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MLB Playoff Roundup: October 17th

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The Braves took a commanding and surprising 2-0 lead.

Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Two Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Astros and Red Sox were off yesterday as ALCS play took a pause. However, the Braves and Dodgers provided plenty of drama in the second game of their NLCS showdown. Let’s get to it.

What happened last night?

NLCS Game 2

Atlanta Braves 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 4

(Atlanta leads 2-0)

This Braves team continues to show a tremendous amount of resiliency with another closely-contested win by a single run in the bottom of the ninth. Max Scherzer took the ball for the Dodgers on three days’ rest and threw 79 pitches in just 4.1 innings; after the game, he admitted that his arm was dead. The future Hall of Famer left with the game tied at two having conceded a two-run homer to the red-hot Joc Pederson.

Atlanta skipper Brian Snitker was aggressive in using a pinch-hitter for the top of the fourth after seeing Ian Anderson struggle to get through three frames, allowing three walks and a Corey Seager two-run bomb in the first. The bullpen held serve for awhile, but Chris Taylor drove in two with a double in the seventh inning against Tyler Matzek that was misplayed in center by defensive replacement Guillermo Heredia.

The Dodgers seemed poised to tie the series up, but in the bottom of the eighth, Atlanta jumped on Julio Urías, who came in from the bullpen to basically work as the setup man to Kenley Jansen on his throw day. Singles by Eddie Rosario and Ozzie Albies combined with an RBI double by Game 1 hero Austin Riley to knot the score at 4-4. Following a similar script as last night, the Braves managed to get a single in the ninth on weak contact, and with two outs and a runner on second, in came Jansen to try and avoid any damage. However, Rosario hit a bullet right at Seager, who couldn’t corral it.

That was the ballgame, and now, the series goes to Dodger Stadium with the defending champs once again with their backs against the wall, down two games to none. It’s not an impossible deficit, as Los Angeles came back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits last year against Atlanta, but Dave Roberts’ club is indisputably in the hole.

What’s on deck?

ALCS Game 3

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

(José Urquidy vs. Eduardo Rodriguez)

Time: 8:08 PM EST

TV: FS1

Venue: Fenway Park

The series moves over to Boston after a 1-1 split in Houston. The theme of the series so far has been the long ball.

In the opener, Houston came back against the Sox ‘pen with a couple of homers from José Altuve and Carlos Correa on back-to-back Innings. Then in Game 2, the Red Sox became the first team in postseason history to hit two grand slams in the same game — in consecutive innings no less. There was only one other time we’ve seen two grand slams in the same postseason game, but it was one for each team in a 2005 matchup between the Astros and Braves.

Dusty Baker will rely on Urquidy, who didn’t get to pitch against the White Sox in the ALDS, in part due to the injury to Lance McCullers Jr. In the regular season, he had a 8-3 record with a 3.62 ERA.

The last time Urquidy pitched was on the 3rd of October against the Oakland Athletics, when he threw a quality start while completing six innings and giving up three runs. Because of the off-day, one would figure that the leash will be shorter and Houston will go to the bullpen at the first sign of trouble.

Alex Cora will counter with Eduardo Rodriguez, one of the pitchers with the worst BABIP luck in 2021, his final results weren’t good but a 3.32 FIP points to a better year than he’ll get credit for. This will be the third start of this postseason already for Rodriguez; he got the quick hook after 1.2 innings in Game 1 on the ALDS against Tampa Bay, in which he walked two and gave up a couple of earned runs. The southpaw bounced back by striking out six, walking none, and going five innings in the Game 4 clincher.