World Series 2017: Dates, Format, Latest Odds and Predictions

There is no shortage of storylines as the 2017 Major League Baseball playoffs approach the World Series, and any of the possible matchups will provide intrigue and drama.

The New York Yankees are playing the role of the lovable upstart in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros after losing the first two games and winning three straight to take the lead. This is still the franchise with 27 World Series titles, but the young core is thriving on the biggest stage for the first time together.

On the National League side, it is finally not the Chicago Cubs battling to end a championship drought. The defending champions trail 3-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who haven't appeared in a World Series since 1988 and are one win away from parlaying their astounding 104-58 record into a Fall Classic berth.

With that in mind, here is a look at the World Series schedule, format and odds, as well as a prediction for the eventual matchup.

                

World Series Schedule

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 24

Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 25

Game 3: Friday, Oct. 27

Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 28

Game 5*: Sunday, Oct. 29

Game 6*: Tuesday, Oct. 31

Game 7*: Wednesday, Nov. 1

*If necessary

Schedule information is per MLB.com. The start times are to be determined, but all games will be televised on Fox.

                  

World Series Format

Unfortunately for the American League representatives, the All-Star Game no longer determines home-field advantage in the World Series.

While the AL won this year's midsummer classic, the Astros or Yankees won't see the benefits of that in the World Series. Instead, the team with the best record will host Games 1 and 2, as well as Games 6 and 7, if necessary.

The rule change comes after the All-Star Game determining home-field advantage ironically worked somewhat in the Cubs favor last year despite the American League winning the game. They were able to play Kyle Schwarber—who was returning from injury and not cleared to play the outfield—four times in the designated hitter spot in the AL stadium and ultimately won the series over the Cleveland Indians.

The Dodgers (104-58) would enjoy home-field advantage against either the 101-61 Astros or the 91-71 Yankees. Chicago (92-70) would have it in a potential Cubs-Yankees matchup, while Houston would have home field if it faced its former NL Central rival.

                 

World Series Odds

The most up-to-date World Series odds published on OddsShark on Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET are as follows:

Los Angeles Dodgers: -110 (0.9-1)

Houston Astros: +225 (2.25-1)

New York Yankees: +350 (3.5-1)

Chicago Cubs: +5,000 (50-1)

               

Predicted Matchup

The prediction here is the Dodgers will face the Yankees in the World Series, and it comes down to their respective pitching.

That's not to say the likes of Justin Verlander, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks are not formidable for the Astros and Cubs, but Los Angeles and New York simply have the better options at this point in the season.

The Dodgers need one win with a starting trio of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Yu Darvish. Kershaw is arguably the best pitcher in his generation, Hill silenced the Cubs' bats in his last start by allowing one earned run while striking out eight in five innings and Darvish gave up just one run while striking out seven in 6.1 innings in his first start this series.

All Los Angeles needs is one of those starters to take the lead into the seventh, and the likes of Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen will close the series.

The Yankees will turn to Luis Severino in Game 6, but this postseason has been about their bullpen since the AL Wild Card Game victory over the Minnesota Twins. The bullpen combined to get every out but one in that contest, allowing the New York offense to overcome an early 3-0 deficit and advance.

It has been more of the same in this series against the Astros, as the foursome of David Robertson, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman have proven too much for opposing hitters.

Kahnle sports a 0.00 ERA in the postseason, Chapman has been his typical shutdown self with just one earned run allowed in eight playoff innings, Green hasn't given up an earned run in four innings against Houston and Robertson has allowed a mere two runs in 11 postseason innings.

The group has been a weapon for manager Joe Girardi to shorten games and will hold onto a lead through the middle and late innings in one of the two potential showdowns in Houston.

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World Series 2017: Schedule of Dates, Ticket Info and Matchup Predictions

A World Series showdown between the 104-58 Los Angeles Dodgers and 101-61 Houston Astros appeared inevitable when they each won their first two games in the respective league championship series, but the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs had other plans.

New York has come storming back against the Astros with three straight home wins in the American League Championship Series to seize control heading back to Houston, while Chicago remained alive with a dramatic 3-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.

Now the Bronx Bombers are one win away from clinching their spot in the Fall Classic, while Los Angeles finds itself in a similar situation with a 3-1 advantage in the NLCS.

With that in mind, here is a look at the 2017 World Series schedule, as well as a prediction for the matchup.

              

2017 World Series Schedule

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 24

Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 25

Game 3: Friday, Oct. 27

Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 28

Game 5*: Sunday, Oct. 29

Game 6*: Tuesday, Oct. 31

Game 7*: Wednesday, Nov. 1

*If necessary

The schedule information is per MLB.com. All games will be televised on Fox, with the start times to be determined. Tickets will be available on StubHub.

            

Matchup Prediction

The Dodgers still have the inside path to their first World Series appearance since 1988, but ESPN Stats & Info highlighted the fact they shouldn't take the defending champions lightly:

Chicago overcame a 3-1 deficit in last year's World Series against the Cleveland Indians and will have to do the same against Los Angeles, but the Indians didn't have the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Yu Darvish lined up in need of just one victory.

As if that wasn't daunting enough, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said All-Star closer Wade Davis wouldn't be available for Thursday's Game 5 after he threw 48 pitches in Wednesday's two-inning save, per Chris Emma of 670 The Score.

That leaves Chicago facing Kershaw without the services of its best bullpen pitcher. It is not difficult to envision the Dodgers southpaw pitching an effective seven innings and turning the ball over to shutdown closer Kenley Jansen to finish the series with a two-inning save.

As for the American League, Houston still has home-field advantage despite facing a 3-2 deficit. The home team has won every game in this series, and Justin Verlander will take the mound in Friday's Game 6 with the season on the line.

Verlander already threw a complete-game gem in his last outing in this series, allowing a single run and five hits while striking out 13. A repeat performance will push the battle to a decisive Game 7 on Saturday and continue the pattern of the home team taking care of business.

However, a Game 7 situation means it is all-hands-on-deck, and the Bronx Bombers have the significant advantage in the bullpen. According to ESPN.com, New York's bullpen finished with the third-best ERA in the league this season, while Houston's was a mere 17th.

The Astros' bullpen already cost them one game in this series when it couldn't hold a 4-0 advantage in the final three innings of Game 4, otherwise this battle would have a very different feel to it as it shifts back to Houston.

Look for the Yankees to seize an early lead in one of the two games in Houston and rely on the combination of Chad Green, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman to shorten the contest and clinch the American League pennant on the road.

Predicted World Series matchup: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Yankees

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Umpire Jim Wolf Admits He Blew Call on Curtis Granderson Swing vs. Cubs in NLCS

Home plate umpire Jim Wolf admitted he made a mistake during the Chicago Cubs' 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.

According to Jay Cohen of the Associated Press, Wolf told Jim Litke of the AP he watched the replay of what should have been strike three on Curtis Granderson's at-bat in the eighth inning and realized he made a mistake.

Granderson swung and missed at a pitch with two strikes and was initially called out, but he said he foul-tipped it. While the play wasn't reviewable, the umpires huddled and decided to overturn the call and rule it a foul ball.

Chicago manager Joe Maddon came running out of the dugout to protest and was eventually ejected, while the fans at Wrigley Field erupted into a chorus of hostile boos at the poor call.

It was all part of an eventful eighth inning in the do-or-die game for the Cubs.

Maddon turned to All-Star closer Wade Davis for the two-inning save with a 3-1 advantage, but Davis proceeded to allow a solo home run to Justin Turner, walk Yasiel Puig and retire Andre Ethier before the Granderson at-bat. Fortunately for the home fans, Davis struck Granderson out on the ensuing pitch after the controversy and ultimately fanned Chase Utley with two on following a Yasmani Grandal walk.

Davis needed 34 pitches to escape the eighth and threw 48 total, and Maddon said he would be unavailable for Thursday's Game 5, per Chris Emma of 670 The Score.

While Cubs fans were surely pleased with Wednesday's win to preserve their season and pull within 3-1 in the NLCS, they apparently missed what would have been a memorable show had Granderson taken advantage of his extra opportunity.

"If he hits the next pitch out I might have come running out of the clubhouse in my jock strap," Maddon said after the game, per Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Wolf likely never would have forgotten his mistaken call then.

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Javier Baez, Cubs Hold Off Dodgers to Stay Alive in 2017 NLCS with Game 4 Win

The defending champs aren't going down without a fight.

The Chicago Cubs extended their season Wednesday with a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field. Los Angeles still leads the series 3-1, but two home runs from Javier Baez, a home run from Willson Contreras and clutch pitching from Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis kept Chicago alive.        

                   

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Cubs vs. Dodgers: NLCS Game 4 TV Schedule, Pick and Ticket Info

The Los Angeles Dodgers were the best team in Major League Baseball throughout the 2017 season with a 104-58 record and are yet to lose a single game in the playoffs.

Now all they need to do is beat the champion Chicago Cubs one time in the next four contests to advance to their first World Series since 1988.

Los Angeles took a commanding 3-0 lead in the National League Championship Series with Tuesday's dominant 6-1 victory and has the chance to close Chicago out in Wednesday's Game 4.

With that in mind, here is a look at the information for the contest, as well as a prediction.

              

National League Championship Series Game 4 Information

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 18

Time: 9 p.m. ET, per MLB.com

TV: TBS

Ticket Information: Tickets can be found on StubHub

              

Preview and Prediction

The only argument for picking the Cubs even in a single game at this point would border on cliche.

This team proved it doesn't quit last year when it overcame a 2-1 deficit in the NLCS against the Dodgers and a 3-1 deficit in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. It also overcame a three-run deficit in Game 5 of this season's National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals.

However, Los Angeles has been simply dominant in the NLCS rematch.

The Dodgers have won every game by at least three runs and holds a 15-4 advantage in total runs scored through three contests. They also have a shutdown bullpen that is yet to allow a single run all series, meaning they can shorten the game by establishing a lead through the first five or six innings.

Scott Miller of Bleacher Report detailed just how ugly things have gotten for the Cubs against the bullpen during Game 3:

Chicago's last hope falls on the shoulders of 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. While that sounds promising in theory, he dealt with a hamstring injury in September, allowed five runs (three earned) in three innings in his final regular-season start and walked five while allowing an unearned run in just four innings in his one start in the series against Washington.

He has been far from the dominant force who posted a 1.77 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 2015 and finished the 2017 campaign with a 3.53 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.

The Dodgers will counter with Alex Wood, who has never started a postseason game in his career and sports a 4.91 ERA in four playoff relief appearances.

Don't let the playoff numbers fool you, though. Wood was a revelation for the Dodgers' starting staff in 2017 and finished with a career-best ERA (2.72) and WHIP (1.06) with 151 strikeouts in 152.1 innings.

Having someone like that in a rotation already featuring Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and Rich Hill is a clear indication of how the Dodgers were able to play at such an effective clip in 2017.

The formula is already in place for Los Angeles to win Wednesday's contest, and it will follow it straight into the World Series. Look for the Dodgers to push a couple of early runs across against the 2017 version of Arrieta and rely on Wood to make them hold up through the middle innings.

From there, the likes of Brandon Morrow, Tony Watson, Tony Cingrani and Kenta Maeda can continue overmatching the Cubs hitters before Kenley Jansen gets the ball in the ninth.

Jansen, as he so often does, will shut the door in the final frame and put an end to Chicago's World Series title defense.

Prediction: Dodgers 4, Cubs 1

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Yu Darvish, Dodgers Take 3-0 Series Lead over Cubs with Game 3 Win

The Los Angeles Dodgers are one win away from eliminating the defending champions and reaching their first World Series in 29 years.

Los Angeles seized a commanding 3-0 lead in the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday with a 6-1 victory in Game 3 at Wrigley Field. Yu Darvish did exactly what the Dodgers envisioned when they acquired him from the Texas Rangers via trade in July, allowing one run on six hits and one walk while striking out seven in 6.1 innings.

Solo home runs by Andre Ethier and Chris Taylor as well as Taylor's RBI triple provided enough offense, and Darvish and the Dodgers' shutdown bullpen flummoxed Cubs hitters.

    

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Yu Darvish, Dodgers Take 3-0 Series Lead over Cubs with Game 3 Win

The Los Angeles Dodgers are one win away from eliminating the defending champions and reaching their first World Series in 29 years.

Los Angeles seized a commanding 3-0 lead in the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday with a 6-1 victory in Game 3 at Wrigley Field. Yu Darvish did exactly what the Dodgers envisioned when they acquired him from the Texas Rangers via trade in July, allowing one run on six hits and one walk while striking out seven in 6.1 innings.

Solo home runs by Andre Ethier and Chris Taylor as well as Taylor's RBI triple provided enough offense, and Darvish and the Dodgers' shutdown bullpen flummoxed Cubs hitters.

    

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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CC Sabathia, Yankees Crush Astros in Game 3 of ALCS as Aaron Judge Homers

The comeback New York Yankees are at it again.  

After overcoming a 2-0 deficit against the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series, the Bronx Bombers earned their first win of the American League Championship Series on Monday with a commanding 8-1 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium.

New York still trails the series 2-1 but has momentum on its side thanks to three-run homers from Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge and a shutdown pitching performance from CC Sabathia.

While Frazier and Judge made headlines with their power, the 37-year-old Sabathia turned back the clock by scattering three hits and four walks with five strikeouts in six scoreless innings. The six-time All-Star finished his day by overcoming a Didi Gregorius error and retiring Josh Reddick with two runners on base.

His biggest moment came in the top of the third, which was the half-inning after Frazier's blast and the first time all series New York was firmly in control. The Astros loaded the bases with two walks and a single with two outs, but Sabathia induced a harmless popout from Carlos Correa.

Monday was far from the first time Sabathia picked up his team when it needed a boost:

The southpaw was far more effective than his counterpart, who allowed seven runs and six hits in 3.2 innings. Three of the runs charged to Charlie Morton came after he exited, but his failure to escape the fourth before Judge's homer proved costly.

Frazier's homer came in the second inning after two-out singles from Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks. It wasn't a particularly poor pitch from Morton on the low-and-outside corner, but Frazier punched it the opposite way and watched it carry in the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium:

The three-run homers were business as usual for New York:

The Pinstripes played some small ball as well in the fourth before Judge blew the game wide open. Greg Bird doubled and advanced to third on Aaron Hicks' flyout and scored on Chase Headley's infield single—the first base hit for a Yankees designated hitter all playoffs.

Frazier also scored on a wild pitch from Will Harris right before Judge drilled his long ball into the left field seats, making it 8-0 and ending any realistic comeback hopes for the visitors.

The one downside for Judge came in the first when he struck out for the 20th time this postseason, which ESPN Stats and Info noted was a record before a World Series. However, he made up for it by flashing the leather with a leaping catch on Yuli Gurriel's long flyball in the fourth and a diving catch on Cameron Maybin's line drive in the fifth. 

In theory, the blowout win meant the Yankees should have had the luxury of resting some of their key bullpen pieces with the next two contests coming Tuesday and Wednesday. Adam Warren did his part with scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth, but two walks from Dellin Betances in the ninth made New York manager Joe Girardi turn to Tommy Kahnle and warm up Aroldis Chapman.

Houston pushed a lone run across in the inning with Alex Bregman's bases-loaded walk but had to settle for the moral victory of pushing the bullpen some.

The series continues with Tuesday's Game 4 at Yankee Stadium.

While future starts by the formidable one-two punch of Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel loom, the Yankees are just a single home victory away from making this a best-of-three series.

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CC Sabathia, Yankees Crush Astros in Game 3 of ALCS as Aaron Judge Homers

The comeback New York Yankees are at it again.  

After overcoming a 2-0 deficit against the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series, the Bronx Bombers earned their first win of the American League Championship Series on Monday with a commanding 8-1 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium.

New York still trails the series 2-1 but has momentum on its side thanks to three-run homers from Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge and a shutdown pitching performance from CC Sabathia.

While Frazier and Judge made headlines with their power, the 37-year-old Sabathia turned back the clock by scattering three hits and four walks with five strikeouts in six scoreless innings. The six-time All-Star finished his day by overcoming a Didi Gregorius error and retiring Josh Reddick with two runners on base.

His biggest moment came in the top of the third, which was the half-inning after Frazier's blast and the first time all series New York was firmly in control. The Astros loaded the bases with two walks and a single with two outs, but Sabathia induced a harmless popout from Carlos Correa.

Monday was far from the first time Sabathia picked up his team when it needed a boost:

The southpaw was far more effective than his counterpart, who allowed seven runs and six hits in 3.2 innings. Three of the runs charged to Charlie Morton came after he exited, but his failure to escape the fourth before Judge's homer proved costly.

Frazier's homer came in the second inning after two-out singles from Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks. It wasn't a particularly poor pitch from Morton on the low-and-outside corner, but Frazier punched it the opposite way and watched it carry in the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium:

The three-run homers were business as usual for New York:

The Pinstripes played some small ball as well in the fourth before Judge blew the game wide open. Greg Bird doubled and advanced to third on Aaron Hicks' flyout and scored on Chase Headley's infield single—the first base hit for a Yankees designated hitter all playoffs.

Frazier also scored on a wild pitch from Will Harris right before Judge drilled his long ball into the left field seats, making it 8-0 and ending any realistic comeback hopes for the visitors.

The one downside for Judge came in the first when he struck out for the 20th time this postseason, which ESPN Stats and Info noted was a record before a World Series. However, he made up for it by flashing the leather with a leaping catch on Yuli Gurriel's long flyball in the fourth and a diving catch on Cameron Maybin's line drive in the fifth. 

In theory, the blowout win meant the Yankees should have had the luxury of resting some of their key bullpen pieces with the next two contests coming Tuesday and Wednesday. Adam Warren did his part with scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth, but two walks from Dellin Betances in the ninth made New York manager Joe Girardi turn to Tommy Kahnle and warm up Aroldis Chapman.

Houston pushed a lone run across in the inning with Alex Bregman's bases-loaded walk but had to settle for the moral victory of pushing the bullpen some.

The series continues with Tuesday's Game 4 at Yankee Stadium.

While future starts by the formidable one-two punch of Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel loom, the Yankees are just a single home victory away from making this a best-of-three series.

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Dodgers Beat Cubs on Justin Turner’s Walk-Off Home Run in Game 2 of NLCS

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in control of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs after Justin Turner played hero in Sunday's 4-1 Game 2 win at Dodger Stadium.  

Turner drilled a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning off starter-working-in-relief John Lackey, all while Chicago manager Joe Maddon allowed All-Star closer Wade Davis to watch from the bullpen.

Turner also drove in the Dodgers' other run in the fifth inning when they were trailing 1-0 and gave his team a commanding 2-0 series lead.

                  

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Red Sox Rumors: Alex Cora ‘Top Candidate’ to Replace John Farrell as Manager

The Boston Red Sox lost to the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series but are now focusing on their managerial search.

On Sunday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Astros bench coach Alex Cora is seen as Boston's "top candidate" to replace John Farrell. This comes after the Red Sox fired Farrell on Wednesday following their four-game loss to Houston.

Baseball reporter Peter Gammons noted Red Sox President Dave Dombrowski received a recommendation regarding Cora from Houston manager A.J. Hinch. The Astros hired Cora to his current position in November 2016 after he played 14 seasons from 1998 through 2011, and he's helped lead them to within two victories of the World Series this postseason.

According to Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, Dombrowski was "expected to interview [Cora] on Sunday" while the Astros were off during their American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

The Red Sox are not without competition, as David Lennon and Marc Carig of Newsday reported the New York Mets are also expected to interview Cora for their open manager position with the Astros in New York for the ALCS.

"He has a great personality," former teammate and current Astros player Carlos Beltran said of Cora, per Lennon and Carig. "He's intense, players like to see that. But at the same time, he's a guy that can sit down in the clubhouse with the players and have a baseball conversation."

Beltran was not the only former teammate to recommend Cora:

There is a clear connection with both franchises as Cora played for the Red Sox from 2006-08 and the Mets in 2009 and 2010.

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MLB Playoffs 2017: Odds, TV Schedule, Predictions for Championship Series

Last year's World Series ended with arguably the most memorable game in baseball history, featuring an extra-inning rain delay and 108 years of frustration melting away.

This year's postseason may already be delivering more drama.

The same Chicago Cubs who won the title last year outlasted the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series in white-knuckle fashion 9-8 thanks to a seven-out save from closer Wade Davis and seven straight runs after falling behind 4-1.

The New York Yankees lost the first two games in their American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians and battled back to win the next three against the defending AL champs, who had the second-best record in the entire league.

The Bronx Bombers also rallied from an early 3-0 deficit against the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card Game and used their bullpen to record every out but one.

It wasn't all dramatics, as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros combined to lose a single game while dispatching the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox, respectively. But there promises to be plenty more thrills in the championship series.

Here is a look at the odds, schedule and a prediction for each series. The schedules are per MLB.com, while the World Series futures odds are according to OddsShark, as of Thursday at 12:30 a.m. ET.

              

American League Championship Series

Odds to Win World Series

Astros +225 (2.25-1)

Yankees +375 (3.75-1)

               

Schedule

Game 1: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Friday Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Game 2: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Saturday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. ET on Fox

Game 3: Houston Astros at New York Yankees; Monday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. on FS1

Game 4: Houston Astros at New York Yankees; Tuesday, Oct. 17 at TBD on Fox/FS1

Game 5*: Houston Astros at New York Yankees; Wednesday, Oct. 18 at TBD on Fox/FS1

Game 6*: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Friday, Oct. 20 at TBD on Fox/FS1

Game 7*: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Saturday, Oct. 21 at TBD on Fox/FS1

*If necessary

               

Prediction

Conventional wisdom suggests the Astros are going to win this series.

Not only do they get home-field advantage, but they were also 10 games better than the Yankees during the course of the regular season (101 wins to 91 wins). What's more, Houston's offense led Major League Baseball, with 896 runs, and mashed the Boston Red Sox for 24 runs in the four-game AL Division Series.

There is no shortage of firepower, with Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman and more, and the trio of Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers atop the rotation should thrive with the proper run support.

However, the pick here is the Yankees.

The Bronx Bombers sport a formidable offense of their own and finished second in the league in runs this season, with 858. More importantly, their bullpen will allow manager Joe Girardi to shorten games against Houston's potent group, much like it did in the comeback against Cleveland.

Dayn Perry of CBSSports.com noted the combination of Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Jaime Garcia and Adam Warren posted a 2.70 ERA in 20 innings against the Indians, silencing a playoff-hardened group that went to last year's World Series.

The Yankees wouldn't have even reached the Indians series were it not for the bullpen's performance in the AL Wild Card Game against the Twins. Starting pitcher Luis Severino recorded a single out and allowed three runs, but Green, Robertson, Kahnle and Chapman allowed one run and five hits in 8.2 innings to save the season.

The thought here is the Yankees will take a lead into the sixth inning in four of the ALCS games and ride the bullpen to a spot in the World Series.

Predicted winner: New York Yankees

             

National League Championship Series

Odds to Win World Series

Dodgers +195 (1.95-1)

Cubs +750 (7.5-1, but from before they beat the Nationals)

              

Schedule

Game 1: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers; Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on TBS

Game 2: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers; Sunday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TBS

Game 3: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs; Tuesday, Oct. 17 at TBD on TBS

Game 4: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs; Wednesday, Oct. 18 at TBD on TBS

Game 5*: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs; Thursday, Oct. 19 at TBD on TBS

Game 6*: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers; Saturday, Oct. 21 at TBD on TBS

Game 7*: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers; Sunday, Oct. 22 at TBD on TBS

*If necessary

                

Prediction

The battle between the Nationals and Cubs couldn't have gone better for the Dodgers.

While they were patiently awaiting the winner in Los Angeles, Chicago used starters Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in Game 4 and Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana in Game 5. The latter threw just 12 pitches and may be able to go in Game 1, but using all four in a two-day span puts a serious bind on the rotation.

That's not even accounting for the 44 high-stress pitches from All-Star closer Davis after he pitched in Game 4.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles can line up its rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and Rich Hill and rely on offensive forces such as Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Justin Turner to get to a taxed Chicago bullpen.

It would be unwise to doubt this Cubs team, which overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers in last season's NLCS, a 3-1 deficit against the Indians in the World Series and battled back to win Game 5 against Washington on Thursday. But things are lined up perfectly for L.A., the team with the league's best regular-season record (104-58) this year.

The battle between New York and Los Angeles will be set.

Predicted winner: Los Angeles Dodgers

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MLB Playoffs 2017: Odds, TV Schedule, Predictions for Championship Series

Last year's World Series ended with arguably the most memorable game in baseball history, featuring an extra-inning rain delay and 108 years of frustration melting away.

This year's postseason may already be delivering more drama.

The same Chicago Cubs who won the title last year outlasted the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series in white-knuckle fashion 9-8 thanks to a seven-out save from closer Wade Davis and seven straight runs after falling behind 4-1.

The New York Yankees lost the first two games in their American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians and battled back to win the next three against the defending AL champs, who had the second-best record in the entire league.

The Bronx Bombers also rallied from an early 3-0 deficit against the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card Game and used their bullpen to record every out but one.

It wasn't all dramatics, as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros combined to lose a single game while dispatching the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox, respectively. But there promises to be plenty more thrills in the championship series.

Here is a look at the odds, schedule and a prediction for each series. The schedules are per MLB.com, while the World Series futures odds are according to OddsShark, as of Thursday at 12:30 a.m. ET.

              

American League Championship Series

Odds to Win World Series

Astros +225 (2.25-1)

Yankees +375 (3.75-1)

               

Schedule

Game 1: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Friday Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Game 2: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Saturday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. ET on Fox

Game 3: Houston Astros at New York Yankees; Monday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. on FS1

Game 4: Houston Astros at New York Yankees; Tuesday, Oct. 17 at TBD on Fox/FS1

Game 5*: Houston Astros at New York Yankees; Wednesday, Oct. 18 at TBD on Fox/FS1

Game 6*: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Friday, Oct. 20 at TBD on Fox/FS1

Game 7*: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Saturday, Oct. 21 at TBD on Fox/FS1

*If necessary

               

Prediction

Conventional wisdom suggests the Astros are going to win this series.

Not only do they get home-field advantage, but they were also 10 games better than the Yankees during the course of the regular season (101 wins to 91 wins). What's more, Houston's offense led Major League Baseball, with 896 runs, and mashed the Boston Red Sox for 24 runs in the four-game AL Division Series.

There is no shortage of firepower, with Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman and more, and the trio of Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers atop the rotation should thrive with the proper run support.

However, the pick here is the Yankees.

The Bronx Bombers sport a formidable offense of their own and finished second in the league in runs this season, with 858. More importantly, their bullpen will allow manager Joe Girardi to shorten games against Houston's potent group, much like it did in the comeback against Cleveland.

Dayn Perry of CBSSports.com noted the combination of Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Jaime Garcia and Adam Warren posted a 2.70 ERA in 20 innings against the Indians, silencing a playoff-hardened group that went to last year's World Series.

The Yankees wouldn't have even reached the Indians series were it not for the bullpen's performance in the AL Wild Card Game against the Twins. Starting pitcher Luis Severino recorded a single out and allowed three runs, but Green, Robertson, Kahnle and Chapman allowed one run and five hits in 8.2 innings to save the season.

The thought here is the Yankees will take a lead into the sixth inning in four of the ALCS games and ride the bullpen to a spot in the World Series.

Predicted winner: New York Yankees

             

National League Championship Series

Odds to Win World Series

Dodgers +195 (1.95-1)

Cubs +750 (7.5-1, but from before they beat the Nationals)

              

Schedule

Game 1: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers; Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on TBS

Game 2: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers; Sunday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TBS

Game 3: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs; Tuesday, Oct. 17 at TBD on TBS

Game 4: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs; Wednesday, Oct. 18 at TBD on TBS

Game 5*: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs; Thursday, Oct. 19 at TBD on TBS

Game 6*: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers; Saturday, Oct. 21 at TBD on TBS

Game 7*: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers; Sunday, Oct. 22 at TBD on TBS

*If necessary

                

Prediction

The battle between the Nationals and Cubs couldn't have gone better for the Dodgers.

While they were patiently awaiting the winner in Los Angeles, Chicago used starters Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in Game 4 and Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana in Game 5. The latter threw just 12 pitches and may be able to go in Game 1, but using all four in a two-day span puts a serious bind on the rotation.

That's not even accounting for the 44 high-stress pitches from All-Star closer Davis after he pitched in Game 4.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles can line up its rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and Rich Hill and rely on offensive forces such as Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Justin Turner to get to a taxed Chicago bullpen.

It would be unwise to doubt this Cubs team, which overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers in last season's NLCS, a 3-1 deficit against the Indians in the World Series and battled back to win Game 5 against Washington on Thursday. But things are lined up perfectly for L.A., the team with the league's best regular-season record (104-58) this year.

The battle between New York and Los Angeles will be set.

Predicted winner: Los Angeles Dodgers

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Cubs Advance to Face Dodgers in NLCS Behind Wade Davis’ 1st Career 7-Out Save

The World Series champions are still alive.

The Chicago Cubs overcame an early 4-1 deficit and held on for dear life at the end to oust the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Thursday with a 9-8 victory at Nationals Park. The Cubs offense exploded for seven straight runs to take the lead and then relied on closer Wade Davis to finish the game with a seven-out save.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, it was the first seven-out save of his career.

                                     

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Yankees vs. Astros: Dates, TV Schedule and Live Stream for 2017 ALCS

It will be the historic franchise with 27 World Series titles against the one without a single ring for the American League title.

The New York Yankees completed their comeback against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday with a 5-2 victory in Game 5 of the American League Division Series after dropping the first two contests. The Bronx Bombers will face the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series with the winner set to advance to the Fall Classic.

Here is a look at the full ALCS schedule, per MLB.com:

            

Game 1: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Friday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Game 2: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Saturday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. ET on Fox

Game 3: Houston Astros at New York Yankees; Monday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Game 4: Houston Astros at New York Yankees; Tuesday, Oct. 17 at TBD on Fox/FS1

Game 5*: Houston Astros at New York Yankees; Wednesday, Oct. 18 at TBD on Fox/FS1

Game 6*: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Friday, Oct. 20 at TBD on Fox/FS1

Game 7*: New York Yankees at Houston Astros; Saturday, Oct. 21 at TBD on Fox/FS1

*If necessary

Live streams will be available on Fox Sports Go.

                

The Astros already eliminated the Yankees' archrival Boston Red Sox, who won the AL East over New York this season. Houston also beat the Yankees in five of their seven regular-season matchups this year, although the postseason is a different type of game with increased bullpen usage and pressure-packed moments.

The bullpens figure to be a major storyline in the ALCS, considering New York finished with the third-best bullpen ERA in the AL in 2017, while Houston finished a mere 10th, per ESPN.com. New York demonstrated its bullpen prowess in Game 5 against the Indians when the combination of David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman pitched 4.2 scoreless innings to secure the victory.

It didn't even use Dellin Betances (2.87 ERA), Chad Green (1.83 ERA) or Tommy Kahnle (2.59 ERA) in the contest, which is a daunting prospect for the Astros. Houston's 101-61 record was 10 games better than New York's 91-71 mark in 2017, but the latter can shorten these ALCS games with its formidable bullpen if it seizes an early lead.

That formula will put plenty of pressure on Houston's starters and offense to dictate the tempo of the series in the early going.

Fortunately for the Astros, they have 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, 2015 AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and 2017 All-Star Lance McCullers Jr. to anchor the rotation and deal with the likes of Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius and the rest of the Yankees lineup.

As for Houston's offense, it led all of baseball in runs scored this season and features a number of formidable pieces, including potential AL MVP Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer.

Watching that powerful offense against the Yankees' mighty bullpen figures to be a treat for all baseball fans as they battle for a spot in the World Series.

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Derek Jeter Says He Wouldn’t Have Problem with Marlins Kneeling During Anthem

New Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter reportedly won't stop any of his players from kneeling during the national anthem.

On Wednesday, Zach Braziller of the New York Post reported Jeter said he wouldn't take issue with the Marlins protesting racial inequality by kneeling during the song.

Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports noted the comments came when Jeter was speaking at a Turn 2 Foundation charity event. Townsend also pointed out Jeter has spoken out about racism he dealt with growing up and has publicly supported Colin Kaepernick in the past.

                 

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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John Farrell Fired by Boston Red Sox After 5th Season

Manager John Farrell led the Boston Red Sox to the 2013 World Series title, but that didn't buy him enough job security to get to the 2018 season.

Boston fired Farrell on Wednesday, two days after the Houston Astros eliminated it from the playoffs in four games.

This comes after Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports suggested in May that Farrell was potentially on the hot seat. The Red Sox boasted a winning record at the time but were still just in third place in the American League East. The fact Farrell was on the hot seat despite a solid record in the early going was a testament to how high expectations were, especially after Boston traded for ace Chris Sale during the offseason.

Rosenthal cited two incidents that "raised questions about Farrell's leadership."

One was the team's continued dispute with Baltimore Orioles slugger Manny Machado, which featured multiple testy exchanges between the squads. The other was a heated exchange in the dugout between Farrell and pitcher Drew Pomeranz.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski gave Farrell a vote of confidence at the time, per Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, but it didn't last into the offseason.

Even after his firing, Farrell leaves with a successful tenure. 

Boston hired him in October 2012 after one disastrous season with Bobby Valentine as manager. The Red Sox went 69-93 with Valentine in 2012, but Farrell completed an incredible turnaround and led them to the 2013 World Series title in his first season.

Boston suffered through losing campaigns in 2014 and 2015 but bounced back in 2016 with an American League East crown and 93-69 record. It finished 2017 with the same mark and another division title, although it lost in the AL Division Series.

He was also the team's pitching coach from 2007 to 2010, a span that saw a World Series title and three playoff appearances.

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Tanner Roark to Start over Stephen Strasburg in Nationals vs. Cubs NLDS Game 4

The Chicago Cubs still will face Tanner Roark in Game 4 of the National League Division Series after all.

On Tuesday, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reported Nationals manager Dusty Baker said Roark will start Wednesday's Game 4 after Tuesday's contest was postponed due to rain.

While Roark was set to start Tuesday, the postponement presented Baker with the opportunity to start Stephen Strasburg on his normal four days' rest. However, Baker said Strasburg is "under the weather," according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.

What's more, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post noted Strasburg threw a bullpen session Tuesday "in anticipation of starting Thursday."

It is hard to see this as anything but a win for the Cubs given Strasburg's talent level and performance in Game 1 of this series. He posted a 2.52 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 204 strikeouts in 175.1 innings this season and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of Game 1 against Chicago.

While he ultimately allowed two runs and struck out 10 in seven innings of Washington's 3-0 loss, both runs were unearned.

Roark was impressive in 2016 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, but his numbers dropped off this year with a career-worst 4.67 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. He also allowed six earned runs in 4.2 innings in his last start, which came on Sept. 27 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Cubs—who lead the series 2-1 and have the opportunity to punch their ticket to their third straight National League Championship Series—were set to start 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta Tuesday and plan to do the same Wednesday, per the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin

While Arrieta would appear to be more of a sure thing than Roark, he suffered a hamstring injury down the stretch in September and hasn't made an appearance since he allowed five runs (three earned) in a Sept. 26 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Cody Bellinger, Dodgers Complete Sweep of Diamondbacks, Advance to NLCS

The Los Angeles Dodgers are heading to the National League Championship Series for the second straight season.

Los Angeles finished a sweep of the NL West rival Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 3 of the NL Division Series on Monday with a 3-1 victory at Chase Field. Yu Darvish allowed one run on just two hits with seven strikeouts in five-plus innings, while the Dodgers got to his counterpart, Zack Greinke, for a run in the first inning and never trailed.

                 

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Luis Severino, Aaron Judge Power Yankees Past Indians in Game 4 of ALDS

The New York Yankees aren't going down without a fight.

The Yankees evened their American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians on Monday with a 7-3 victory in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Bombers—with the help of six unearned runs—continued the pattern of the home team winning each contest this series to force a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday in Cleveland.

    

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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