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MLB Playoff Roundup: October 18th

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Another big offensive effort from the Red Sox saw them take a lead in the ALCS.

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

After the dramatics of the first two games of the NLCS on Saturday and Sunday, those two teams got the day off as that series shifted out west. That meant the ALCS had the stage all to itself on Monday night. That game didn’t exactly follow up with more dramatics, and we now have two clear frontrunners with both series in action tonight.

What happened last night?

ALCS Game 3

Boston Red Sox 12, Houston Astros 3

(Red Sox lead 2-1)

The start of Game 3 of the ALCS wasn’t an exact match, but resembled Game 2 in ways. It took until the second inning for the Red Sox to get on the board, but they did so in a big way once again. Boston put up six runs off Astros’ starter José Urquidy, with the big blow coming on a Kyle Schwarber grand slam. Urquidy exited after just 1.2 innings, which is not ideal considering what happened in Game 2, and what will happen tonight, which we’ll get to.

Boston tacked on three more runs in the third, and it was pretty much over from there. Houston fought back somewhat against Eduardo Rodríguez with Kyle Tucker’s fourth-inning home run, but that was the extent of the damage they did against him. The Red Sox added more runs over the course of the last couple innings and cruised to an easy win.

What’s on deck?

NLCS Game 3

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves

(Walker Buehler vs. Charlie Morton)

(Braves lead 2-0)

Time: 5:08 pm ET

TV: TBS

Venue: Dodger Stadium

The NLCS is in Los Angeles tonight for Game 3, and the hosts come into it in a precarious position after two walk-off losses. Trying to avoid going down 3-0, the Dodgers will send Walker Buehler to the mound tonight.

In the last series, Buehler was tasked with a must win game against the Giants when he started Game 4 on short rest with the Dodgers down 2-1. He went on to give his team 4.1 important innings, allowing just one run in an eventual 7-2 win. This game won’t be on short rest, but it’s almost nearly as important. His only game against Atlanta this year came back on August 31st, where he allowed two runs in seven innings in a win.

Looking to put one foot in the World Series, the Braves will give Charlie Morton the ball. His last start similarly came on short rest, where he went in Atlanta’s clinching Game 4 win over the Brewers in the NLDS. He left after 3.1 innings and the Braves were in a deficit, but they did rally to take the series after that.

Morton has very recent playoff dealings against the Dodgers, having started Game 3 of last year’s World Series when he was a member of the Rays. LA got him for five runs in 4.1 innings, in what ended up being his only appearance of the series.

ALCS Game 4

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

(Nick Pivetta vs. Zack Greinke)

Time: 8:08 pm ET

TV: FS1

Venue: Fenway Park

Even with the crucial-ness of this game, it took a while until we got an official pitching matchup announced.

As far as the Astros go, injuries have forced their hand here. With Lance McCullers Jr. out for the series, Zack Greinke not stretched out enough for a normal starting role, and the team dealing with the fallout of Luis García exiting Game 2 early, the Astros had a decision to make. Jake Odorizzi was the planned Game 4 starter, but he ended up coming into Game 2 in relief of García. That left them in a position where there was no obvious starter. They ended up going with Greinke, but he’s not likely to go more than couple innings.

For the Red Sox, they have only used three starting pitchers in their playoff run so far, so if they wanted to continue that, then Chris Sale would’ve be next in line. However with him only recently returned from injury, they opted to go with Nick Pivetta for Game 4. Pivetta hasn’t appeared since Game 3 of the ALDS against the Rays, getting the win in a relief outing in that crazy game.