this would not be so bad.

Kimbrel's first pitch to Springer was in the lower, outside corner of the zone, but umpire Vic Carapazza (no surprise) called it a ball. Then Kimbrel threw an actual ball before Springer ripped a double past Devers into left. Jose Altuve then drove a 1-0 pitch halfway up the Wall for a long single. Springer scored, which brought Alex Bregman to the plate as the potential tying run. Bregman took a called strike and hit an inside fastball (at 99) to deep left. Benintendi went back to the base of the wall and it fell into his glove, perhaps one foot from being some very bad news.

In these two ALCS games, Bregman is now 0-for-3 but he has been on base seven times, with six walks and a HBP. ... Viva batting average!!

So, in direct contradiction to everything you have heard on TBS, it is possible for a baseball team to take on the Houston Astros and wind up on the winning side of the score. This is extremely good news, but it remains questionable whether this fact will sink deep enough into the craniums of Brian Anderson and Ron Darling to effect their comments on Tuesday night.

The Red Sox announced during the game that "Chris Sale reported a stomach illness today and was admitted to MGH for observation this afternoon. He will be kept overnight for evaluation and any further updates will be released when available."
Gerrit Cole / David Price
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Pearce, 1B
Devers, 3B
Kinsler, 2B
Bradley, CF
Vázquez, C
The name of David Price's French bulldog is Astro. Red Sox fans have dogged Price since he arrived in Boston. Price's reputation is on the line tonight in a game against the Astros.

Dismissed as coincidence?

Price has made 10 career postseason starts for four teams over the last nine seasons and has a 6.03 ERA (and an 0-9 record). Overall, in 18 postseason appearances, Price's ERA is 5.28.

However, in last year's ALDS, Price faced 27 Astros in relief and did not allow a run: 2.2 innings in Game 2 and 4.0 innings in Game 3. He will see many of those same batters tonight.

Alex Cora says:
I trust the guy. ... I saw him last year, I think it was Father's Day, he pitched against Houston in Houston and he pitched well. I saw him in the playoffs against the Astros. He pitched well. This year, he pitched in Houston that Saturday [June 2], he pitched well against them [3 runs in 6 IP, with 7 K]. He pitched here against the Astros [September 7] and pitched well again [2 runs in 6.1 IP, with 10K], so I know how good he is ... against them. ... He was actually the best pitcher in that series last year. I know he was coming out of the bullpen, but what he did was good to see.
The overview of Price's postseason career conceals four games which he certainly could have won.

October 12, 2010: Price allowed three runs to the Rangers in 6.0 innings in ALDS Game 5 of the ALDS (6-8-3-0-6, 104). The Rays lost 5-1 (and lost the series).

October 3, 2011: Price allowed three runs to the Rangers in 6.2 innings in ALDS Game 3 (6.2-7-3-1-3, 102). The Rays lost 4-3.

October 5, 2014: Price allowed two runs to the Orioles in 8.0 innings in ALDS Game 3 (8-5-2-2-6, 112). The Tigers lost 2-1 (and lost the series).

October 23, 2015: Price allowed 3 runs to the Royals in 6.2 innings (6.2-5-3-1-8, 99). The Blue Jays lost 4-3 (and lost the series).

Greg Bedard's take at The Boston Sports Journal sums up the prevailing narrative regarding Price:
With a strong start, Price has a chance to be a savior to the same fans who booed him off the mound after lasting just 1.2 innings in a Game 2 loss to the Yankees in the Division Series.

Come up short again, and Price will be buried in Boston forever. A poor start would all but sentence the Red Sox to an 0-2 deficit after two games at Fenway heading to Houston for three games, and a disappointing series loss against the Astros.

So, yeah, no pressure.
We feel that if he attacks the way he did in the second half using his fastball in different spots and creating differences in his velocity, he'll be good. It seems like the velocity of his cutter and his sinker and four-seamer and the changeup, they were all together the last three, I want to say, location-wise, everything came together in the same spot. But we did talk about it in the off day in New York. And he understands. And we expect him to go out there and attack them in a different way and give us a good start.
Jayson Stark reported that last night's game featured 25 baserunners and eight hits. That is the fewest hits in any postseason game featuring that many baserunners. In Game 5 of the 1947 World Series, the Yankees and Dodgers combined for 25 runners and nine hits.

Through the end of 2017, there were 173 best-of-seven series in baseball history. The winner of Game 1 took the series 111 times: 64%.

From a distance, things do not look so good for the Red Sox. ... But fuck it, things have been seriously bleak - beyond bleak - in the not-so-distant past, and we have seen some amazing things happen.

It's time for a little faith. Or a lot of faith. Because someone who loves dogs cannot be all bad. ... (But for Christ's sake, pitch good, okay?)

October 13, 2018

ALCS 1: Astros 7, Red Sox 2

Astros  - 020 001 004 - 7  5  1
Red Sox - 000 020 000 - 2  3  1
The Red Sox performed poorly in every facet of this game. Chris Sale (4-1-2-4-5, 86) struggled with his control, the bats were completely AWOL, with several hitters flailing wildly at pitches that were in the dirt or actually bouncing on the plate, and Eduardo Nunez misplayed a ball that led to Houston's third run. Brandon Workman allowed two home runs in the ninth to seal the coffin lid on Game 1.

Despite all of that (except for Workman), the Red Sox might still have had a shot at winning this game where it not for plate umpire James Hoye, who made several egregious calls against the home team. Watching on TV and following along on Gameday, it appeared that Hoye had a horrific night, but in looking at Brooks Baseball, Hoye's total number of errors was fewer than I expected. During the game, he seemed possessed by the Ghost of Eric Gregg. Upon further review, he is merely in Angel Hernandez/Laz Diaz territory. That's still bad enough that he should not be employed by MLB, but it does not qualify as "legally blind".

Hoye's worst call came in the bottom of the fifth - and quite likely had a significant impact on the outcome of this game. The score was 2-2 and Justin Verlander was in trouble. He had walked three of the last four batters, the last of which had forced in a run. The Red Sox had men at second and third with two outs when Hoye called Andrew Benintendi out on a full-count pitch that was outside of the strike zone (#6). Instead of Verlander (or a reliever) facing with J.D. Martinez with the bases loaded, the Astros were happily heading back to the dugout.

Nunez: "That was the pitch the changed the whole game."

Alex Cora had watched Hoye blow several calls against his team earlier in the game (Steve Pearce had two pitches that were well outside called strikes in the second inning; see below) and he argued the Benintendi call between innings and was ejected. So ... Hoye blows a call that ends the Red Sox's rightful opportunity to have the top RBI man in baseball take his swings with the bases loaded and when the manager of the screwed-over team mentions to the umpire his clear and obvious mistake, said manager gets tossed out of the game. In addition to being incompetent, Hoye is also insecure.

In the next half-inning, Hoye blew three calls against the Red Sox. (Perhaps getting his revenge on Cora?) Joe Kelly threw an outside pitch to Alex Bregman that was very similar to the Benintendi strike (#3) and Hoye called it a ball (they were only two pitches (and a commercial break) apart). Hoye also failed to call a strike on a pitch to Tyler White that was pretty much right down the heart of the plate (#2) and after possibly giving Kelly a makeup call against Carlos Correa, blew a call two pitches later that may have helped Correa snap a 2-2 tie (#4).
TBS's Brian Anderson and Ron Darling - who have moved on from the Yankees and are now acting like Tiger Beat editors when it comes to the Astros - mused that on the second blown call Hoye was distracted by the catcher's movements. Hoye should have learned to focus on the ball in his first week at umpiring school.

So this was a shitty night from every conceivable angle. Tomorrow evening, we have David Price on the mound with the Red Sox down 0-1. Since the Fenway fans will undoubtedly have the patience of a flea when it comes to Price's performance, the lefty should be a right basket case.

Sale threw eight pitches to George Springer, the first batter of the night, before walking him. Sale's fastball velocity was around 90-92, which was disconcerting. He eventually got it up to 93-94, but not consistently. Sale threw more off-speed pitches than usual and his control of his slider was off. He put the bottom three hitters of Houston's lineup on base after getting two outs: he walked Correa, hit Martin Maldonado, and walked Josh Reddick. That's a recipe for disaster. Springer again saw eight pitches and he ripped a single past Nunez's left for two runs. Sale threw 34 pitches in the inning and was at 69 through three innings.

Meanwhile, Justin Verlander (6-2-2-4-6, 90) was cruising. Mookie Betts singled in the first and went to second on a wild pitch. Martinez walked, but Xander Bogaerts grounded into a double play. That was the first of ten straight batters sent back to the dugout by Verlander.

In the fifth, he crumbled and the Red Sox tied the game. Pearce lined a single into left. Brock Holt struck out looking, but Nunez took a five-pitch walk. Verlander missed with four inside pitches and walked Jackie Bradley. Mitch Moreland batted for Sandy Leon and, after falling behind 0-2, showed great control in taking a couple of low pitches and working a walk that scored Pearce. Betts grounded the first pitch to third and Bregman got the force at the plate. Verlander's 2-2 pitch to Benintendi was wild and Bradley scored. The next pitch was outside but Hoye decided that the inning was over. The Red Sox would not threaten again.

Joe Kelly had pitched a perfect fifth, but he hit Bregman to start the sixth. Kelly's 0-2 pitch to Bregman was a bit outside, just like the pitch to Benintendi, but Hoye called this one a ball. Nunez's booted Yuli Gurriel's grounder and Houston had men at first and second. Kelly's 1-0 pitch to Tyler White was down the middle, but Hoye called it Ball 2. White eventually popped up. Kelly appeared to throw a strike on 2-1 to Correa, but Hoye ruled against him. The difference between 2-2 and 3-1 is sizable. Correa singled to left-center on the next pitch, giving the Astros a 3-2 lead.

Over the final four innings, Boston put two men on base.Nunez reached on a throwing error by shortstop Correa in the seventh, but Bradley fanned and Christian Vazquez grounded to third. Bogaerts led off the ninth with a single against Collin McHugh, but he did not advance. Pearce looked at strike three, Holt lined to right, and Nunez grounded to third.

Before that, however, Workman pitched the top of the ninth. Reddick homered to right-center, making the score 4-2, which felt more like 40-2. After striking out Springer, Workman walked two men and gave up a three-run dong down the right-field line to Gurriel. That put the game out of reach and caused an immediate exodus.

The Red Sox managed only three singles (in the first, fifth, and ninth innings) and their two runs scored on a walk and a wild pitch. On Sunday, they face an uphill battle against Gerrit Cole, who was fourth in the AL with a 2.88 ERA, second in fewest hits allowed per 9 innings, and first in most strikeouts per 9. And they will be pining their hopes - at least in the first half of the game - on David Price, who recorded only five outs against the Yankees last Saturday.

Hoye's one-sided incompetence:

Sale did not get a call against Bregman in the top of the first (#1):

Sale did not get a call against Gurriel in the top of the first (#1; #2 was called a strike):

Hoye expanded the zone a little bit for Verlander against Martinez in the first inning (#2):

Hoye helped Verlander strike out Pearce in the second inning (#1 and #3):

Justin Verlander / Chris Sale
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Pearce, 1B
Holt, 2B
Nuñez, 3B
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Verlander and Sale pitched against each other in Game 1 of the 2017 ALDS. The Astros won 8-2. Sale pitched five-plus inning, allowing seven runs (and three home runs).

In 2018, the Astros won four of seven games against the Red Sox.

The Astros' pitchers were sensational in 2018. Their team ERA was 3.11 and they allowed 112 fewer runs than the next closest team in the AL. They allowed an opponents' batting average of .217 and recorded 1,687 strikeouts, the most in the majors.

Sean McAdam reported that Houston used a shift on 21.1% of all plate appearances with righthanded hitters, the third-highest in MLB and more than double the overall average of 8.9%.

The Astros have made two changes to their postseason roster for the ALCS. Relief pitchers Hector Rondon and Joe Smith are in, giving Houston 12 pitchers, while outfielder Myles Straw and reliever Will Harris are out.

The Red Sox have left their roster unchanged. Of the four teams still playing, they are the only one going with 11 pitchers.

Manager A.J. Hinch:
[G]etting through this lineup is really hard. ... [We want] as much opportunity to mix and match and create some different looks for these hitters ... I think you always add a reliever. ... [Y]ou can never have too many pitchers. You can never have too many weapons.
Joe Posnanski writes that the Red Sox and Astros "are two of the greatest teams in baseball history", making this ALCS "unlike anything we've ever seen before".

The Red Sox (108) and Astros (103) combined for 211 wins, one shy of the postseason record set in the 1998 World Series by the Yankees (114) and Padres (98). Boston and Houtson combined for 114.2 WAR, which is tied with the 2017 Cleveland-Yankees ALDS for the most ever. And the split this time is exactly even: 57.1 WAR for each team.

Posnanski also ranks every postseason match-up by combined Pythagorean winning percentage, based on runs scored and runs allowed. This ALCS is the eighth-highest in history - and the only one played "in most of our lifetimes":
1. 1942 World Series, Cardinals vs. Yankees (combined 1.394 win-loss percentage)
These two teams had an amazing battle, but this was during World War II when quality was way down.

2. 1906 World Series, White Sox vs. Cubs (1.352)
A classic Deadball matchup.

3. 1939 World Series, Yankees vs. Reds (1.348)
The Reds were good but this is on the list mostly because the 1939 Yankees have an argument for the greatest team in baseball history.

4. 1910 World Series, Athletics vs. Cubs (1.341)
A classic Deadball matchup.

5. 1912 World Series, Reds Sox vs. Giants (1.330)
A classic Deadball matchup.

6. 1909 World Series, Pirates vs. Tigers (1.328)
A classic Deadball matchup.

7. 1953 World Series, Yankees vs. Dodgers (1.313)
Finally, we have a sort-of modern matchup, even if this was 65 years ago. The Casey Stengel Yankees vs. the Boys of Summer Dodgers; it was apparent even in the moment that this was a matchup of two all-time great teams.

8. 2018 ALCS, Astros vs. Red Sox (1.310)
And there you have it. By runs scored and allowed, we haven't had a series like this in most of our lifetimes. And it makes sense: Baseball almost never has two teams as good as the Red Sox and Astros in a single season, and it's even less likely that they would play in the same league. ...

These two teams are loaded with generational talents and historically great players. Baseball is played very different than it was when the Babe Ruth Yankees or the Earl Weaver Orioles or the Big Red Machine or even the [late] 1990s Yankees played. And these two teams play this new brand of baseball with all the strikeouts, defensive shifts, pitching changes and home-run power that you need to win. ...

[T]his is not normal, not typical, not just another series. It's an all-timer. It really does match up two of the best teams ever. And it could be a classic.
Okay ... (deep breath) ... let's go!!!

Relocating To British Columbia

Very big news at JoS HQ: Laura and I are moving to Port Hardy, a remote town at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, off Canada's west coast. Laura accepted a job as a librarian this afternoon.

We should know on Monday when she starts the new job. The next few weeks will be taken up with arranging movers and packing - with Red Sox baseball at night - and driving across the country (aka "Driving Mr. Diego").

Port Hardy is a very small town. .... (How small is it?) .... During a recent job interview, I learned that the town boasts a grand total of zero traffic lights. Four-way stop signs are apparently sufficient at all busy intersections.

We visited VI in last April, exploring possible places to resettle. We traveled as far north as Qualicum Beach, a little bit beyond Nanaimo, but that's not even halfway up the island. When we applied in 2003 to move to the Toronto area, we had yet to scout out the area, but we did visit before we moved. In this case, we had never heard of Port Hardy until Laura applied for the job last month and have seen only pictures of a few streets - as well as the house we are (currently!) renting - on Google Maps. We may be a bit crazy ...

October 12, 2018

Q: "Did Babe Ruth Ever Bat Right-Handed?"

Tom Shieber, Baseball Researcher, October 12, 2018:
There have long been rumors that Babe Ruth, one of the greatest left-handed batters of all time, sometimes batted right-handed. Are those stories true? Let's take a look at the various claims. ...

Spring Training of 1918

In his book "Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox," author Allan Wood states that Ruth batted right-handed against noted southpaw Rube Marquard during a 1918 spring training game between the Red Sox and the Brooklyn Dodgers in Dallas. I contacted Allan and he generously tracked down his research notes which revealed that, according to the Boston Herald-Journal of April 3, 1918, Ruth batted right-handed in his second of three at bats that day.

I researched this story further and found in numerous contemporaneous sources that Ruth did indeed face Marquard in his first two at bats that day, striking out on both occasions. Furthermore, in the Boston Globe of April 3, 1918, sportswriter Edward Martin reported that "Ruth was not very much in the limelight today, whiffing three times, batting left-handed the second time he took the ozone route."

Besides the fact that the phrase "took the ozone route" is now officially my favorite euphemism for striking out, Martin's sentence left me a bit confused. Why call out that Ruth batted left-handed his second time up when he was a natural left-handed batter? Indeed, this implies Ruth batted right-handed in his first and third at bats. But if that were the case, it would make more sense to call out Ruth's right-handed bats: Ruth ... "batting right-handed the first and third times he took the ozone route." No, I find it much more likely that Martin made a simple mistake and accidentally wrote "left-handed" when he actually meant "right-handed."

Conclusion: Likely true. Though I'd prefer to have another independent source confirm this claim, I'm inclined to believe that in this spring training game, Ruth did indeed bat right-handed once.
First of all, you should lose yourself in Shieber's blog at your earliest convenience. It's endlessly fascinating, well-written, and exhaustively researched. (Three examples: here and here and here.)

I was somewhat surprised that I did not have a printout of at least some of the game story, but I don't think the Boston Herald-Journal (or the other Boston papers) ran box scores of spring training games. And despite the novelty of Ruth batting right-handed, I only took notes from the microfilm rather than transcribe the actual wording from the game story, since there would not be a lot of time spent recounting spring training games in the book.

Perhaps someone with access to the BHJ microfilm could grab a shot of the April 3, 1918 paragraph that includes the mention of a right-handed Colossus taking "the ozone route". Also: I need to see if I took notes from the Brooklyn Eagle, but I'm skeptical that the Eagle reporter would have spent much time discussing the Red Sox.

Finally, Edward Martin may have dictated his story over the "long-distance telephone" (making a non-local call was still a novelty in those days). If so, that would have introduced another ripe opportunity for the miscommunication Shieber mentions.

In 10,000 FanGraphs ALCS Simulations, Red Sox Advance 49.4% Of The Time

Dan Szymborski, FanGraphs, October 12, 2018:
The ZiPS projection system will update these charts after every game and as the starting pitcher probables change. They are based on the up-to-date ZiPS projections of the strengths of the teams and the projected starting pitchers. They are different than the playoff odds that appear elsewhere at this site. The FanGraphs playoff probabilities are based on 10,000 simulations using the updated projections in the depth charts. Where ZiPS differs is guessing the game-by-game starting pitcher matchups and using the ZiPS projections, including split projections.

First, here are the game-by-game probabilities:

And here are the overall series probabilities.

October 11, 2018

ALCS / NLCS Schedules

American League Championship Series

Boston Red Sox: 108-54, defeated Yankees 3-1 in ALDS
Houston Astros: 103-59, defeated Cleveland 3-0 in ALDS
Game 1 - Saturday, October 13 - Astros at Red Sox, 8:09 PM
Game 2 - Sunday, October 14 - Astros at Red Sox, 7:09 PM
Game 3 - Tuesday, October 16 - Red Sox at Astros, 5:09 PM
Game 4 - Wednesday, October 17 - Red Sox at Astros, 8:39 PM
Game 5 - Thursday, October 18 - Red Sox at Astros, 8:09 PM
Game 6 - Saturday, October 20 - Astros at Red Sox, 5:09 PM (8:09 PM, if no NLCS game)
Game 7 - Sunday, October 21 - Astros at Red Sox, 7:39 PM
National League Championship Series

Milwaukee Brewers: 96-67, defeated Rockies 3-0 in NLDS
Los Angeles Dodgers: 92-71, defeated Atlanta 3-1 in NLDS
Game 1 - Friday, October 12 - Dodgers at Brewers, 8:09 PM
Game 2 - Saturday, October 13 - Dodgers at Brewers, 4:09 PM
Game 3 - Monday, October 15 - Brewers at Dodgers, 7:39 PM
Game 4 - Tuesday, October 16 - Brewers at Dodgers, 9:09 PM
Game 5 - Wednesday, October 17 - Brewers at Dodgers, 5:05 PM
Game 6 - Friday, October 19 - Dodgers at Brewers, 8:39 PM
Game 7 - Saturday, October 20 - Dodgers at Brewers, 9:09 PM
By Date
Friday, October 12 - NLCS 1 - Dodgers at Brewers, 8:09 PM

Saturday, October 13 - NLCS 2 - Dodgers at Brewers, 4:09 PM
Saturday, October 13 - ALCS 1 - Astros at Red Sox, 8:09 PM

Sunday, October 14 - ALCS 2 - Astros at Red Sox, 7:09 PM

Monday, October 15 - NLCS 3 - Brewers at Dodgers, 7:39 PM

Tuesday, October 16 - ALCS 3 - Red Sox at Astros, 5:09 PM
Tuesday, October 16 - NLCS 4 - Brewers at Dodgers, 9:09 PM

Wednesday, October 17 - NLCS 5 - Brewers at Dodgers, 5:05 PM
Wednesday, October 17 - ALCS 4 - Red Sox at Astros, 8:39 PM

Thursday, October 18 - ALCS 5 - Red Sox at Astros, 8:09 PM

Friday, October 19 - NLCS 6 - Dodgers at Brewers, 8:39 PM

Saturday, October 20 - ALCS 6 - Astros at Red Sox, 5:09 PM (8:09 PM, if no NLCS)
Saturday, October 20 - NLCS 7 - Dodgers at Brewers, 9:09 PM

Sunday, October 21 - ALCS 7 - Astros at Red Sox, 7:39 PM