World Series 2017 Schedule: TV, Live-Stream Coverage for Fall Classic

As the Los Angeles Dodgers bide their time at home, the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros will battle it out in a seventh game of the American League Championship Series Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

The home field has been kind to both teams to this point, so that means the Astros should have something of an advantage in Game 7. The Yankees will try to counter that edge with veteran pitcher CC Sabathia getting the starting assignment. Charlie Morton will take the mound for the Astros.

The seventh game is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET and will be televised by FS1. 

The winner will go to Los Angeles for Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET. The Dodgers won the NLCS, defeating the Chicago Cubs in five games. Dave Roberts' team earned the title Thursday night, and the manager will have a chance to set his pitching rotation and his lineup as the American Leaguers battle it out.

The World Series will be televised by Fox and will be live-streamed at MLB.TV.

Here's a look at the schedule for the Fall Classic:

Tuesday, October 24

Game 1, New York/Houston at Los Angeles, Time TBD, Fox

Wednesday, October 25

Game 2, New York/Houston at Los Angeles, Time TBD, Fox

Friday, October 27

Game 3, Los Angeles at New York/Houston, Time TBD, Fox

Saturday, October 28

Game 4, Los Angeles at New York/Houston, Time TBD, Fox

Sunday, October 29

Game 5, Los Angeles at New York/Houston, Time TBD, Fox, if necessary

Tuesday, October 31

Game 6, New York/Houston at Los Angeles, Time TBD, Fox, if necessary

Wednesday, November 1

Game 7, New York/Houston at Los Angeles, Time TBD, Fox, if necessary

The Dodgers have had a memorable season, and they are surging at the most critical time of the year. 

They were the best team in baseball by a fairly wide margin for three-quarters of the season, and they were on track to win 110 games or more through the middle of August. However, they hit a terrible skid late in the month that carried into the middle of September.

The Dodgers lost 16 of 17 games with the playoffs around the corner, and they did not look like a team that was capable of winning a series against a mediocre opponent, let alone beating other championship contenders.

They came out of their slump in the final 10 games of the regular season, but they appeared to be on shaky ground as they prepared to play the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series. They had been swept in two three-game series by Arizona during their losing skein, and the power bats of Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez loomed large.

However, Roberts and his team had no concerns, and they eliminated the wild-card winners in three straight games. The 2016 World Series champion Cubs were unable to come up with any solutions either.

The Dodgers rolled to an 11-1 triumph in the fifth game and celebrated the National League title at Wrigley Field. Enrique Hernandez, one of the Dodgers' role players, shocked observers with a three-HR performance that included a grand slam in the clinching game.

The Dodgers have been getting clutch hitting throughout the postseason from a number of key performers. Third baseman Justin Turner is hitting .387 with three home runs and 12 RBI, while right fielder Yasiel Puig is hitting .414 with a home run, six RBI and six runs scored.

"This is one of the most unbelievable teams I've ever been part of," said Justin Turner, per Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. "Every night, it's somebody different, something special. You never know what you're going to see, maybe even somebody hit three home runs in a series-clinching game."

Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor both have hit two home runs and driven in four runs, while Logan Forsythe is hitting .316 with six runs scored.

Starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish both have 2-0 records, as does reliever Kenta Maeda. Kershaw has had postseason struggles throughout his career, and while he hasn't been lights out in the postseason, he has a 3.63 earned-run average along with 16 strikeouts in 17.1 innings. Darvish has a 1.59 ERA and an impressive 14 strikeouts in 11.1 innings of postseason work.

If the Yankees survive the seventh game, they will depend on their power bats against the Dodgers. Aaron Judge has hit four postseason home runs to lead the team after belting 52 during the regulars season. Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird have each hit three home runs in the playoffs for the Yankees.

The Astros are led by American League MVP candidate Jose Altuve, who is hitting .405 in the postseason with four home runs and seven RBI. First baseman Yuli Gurriel is hitting .378 with 14 hits in the postseason, while Carlos Correa has three home runs and nine RBI.

While the winner of Saturday's ALCS will have to leave everything on the field to earn the title, that team will be aided by two full days of rest prior to Game 1 of the World Series.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

ALCS Schedule 2017: Game Time, TV Guide, Odds and Predictions

The Houston Astros were not about to return to Minute Maid Park and hand the American League Championship Series to the New York Yankees. After dropping three games at Yankee Stadium, the Astros combined timely hitting with Justin Verlander's shutdown pitching to record a 7-1 victory Friday night.

The series is tied 3-3, and the Houston win forces a seventh game, which will be played Saturday at 8 p.m. and will be televised by FS1.

Charlie Morton will take the mound for the Astros, and he was 14-7 with a 3.62 earned-run average during the regular season. Morton has had his issues in the postseason, with an 0-1 record and a 10.13 ERA.

CC Sabathia will take the mound for the Yankees, and he had a solid regular season with a 14-5 record and a 3.69 ERA. Sabathia has gotten the job done in the postseason with a 1-0 record and 2.30 ERA. The big lefthander has struck out 19 hitters with seven walks throughout the playoffs.

While Sabathia would seem to give the Yankees an edge in the decisive game, Houston manager A.J. Hinch will have all hands on deck in a Game 7, and that includes Dallas Keuchel. 

Verlander met with the press after Game 6 and said his availability will depend on how he feels when he arrives at the Minute Maid Park Saturday.

Sabathia is looking forward to leading the Yankees in the seventh game. “It’s going to be exciting, the opportunity to go to the World Series,” Sabathia said, per Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post. “One game. I’m excited.”

Yankee manager Joe Girardi said his team has won different types of games in the playoffs, and he is confident in his team.

"You know, we’ve won all kind of different games,” Girardi said. “We won some high-scoring games, we won one 1-0. It’s a situation these guys have been in a lot.”

The Astros were able to force a Game 7 as a result of timely hitting Friday night that backed Verlander's pitching. Brian McCann drove home the first run of the game with a fifth-inning ground-rule double, and Jose Altuve contributed a two-run single later that inning.

The Yankees scored their only run on Aaron Judge's fourth home run of the postseason in the eighth, but the Astros removed all the drama from the game with four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The Astros are -125 favorites (bet $125 to win $100) for the winner-takes-all game, while the Yankees are +115 underdogs (bet $100 to win $115), according to OddsShark.

Prediction

The home team has won the first six games in the ALCS, so we are safe in saying that the Astros will find a way to win Game 7 at home, correct?

Not necessarily. The Yankees have a solid veteran pitcher in Sabathia, who should remain calm and effective when facing the pressure of a winner-takes-all game.

Morton has a great arm and has swing-and-miss stuff, but he has not been at his best in the postseason. The Yankee batters saw Justin Verlander in Game 6, and they should have a much better chance of hitting Morton and the Houston relievers.

Here's another factor to consider: There have only been three best-of-seven series in Major League Baseball history that has seen the home team win every game. The 1987 Minnesota Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series in that manner, and the Twins did it again in 1991 against the Atlanta Braves. The 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in a seven-game World Series with the home team winning every game.

We don't think it will happen to the Yankees for the second time. Sabathia is effective in Game 7, and the Yankees will find a way to scratch out runs against Morton and the rest of the Houston pitching staff.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Playoffs 2017: Examining Latest Results, Highlights and Stats

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros have fought on even terms through six games, and it will take a seventh to decide the American League Championship.

The Astros were laboring after three consecutive losses in New York, and their high-powered offense had gone missing in action. That changed in Game 6, as the Astros erupted for a 7-1 victory at Minute Maid Park Friday night.

Houston will host Game 7 at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, and it will be televised by FS1.

Charlie Morton is expected to start the game for the Astros, while CC Sabathia will take the mound for New York.

Justin Verlander recorded the win Friday night, as he pitched 7.0 innings of shutout baseball, giving up five hits, striking out eight and walking one batter.

Brian McCann broke up a scoreless game in the bottom of the fifth inning with an RBI double, and MVP candidate Jose Altuve added a two-run single in that inning.

Aaron Judge got the Yankees on the board in the top of the eighth with a home run, but the Astros removed all doubt with four runs in the bottom of that inning.

The winner of Game 7 will get an opportunity to play the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

The Dodgers took care of business in the NLCS by beating the Chicago Cubs in five games. Their pitching staff shut down the 2016 World Series champions with little trouble, as the Dodgers jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Cubs avoided the sweep in Game 4.

While that victory brought some hope to Chicago, the Dodgers overpowered the Cubs in Game 5, recording an 11-1 victory in the decisive game.

Utility man Enrique Hernandez may not be used to the bright lights of stardom, but he made great use of his opportunity by hammering three home runs to back Clayton Kershaw's pitching.

Hernandez had seven RBI in the game, tying a playoff record set by Troy O'Leary of the Boston Red Sox in the 1999 American League Division Series. He belted a third-inning grand slam that put the game and the series firmly in the hands of the Wrigley Field visitors.

Kershaw has had his problems in the postseason throughout his career, and while he wasn't lights-out against the Cubs, he was solid as he pitched 6.0 innings, allowing three hits and one earned run while striking out five and walking one.

"To get to be on the mound tonight and get to be going to the World Series on the same night, it's a special thing," Kershaw said, per Stats AP (h/t CBSSports.com). "Who knows how many times I'm going to get to go to the World Series? I know more than anybody how hard it is to get there. So I'm definitely not taking this one for granted."

The Dodgers bullpen has been in a lockdown mode throughout the postseason.

In addition to that superb work by the bullpen, the Dodgers are getting timely hitting up and down the lineup.

Slugging third baseman Justin Turner has hit three home runs and driven in 12 runs in the postseason while hitting .387. Yasiel Puig has also had an excellent postseason, hitting .414 with a home run and six RBI. Rookie superstar Cody Bellinger and Chris Turner have both hit two home runs for the Dodgers, and those two also have four RBI each.

Kershaw, Yu Darvish and reliever Kenta Maeda take 2-0 records into the World Series, and ace closer Kenley Jansen has three saves.

Reliever Brandon Morrow has been sensational out of the bullpen, giving up three hits and one run in 8.1 innings of work. Morrow has struck out eight batters in the postseason and walked just one.

The Yankees made it to the seventh game in large part because of their power. Judge's home run Friday night was his team-leading fourth of the postseason, while teammates Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird have three home runs each.

The Astros are led by Altuve, who had two hits Friday night and is hitting .405 during the postseason. Yuli Gurriel had a hit and scored a run Friday and is hitting .378, while Carlos Correa emerged from his funk in New York with two hits in Game 6. He is hitting .275 with three homers and nine RBI in the postseason.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

World Series 2017: TV Schedule and Bold Predictions for Final Round

The end is in sight, and the 10 teams that started the MLB postseason will soon be whittled down to two.

The Dodgers earned the National League title Thursday night and whipped the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs in five games, and the Yankees will be able to meet their ancient rivals in the World Series if they can close out the Houston Astros Friday or Saturday.

The Dodgers have had one of the most memorable seasons in recent memory. For three-quarters of the campaign, they were on a pace that could have seen them win 110 games or more. They were the best team in the National League by a wide margin, but then they hit a bit of a hiccup in late August.

Well, a big hiccup. This magnificent team lost 16 of 17 games in a span that bridged August and September, and the Dodgers were falling to earth like a skydiver whose parachute failed to open. The streak ended during the last 10 games of the season—8-2 over that span—but Los Angeles limped into the playoffs.

Their division series against the Arizona Diamondbacks looked like a major problem. The Diamondbacks had swept the Dodgers twice during that losing spell, and the combination of Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez looked ready to torch Dodger pitching.

But the magic that had shown up during the early part of the regular season returned. The Dodgers swept the Snakes out of the playoffs and needed just one above the minimum to get rid of Chicago. They closed out the Cubs with a convincing 11-1 victory as Enrique Hernandez belted three home runs.

Now they wait for the Yankees and the Astros to finish their battle on the American League side of the equation. 

The Yankees are supremely confident, coming from an 0-2 deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the series by sweeping three games at Yankee Stadium. This comes on the heels of ousting the Cleveland Indians in the AL Division Series, rallying from 0-2 to win the five-game series.

The Yankees' bats are getting the job done, as they outscored the Astros 19-5 in the three games at Yankee Stadium. 

Rookie slugger Aaron Judge belted two homers and two doubles in the three games at Yankee Stadium. "I'm just trying to get productive hits with runners on base," Judge said, per Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. "That's the biggest thing this postseason. It doesn't matter how you do it as long as you're scoring runs."

It has been something of a reversal of fortune because the Yankees were not hitting in the two games in Houston, both 2-1 Astros victories. The Astros were hitting the ball extremely well in the ALDS against the Red Sox, but once they dusted off Boston in four games, the Astros' bats have cooled down considerably. 

While the Yankees have to face Justin Verlander in Game 6, we think they will ultimately prevail—in six or seven games—and win the American League pennant. They will meet the Dodgers (Brooklyn years included) for the 12th time in World Series history, and the Yankees hold an 8-3 edge.

Here's the schedule for the potential New York-Los Angeles World Series, per MLB.com:

Tuesday, October 24
Game 1, New York at Los Angeles, Time TBD, Fox

Wednesday, October 25
Game 2, New York at Los Angeles, Time TBD, Fox

Friday, October 27
Game 3, Los Angeles at New York, Time TBD, Fox

Saturday, October 28
Game 4, Los Angeles at New York, Time TBD, Fox

Sunday, October 29
Game 5, Los Angeles at New York, Time TBD, Fox, if necessary

Tuesday, October 31
Game 6, New York at Los Angeles, Time TBD, Fox, if necessary

Wednesday, November 1
Game 7, New York at Los Angeles, Time TBD, Fox, if necessary

        

Prediction

The Dodgers have been the best team in baseball for the majority of the year, although many observers thought the Cleveland Indians were better by the end of the season.

The Yankees have already beaten the Indians, and if our vision holds up, they will have taken down the Astros by winning the final four games of that series or four of the final five games.

That's what championship teams do. They look their opponent right in the eye, take their best shot, and come back harder.

We see this series as similar to the ones that the Yankees have already played. The Dodgers are likely to strike the early blows by winning the first two games at home, but the Yankees will come back to the Bronx and take charge.

The Yankees may not be the better team, but we see them as more resilient, and the Yankees will win in seven games and celebrate in Los Angeles.

In the event that the Astros win the last two games of the AL Championship Series and get to the World Series, Houston will also be successful in a six-game World Series.

American League teams are simply better and face tougher competition on a year in, year out basis. The American League has had the edge in the last 13 years of interleague competition, and that will be proved again in the World Series.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

ALCS Schedule 2017: Pitching Matchup, Odds and Final-Score Prediction

Justin Verlander has been brilliant since coming to the Houston Astros, and he is going to have to be at his best when he takes the mound Friday night at Minute Maid Park if his team is going to stay alive in the American League Championship Series.

After taking a 2-0 lead in the first two games of the series at home, the Astros were blitzed in three straight games by the New York Yankees, and they are on the verge of getting knocked out of the playoffs by the wild-card team.

However, if Verlander can get the best of New York starter Luis Severino, the Astros will force a winner-take-all seventh game Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. 

Game 6 is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET and will be televised by FS1. The Astros are minus-134 favorites and the Yankees are 124 underdogs, according to OddsShark.

Verlander has impressive credentials. He struck out 13 and walked just one in the Astros' 2-1 victory over the Yankees in Game 2 of the series.

However, the Yankees rediscovered their offense in the three games in New York as sluggers Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird all dented the Houston pitching staff. 

Judge got his power stroke going in Game 3 when he belted a three-run homer in New York's 8-1 victory. The 6'7" slugger homered and doubled in Game 4, and Sanchez drove in three runs in the Yankees 6-4 comeback victory in Game 4, and Bird drove in the first run in the 5-0 shutout win over Dallas Keuchel in Game 5. Judge hit another double in that game, while Sanchez had two hits, including a home run.

Judge credited Bird with getting the big hit in Game 5, because the first run was so critical against Houston's ace. 

"That's the biggest thing, getting that first run. With someone like that, you have to get him early when you can. If he gets in a groove like he usually does, he's unhittable," Judge said of Keuchel, per Peter Botte of the New York Daily News. "But that's Greg Bird, that's what I expect out of him, that's what he's shown me through the minor leagues, through the short time he's been up here, that's Greg Bird, man. He's a fantastic hitter, probably our best hitter, and he's proving it right now in the postseason."

While the Yankees unleashed their attack at home, the Houston bats have gone cold. After dominating against the Boston Red Sox in the division series, the Astros have scored two runs or less in four of the five games. They scored four runs in building a 4-0 lead in Game 4, but the New York comeback left them shattered.

Yankee Stadium may be a hitter's paradise, but the Astros went 11-for-92 in the Bronx and were just 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position. The Astros did not hit a home run, and the slumping hitters included MVP candidate Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Alex Bregman.

Those hitters are going to have to solve Severino. They can't just expect Verlander to shut down the Yankees once again, as the hitters must carry their part of the burden as well.

                    

Prediction

The Yankees have roared back to win three games in a row, and it seems like they have all the momentum. They have regained their stride and the Astros are reeling.

There's one issue for the Yankees, however. That's the presence of Verlander on the mound. He has been on fire since coming to the Astros, going 5-0 with a 1.06 earned-run average during the regular season, and 3-0 in the playoffs with a 2.04 ERA.

The combination of Verlander's pitching with the Astros returning home will be enough for Houston to earn a narrow 4-2 victory and force a seventh game.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

ALCS Schedule 2017: Game Times, Odds, Live-Stream Coverage and More

Momentum meant nothing to the New York Yankees when they returned home to the Bronx after losing the first two games of the American League Championship Series.

They solved their offensive woes and won three straight games to take command of the ALCS and put the Houston Astros on the brink of elimination.

The Astros would like to pay the Yankees back in kind as they return to Minute Maid Park for Game 6. If they can win that game with power pitcher Justin Verlander on the mound, they will force a seventh and decisive game.

Game 6 is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised by FS1. The game can be live-streamed at MLB.TV.

Luis Severino was the Yankees' best pitcher during the regular season, and he will get the start for this potential clinching game. 

The Astros are minus-134 favorites in Game 6, while the Yankees are plus-124 underdogs, at the time of writing, per OddsShark.

Severino pitched four innings in Game 2 before he was removed from the game. The Yankees had concerns about his shoulder because Severino was windmilling his arm in his final inning of that appearance, and those concerns were answered in a bullpen session prior to Wednesday's fifth game.

The pitcher had said that there was no problem with his arm, and his throwing session went well. 

"From the beginning, I said there was no problem and that I didn't feel anything," Severino said, per Dan Martin and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. "I threw today and felt 100 percent."

Verlander appeared to be at the top of his game when he pitched the Astros to a 2-0 lead in the series by throwing a complete game Sunday. Verlander struck out 13, walked one and gave up five hits. He was in charge from start to finish, and he may have to be just as good or better if the Astros are going to force a seventh game.

When the Yankees were in Houston, they were not hitting well and their offense was limping along. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez broke out of slumps at Yankee Stadium, and they have helped turn the series in the Yankees' favor.

Sanchez drove in the winning runs in Game 4 with a line drive double to right-center field, and he belted his third home run of the playoffs and added a single in Game 5.

"The key is simple: Do not swing at bad pitches," Sanchez said through a translator to Zach Braziller of the New York Post. "The first two at-bats, I struck out, and they were bad pitches. I told myself, 'Hey, stop doing that, look for good pitches to hit, make sure you get good contact.'

"If you stop swinging at bad pitches, make sure you swing at good pitches, good things are going to happen."

If Game 7 is necessary, it will be played Saturday, Oct. 21 in Houston at 8 p.m. ET.

                

Prediction

The Yankees could not find their offense in the first two games of the series and found themselves in an 0-2 hole when they came home to Yankee Stadium.

While the Astros were hopeful of making the ALCS a short series and clinching the pennant in New York, that did not happen. The Yankees started to hit the ball and the Astros have lost their offense. They were held to one run in a 2-1 Game 3 loss and were blanked 5-0 in Game 5.

They had a 4-0 lead in Game 4, but they could not hold that lead as the Yankees rallied for a 6-4 victory.

The Astros have to figure out Severino and find their offense quickly, and Verlander must continue to throw in lights-out fashion.

Look for the Astros to play with the same desperation at Minute Maid Park that their opponents demonstrated at Yankee Stadium.

The Astros will win and force a Game 7.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

World Series 2017: Full Schedule and Predictions for LCS Action

The Houston Astros thought that winning the first two games of the American League Championship Series had put them in the driver's seat to win the pennant.

The New York Yankees clearly had other ideas. After dropping a pair of 2-1 decisions, the Yankees have roared back to tie the series with 8-1 and 6-4 victories.

The Astros were seemingly in command in Game 4, as they took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Yankees had just one hit off Houston starter Lance McCullers, and he was clearly on top of his game.

However, Aaron Judge launched a mammoth home run to center field leading off the seventh, and Houston manager A.J. Hinch did not want to take any more chances. He took McCullers out and replaced him with Chris Devenski. The Yankees scored one more run in the inning to close to 4-2.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees launched an all-out assault against the Houston bullpen. They scored four runs to take a two-run lead as Judge drove in the tying run with a two-base hit and catcher Gary Sanchez doubled in the go-ahead and insurance runs.

The Yankees closed out the game behind the power arm of Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning.

The Yankees squared the series at 2-2 and have the momentum and the home field for Game 5 on Wednesday. The series will shift back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday and a potential Game 7 on Saturday.

The Los Angeles Dodgers had no problems going on the road for the first time in the NLCS against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. After falling behind 1-0 on a Kyle Schwarber first-inning home run at Wrigley Field, the workmanlike Dodgers rallied for a relatively easy 6-1 victory in Game 3.

The Dodgers lead the series 3-0 and can clinch the National League pennant on Wednesday night. 

Here's a look at the full schedule for the two league championship series. (All times are Eastern.)


Wednesday, October 18
Houston at New York, 5 p.m., FS1
Los Angeles at Chicago, 9 p.m., TBS

Thursday, Oct. 19
Los Angeles at Chicago, 9 p.m., TBS*

Friday, Oct. 20
New York at Houston, 8 p.m., FS1

Saturday, Oct. 21
Chicago at Los Angeles, 4 p.m., TBS*
New York at Houston, 8 p.m., FS1*

Sunday, Oct. 22
Chicago at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m., TBS*

*-if necessary

   

The Astros will send Dallas Keuchel to the mound in Game 5 against Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees. Those two hooked up in Game 1, and Keuchel and the Astros recorded the victory.

Keuchel will try to blunt the Yankees' momentum once again. Keuchel struck out 10 Yankees in that game while walking one and giving up four hits. He did not give up a run. 

Tanaka was solid as he allowed two earned runs in six innings while also allowing four hits, but that was not good enough.

Kuechel should have the advantage, but the Yankees are 5-0 at Yankee Stadium during the current postseason, while the Astros are 1-3 on the road.

The Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound in an attempt to sweep the Cubs out of the postseason, while the Cubs will counter with Jake Arrieta. Wood was 16-3 during the regular season with a 2.72 earned-run average. Arrieta was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA.

   

Predictions

Let's get the one-sided National League out of the way quickly. The Dodgers will win the National League pennant and represent the senior circuit in the World Series.

It will come as quickly as Wednesday if Wood can best Arrieta (or the Dodgers bullpen gets the best of the Cubs relievers). If not, the Dodgers will win it in five games—or six at the most.

Chicago's reign will be over at the conclusion of the NLCS.

The ALCS is another story, as neither team has blinked on its home field. If that does not change for the remaining games of the series, the Astros will represent the American League in the World Series for the first time in their history. (They did play in the 2005 Fall Classic, but they were National League champions that year and were swept in the World Series by the American League's Chicago White Sox.)

We don't see the home-field trend continuing. Keuchel is simply too good, and the Yankees will not be able to solve him. The Astros will win Game 5 and go home with a chance to clinch it.

The Astros will send Justin Verlander to face Luis Severino in Game 6, and we expect the Yankees to square the series.

It will all come down to Game 7, and the Astros will find a way to scratch out a late run—possibly in walk-off fashion—and win their first American League pennant.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

NLCS Schedule 2017: Dodgers vs. Cubs Game Times, Odds and Prediction

The Chicago Cubs have a huge mountain to climb if they want to defend the World Series championship they won in such memorable fashion in 2016.

They trail the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 in the National League Championship Series after dropping a 6-1 decision in Game 3, and if starting pitcher Jake Arrieta and the Cubs can't get the best of counterpart Alex Wood and the Dodgers, the National League will have a new champion.

The game is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET at Wrigley Field and will be televised by TBS.

The Cubs have had the early lead in the first three games of the series, but they haven't been able to stop the Dodgers from coming back in any of those games.

There were high hopes for the Cubs prior to Game 3, as they sent Kyle Hendricks to the mound and manager Joe Maddon made several moves to boost the lineup. One of them was putting Kyle Schwarber in left field and batting him second, and the power hitter came through with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning.

However, that had little impact as the Dodgers tied the game in the top of the second on a home run by Andre Ethier and took the lead in the third inning on Chris Taylor's 448-foot long ball to center field.

The Dodgers methodically added to that lead as the game progressed, while the Cubs had no answers for Los Angeles starting pitcher Yu Darvish. Chicago managed six hits and one walk off Darvish in 6.1 innings but could not add to their lone run.

The Los Angeles bullpen blanked the Cubs in the final 2.2 innings.

Here's a look at the schedule for the remainder of the NLCS (all times are ET):

Wednesday, October 18
Game 4, Los Angeles at Chicago, 9 p.m., TBS

Thursday, Oct. 19
Game 5, Los Angeles at Chicago, 9 p.m., TBS*

Saturday, Oct. 21
Game 6, Chicago at Los Angeles, 4 p.m., TBS*

Sunday, Oct. 22
Game 7, Chicago at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m., TBS*

*-if necessary

The Cubs remained hopeful about their ability to mount a comeback from the 3-0 deficit, something that only the 2004 Boston Red Sox have managed in the history of Major League Baseball.

"I think we've won four games in a row before," Chicago slugger Kris Bryant said, per Stats TSX. "Obviously, it's going to be a tougher road. But it'll make the story that much better. Can you imagine that?"

Ethier missed most of the season with a herniated lumbar disk and he had two hits in his first postseason start. He said the Dodgers were just going about their normal routine.

"We knew today was the most important game, and now tomorrow's the most important game," Ethier said. "We're going to come out and figure out how to get the job done again."

 

Prediction

The Cubs are not competing on equal terms with the Dodgers, and something is missing from their lineup as they are not hitting and not scoring runs.

They look like a tired team compared to their opponents, and Bryant admitted after the Game 3 loss. "I wouldn't say emotionally or mentally," Bryant said, per Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times. "But I think physically, yeah. Obviously, some guys are tired. It has been a really long year. We've had some long days and stuff like that."

It seems like the Cubs will not go into Game 4 with a full gas tank, and that's going to make it tough to compete with the steamrolling Dodgers. Los Angeles is 6-0 in this year's postseason.

Arrieta is going to be a free agent in the offseason, and he would love to show off his best form in what may be his last start in a Cubs uniform. Wood has not had a postseason start, and he may not be sharp considering he hasn't pitched since September 26.

If Arrieta is able to limit the Dodgers and go deep into the game and Wood is somewhat rusty and gives the Cubs some hittable pitches, pride should take over for the home team. However, if Wood is sharp and the Dodgers can scratch out a few runs against Arrieta, the Dodgers will be tough to beat.

The latter scenario seems more likely, so look for the Dodgers to get their sweep. The starting pitching has been too good, and the relief pitching has been almost perfect.

The Dodgers will win the National League pennant on the Cubs' home field and move on to the World Series.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

ALCS Schedule 2017: Updated Astros vs. Yankees TV Coverage and Predictions

The New York Yankees are breathing easier following their 8-1 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, and they are now in a position to show their opponents that they are ready to turn this series into a dogfight.

Sonny Gray gets the starting assignment Tuesday at 5:08 p.m. ET for the Yankees, and he will be opposed by Lance McCullers of the Astros. The game will be televised by FS1.

Both pitchers have had recent issues, as Gray takes the mound with an 0-1 record and an 8.10 earned-run average in the postseason. McCullers is 0-3 with an 8.63 ERA in his last eight starts.

Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge belted home runs for the Yankees Monday night, while the Houston offense had a difficult time producing against CC Sabathia. Earlier in the playoffs, Houston was getting production up and down the lineup, but the Astros have suffered a downturn in the ALCS.

After hitting the ball hard in four ALDS games against the Boston Red Sox, the Astros are hitting just .169 against the Yankees. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa continue to hit the ball well for Houston, but George Springer (1-for-11) and Josh Reddick (0-for-10) have suddenly gone into a cold spell.

Reddick had the game-winning hit in the series-clinching Game 4 against the Red Sox, but he looks lost at the plate. Springer was perhaps the team's second-best player during the season behind Altuve, but he is no longer making hard contact at this point. 

Reddick said the team can't worry about one loss and has to concentrate on Tuesday's assignment. 

"We need to put this game behind us," Reddick said, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. "We got our butts whipped tonight. That's the only way to put it. We didn’t come out and do our jobs. But it could be worse. We could be down 1-2. At least we've got a little bit of a lead now."

Springer believes the Astros don't have to do anything different as the series progresses because some of the offensive production problems are due to bad hitting luck. 

"The scoreboard doesn't always show how hard you hit the ball," Springer said. "I thought we hit some balls hard tonight that didn't fall. We're not going to change our approach just because we fly out to the track. We have a plan and an approach, and we stick to it."

Confidence is fairly high among the Yankees, and manager Joe Girardi pointed out that the team knows how to play its best baseball at Yankee Stadium.

"We're somewhat built for this ballpark, number one," Girardi said, per Stats TSX. "No. 2, you're familiar with it. You're familiar with everything that you do on a daily basis. You have your routine and you're able to be in your routine."

Game 5 of the series is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. If the Yankees can extend the series, Game 6 is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday at Minute Maid Park, and Game 7 will be played at 8 p.m. Saturday in Houston.

     

Prediction

The Yankees surprised a lot of observers with the success they had in the regular season, then shocked the baseball world by coming back from an 0-2 deficit to take down the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.

The Indians were largely considered to be the best team in baseball, and that victory has given the Yankees confidence they can compete with the Astros.

Look for the Yankees to have the advantage as they take the field Tuesday. They play well at home, and if Gray can make a couple of adjustments, he will be able to get the job done.

The Yankees should add a couple of more home runs against McCullers, and they will square the series with a convincing win in Game 4.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

ALCS Schedule 2017: Game Time, TV Coverage and Odds for Astros vs. Yankees

After two tough defeats in Houston, you might expect there to be some discomfort in the New York Yankees locker room. You would be wrong.

The Yankees found themselves in an 0-2 position against the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series and came back to win three straight games against a team that was thought by many to be the best in baseball.

They know what they have to do, and New York has confidence it can do it. The Yankees dropped back-to-back 2-1 games to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park, but they believe the hitting can get back on track at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night at 8:08 p.m. ET. FS1 will televise the game.

"Offensively, I'd like to think we can only get better, especially going back to Yankee Stadium, where we play really well," left fielder Brett Gardner said, per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.

"I know our heads will be held up high," third baseman Todd Frazier said, per Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. "It's another tough game, losing Game 2. But we have more opportunities now. We're excited to be playing at home. I know our fans are going to be ready to go and be loud. It's going to be a different story at our place."

The Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound against Charlie Morton of the Astros. Sabathia was a 14-5 during the regular season with a 3.69 ERA in 148.2 innings of work. Morton was 14-7 this season with a 3.62 earned-run average, and he had a better than 3-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The Yankees are minus-124 favorites (wager $124 to win $100) to win Game 3, according to OddsShark. The Astros are plus-114 underdogs (wager $100 to win $114) to take a 3-0 series lead.

New York will depend on its power bats to get back in the series. The two main sources are Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, but those two will have plenty of support back in the Bronx.

Judge hit a rookie-record 52 home runs during the regular season, but the postseason has been a painful struggle. The 25-year-old is hitting .129 with one home run and four RBI, and he has struck out 19 times in 37 plate appearances. Sanchez hammered 33 regular-season home runs, but he is also having a difficult time in the playoffs. He is hitting .176 with two homers and three RBI, and he has fanned 15 times. 

Didi Gregorius is hitting .214, but he has belted three home runs and driven in six runs, while Greg Bird is hitting .250 with three home runs and six RBI.

The Astros are having no problems with their hitting or scoring runs. It starts with Jose Altuve, who has 13 hits in the playoffs and is hitting .565. Three of those hits have been home runs, and he has driven in four runs while scoring seven.

Yuli Gurriel is also punishing opposing pitchers with a .500 average, and other hot hitters for the Astros include Evan Gattis (.400), Carlos Correa (.292, with three HR and nine RBI) and George Springer (.292, with one HR and four runs scored).

If the Yankees are going to get back in the series, Sabathia has to find a way to keep Houston's hot hitters in check.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

NLCS Schedule 2017: Start Time, Odds, World Series Predictions Before Game 2

Jon Lester is going to try to get the Chicago Cubs even in the National League Championship Series on Sunday. It may not be an easy task because the defending World Series champions are playing a powerful and motivated team in the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers earned a 5-2 Game 1 victory after the Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Chicago offense dried up completely after Albert Almora's two-run home run in the fourth inning. The Cubs were held to four hits in the game by six Dodgers pitchers.

Clayton Kershaw pitched the first five innings and gave up the home run to Almora, and the Los Angeles bullpen was perfect. The relievers held the Cubs without a hit and didn't allow a walk. Kenta Maeda pitched one inning and earned the victory, while Kenley Jansen pitched the last 1.1 innings and recorded the save.

Lester is hoping to contain a Los Angeles lineup that had eight hits and two home runs against Cubs pitching. Rich Hill will take the mound for the Dodgers, and he will attempt to keep Chicago in check.

Lester pitched 9.2 innings in two appearances during the NLDS against the Washington Nationals. He gave up three hits and had a 1.86 earned-run average. Lester was 13-8 during the regular season, with his 4.33 ERA indicating he was not in top form through most of the campaign.

Hill pitched 4.0 innings during the Dodgers' three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks and gave up three hits and had a 4.50 ERA. Hill was 12-8 with a 3.32 ERA during the regular season.

The Cubs' big hitters have not been on their game in the postseason. Kris Bryant is hitting .208 with just five hits and two RBI in his six postseason games. He has struck out 11 times in 25 plate appearances. Anthony Rizzo is hitting .174 with four hits and six RBI, and he has fanned seven times in 25 plate appearances.

Second baseman Javier Baez has yet to get a hit in 17 at bats, while catcher Willson Contreras is hitting .222 with one home run and one RBI. Addison Russell (.190), Kyle Schwarber (.125) and Ben Zobrist (.222) are also struggling at the plate.

The Dodgers are doing a much better job at the plate. Justin Turner is hitting .412 with a home run and six RBI and Yasiel Puig is hitting .467 with one long ball and six RBI. The Dodgers are hitting .293 as a team with five home runs and 23 RBI.

Hill is looking forward to the challenge of facing the Cubs, saying, per Stats TSX (h/t CBSSports.com):

"It's great. Anytime you get the opportunity to play and compete against the best, I think it's something that everybody who is a competitor wants to do. You want to challenge yourself against the best, and they're the defending champions, and that's the club that we wanted to play and the team that we want to beat to get to the next step, which is the World Series."

Lester says he wants to keep the Dodgers from working long at bats. "I think it's just like anything this time of year, you have to try to hold back momentum as best you can," Lester said, per the same source. "You can't let those guys string hits together, long at-bats, foul balls, stuff like that." 

The Cubs and Dodgers will meet at Dodger Stadium at 7:38 p.m. ET, and Game 2 will be televised by TBS. The Dodgers opened as minus-145 favorites (wager $145 to win $100), according to OddsShark, while the Cubs are plus-125 underdogs (wager $100 to win $125)

The Dodgers are plus-169 (wager $100 to win $169) to win the World Series, while the Cubs are plus-415 (wager $100 to win $415).

                 

Prediction

The Cubs have proved they can handle adversity in the postseason many times, and their comeback victory in Game 5 against the Nationals was the latest example. They were down 4-1 in that game when the Nationals went to ace Max Scherzer, but the Cubs rallied for the victory.

A 1-0 deficit to the Dodgers will not cause them to cry or shake in their boots.

However, the Cubs are struggling badly at the plate. Almora is the only player who is hitting well, with a .333 batting average, one home run, three RBI and a 1.067 OPS. Stars like Bryant and Russell are struggling.

It is not likely to turn around on the road against Hill. The Cubs will likely scratch out a run or two, but the Dodgers should be good for at least as much against Lester, and then they will work over the Cubs' soft bullpen.

The Dodgers take Game 2 and go to Chicago with a 2-0 lead in the series, which is scheduled for Tuesday at 9 p.m.

At that point, Los Angeles will be dictating the series. The Cubs may earn a victory or two, but the Dodgers will win the series in no more than six games.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

ALCS Schedule 2017: Start Time, Odds, World Series Predictions Before Game 2

The New York Yankees couldn't figure out Houston Astros starter Dallas Keuchel in Game 1 of the series and dropped a 2-1 decision.

If they have the same problem against Justin Verlander Saturday afternoon in Houston, the Yankees will face a 2-0 deficit and have big problems.

The only New York run in Game 1 came on a home run by Greg Bird, with two outs in the ninth inning off of Ken Giles, but the Astros closer shook off that tape-measure shot by striking out Jacoby Ellsbury for the last out of the game.

The Yankees should feel confident about their chances with ace Luis Severino on the mound. Severino was nasty and consistent throughout the season with a 14-6 record and a 2.98 earned-run average, while Verlander was 15-8 with a 3.36 ERA.

New York manager Joe Girardi saw Severino get off to a rough start in the Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Twins when he was able to record just one out in the first inning, but the right-hander bounced back with a seven-inning, four-hit effort with three earned runs in Game 4 against the Cleveland Indians.

Severino's performance this season and his strong showing against the Indians has given Girardi confidence in the pitcher. 

"[Severino] spent a whole year trying to bounce back [from] last year and he figured it out," Girardi said, per Dan Martin of the New York Post. "And it really turned about the last week in spring training for [Severino] and I think that experience probably helped him."

The Astros are minus-130 favorites in Game 2, while the Yankees are plus-120 underdogs, according to OddsShark. First pitch is scheduled for 4:08 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised by FS1.

Severino is going to have to contend with the strong Houston lineup that includes MVP candidate Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and a slew of other great bats.

Altuve is hitting .579 in the postseason with three home runs, four RBI and six runs scored. Correa doesn't have the same type of batting average at .238, but he has hit two home runs and driven in a team-high seven runs. Springer is hitting .350 with a home run, two RBI and four runs scored.

The Yankees will try to attack the power pitch of Verlander with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner and Bird.

Judge has been struggling with his batting average at .148 and 17 striekouts in 23 plate appearances, but he appeared to have better at bats in Game 1 against the Astros. Sanchez is also struggling with a .200 batting average, but he does have two postseason home runs. 

Gregorius has three home runs and six RBI in the postseason, but his .208 average indicates that his consistency is an issue. Gardner is hitting .321 with a home run, three RBI and five runs scored. Bird is hitting .280 with three home runs and five RBI.

Prediction

Verlander is a formidable pitcher who has been razor sharp since the Astros acquired him from the Detroit Tigers at the end of August.

The 34-year-old power pitcher was 5-0 during the regular season with a 1.06 ERA in a Houston uniform, and he added two more victories in division series against the Red Sox. 

The Yankees don't want to go down 2-0 against the Astros, even though they were able to overcome that deficit in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians.

Severino is capable of pitching a solid game against the Astros, but shutting down this powerful team may be too much to ask. The Yankees are going to have to figure out a way to score some runs against Verlander.

Look for Gardner, Gregorius and Bird to lead, and the Yankees will find a way to square the series before heading back to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Playoffs 2017: Latest World Series Bracket, Predictions and Odds

The National League Championship Series will not be decided by what happens in Game 1, but if the Chicago Cubs can find a way to do what most postseason opponents have done to Clayton Kershaw, they should feel good about their chances.

Even if they can't solve Kershaw (5-7, 4.63 earned run average in the postseason) in Game 1, it's not likely to have a big impact in the Chicago locker room. The Cubs are a resilient team that excels at coming from behind and keeping their heads up even when they are struggling in a given moment.

The Cubs were down 3-1 in last year's World Series against the Cleveland Indians and won the last three to earn their first World Series title in 108 years. They trailed Game 5 against the Washington Nationals 4-1 Thursday night and came back to win thanks to a rally off of Washington ace Max Scherzer and then used a seven-out save from closer Wade Davis to clinch the series.

The Cubs are not likely to feel pressure in this series, but that's not the case with the Dodgers. They have not made it to the World Series since 1988, and it seems like this should be their year.

Manager Dave Roberts saw his team play sensational baseball through the early part of August, but the bottom dropped out in late August and early September when they lost 16 of 17 games.

However, when it looked like the team would fall apart, Los Angeles regained its stride and swept the Arizona Diamondbacks out of the playoffs.

The Cubs used much of their pitching staff while surviving the fifth game against the Nationals, and that could be the case for Game 1. Manager Joe Maddon was still considering John Lackey and Jose Quintana for the start late Friday, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Quintana threw 12 pitches in the Game 5 win at Washington, but Maddon does not believe that will be a big problem for the left-handed pitcher.

The New York Yankees will try to even their series when they face the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.

The Yankees dropped Game 1 by a 2-1 margin, as Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel was sharp through the first seven innings and the Houston bullpen closed out the game.

While the Yankees have series-altering power with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird (homered with two outs in the ninth inning in Game 1) and Didi Gregorius, the Astros are the best offensive team in baseball. They are led by Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer, and they can hit with power and manufacture runs.

The Dodgers are -185 favorites (bet $185 to win $100) over the Cubs, who are +160 underdogs (bet $100 to win $160), according to OddsShark. The Astros are -165 favorites over the -145 underdog Yankees.

        

Predictions

The Cubs have clutch players in Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and Willson Contreras, and they are not going to be intimidated. However, the Dodgers have regained their stride at the right moment, and they should be on top of their game.

Since the Dodgers are sharp and the Cubs won't be intimidated, this appears to be a seven-game series. It may come down to the team that can execute the best in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

While there is full respect for Davis, the belief here is that Kenley Jansen is the best closer in the game. The Dodgers may scratch out a late run or two, and Jansen will make that late offense pay off as he closes out the seventh game and punches the Dodgers' ticket to the World Series.

The Yankees should not be underestimated under any circumstances. They found a way to beat the red-hot Cleveland Indians after trailing 2-0, and a tight loss in Game 1 will not deter them.

However, the Yankee pitching staff will face its biggest test against Altuve, Correa, Springer and a slew of other fine hitters.

Houston will beat the Yankees in six games and go onto their first World Series as an American League representative. (They represented the National League in 2005 and lost four straight games to the Chicago White Sox.)

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

NLCS Schedule 2017: Coverage Info, Odds Guide and Series Predictions

The Chicago Cubs will barely have time to catch their breath, fly to Los Angeles and prepare for the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers after winning a heart-stopping division series against the Washington Nationals.

The Cubs emerged with a 9-8 victory in Game 5, and the win required the Cubs to rally against Washington ace Max Scherzer in the fifth inning and then get a seven-out save from closer Wade Davis.

"I've always known he's got a lot of mettle in his soul," said Ben Zobrist about Davis, per StatsAP. ''The guy just shows up. He's got ice in his veins.''

It was a thrilling victory, one as joyful for the Cubs as it was painful for the Nationals. But the next task is already at hand for the defending World Series champions as they square off in a best-of-7 series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Los Angeles was a dominant team through the first three-quarters of the season. As the Dodgers moved through August, it appeared they were on track to win 110 games or more. However, they hit a significant roadblock in the latter stages of the month. The Dodgers lost 16 of 17 games at one stretch and came limping into the postseason.

They appeared quite vulnerable as they entered the division series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They had been swept in back-to-back series by Arizona during their end-of-season slump, but the Dodgers quickly put that behind them and swept the Diamondbacks out of the playoffs.

The first game of the series between the Dodgers and Cubs will get underway Saturday in Los Angeles. Here's a look at the series schedule:

   

National League Championship Series

Game 1: Chicago at Los Angeles, 8 p.m., TBS, Oct. 14

Game 2: Chicago at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m., TBS, Oct. 15

Game 3: Los Angeles at Chicago, TBD. TBS, Oct. 17

Game 4: Los Angeles at Chicago, TBD, TBS, Oct. 18

Game 5: Los Angeles at Chicago, TBD, TBS, Oct. 19 (if necessary)

Game 6: Chicago at Los Angeles, TBD, TBS, Oct. 21 (if necessary)

Game 7: Chicago at Los Angeles, TBD, TBS, Oct. 22 (if necessary)

Justin Turner hit .462 for the Dodgers in the Arizona series with one home run and five RBI, while Yasiel Puig hit .455 with four RBI.

The Dodgers will have ace Clayton Kershaw ready and prepared to take the mound in Game 1, and that's an enigmatic situation. Kershaw is clearly one of the top three pitchers in Major League Baseball, and an excellent case can be made that he is No. 1 over the likes of Washington's Scherzer and Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox. However, his playoff record is not up to that level.

Kershaw has a 5-7 career postseason record with a 4.67 earned-run average. He earned a victory in Game 1 against the Diamondbacks, but he gave up four home runs in 6.1 innings and his 5.68 ERA in that series demonstrates he is not over his postseason issues.

The Cubs hit .180 as a team in their series against the Nationals, but Anthony Rizzo drove in six runs, while Addison Russell added four RBI. Kris Bryant hopes to turn things around after hitting .200 against the Nationals and striking out 10 times in 20 at-bats.

The Dodgers lost to the Cubs in six games in last year's NLCS, but manager Dave Roberts says this year's team has gained increased confidence.

"Our guys this year, as they were last year, are focused," Roberts said, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "It does help when you're the winningest team from this year and we've showed how good we can be when we play our brand of baseball. We're a confident group, and understand we still have a lot of work to do."

The Dodgers are minus-185 favorites to win the NLCS and advance to the World Series, while the Cubs are plus-160 underdogs according to OddsShark.

   

Prediction

The Dodgers appear to have gotten over their brutal late-season tailspin, and the team appears ready for the challenge of the Cubs.

The Dodgers are rested, talented and motivated, while the Cubs have proved their resiliency throughout the last three playoff seasons. They have shown they will fight hard and figure things out even if they are not playing their best baseball.

This series has the look of a seven-game classic, and the Dodgers are not going to let this one get away. They have not played in the World Series since 1988, but this is their time.

Closer Kenley Jansen is basically unhittable, and he will finish off the defending champions in the ninth inning of Game 7. 

This will be another excruciating series, and the Dodgers will earn the victory.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

NLCS Schedule 2017: Dodgers vs. Cubs Schedule, Ticket Info and Predictions

An early 4-1 deficit in Game 5 against the Washington Nationals proved to be little more than an annoyance, and now the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs are moving onto the National League Championship Series.

The Cubs will face the Dodgers, thanks in large part to a two-out, four-run rally at the top of the fifth inning off of Max Scherzer. The Washington ace had come into the game out of the bullpen and got two quick outs before the roof caved in on him and the Nationals.

The Cubs won the game 9-8, and they took the series 3-2. Closer Wade Davis came on in the seventh inning to record a seven-out save. He got a huge assist from catcher Willson Contreras, who picked off Jose Lobaton to end the eighth inning. 

The Cubs and Dodgers will get underway at Dodgers Stadium Saturday at 8 p.m ET. Here's how the series will play out:

Game 1: Chicago at Los Angeles, 8 p.m., TBS, Oct. 14

Game 2: Chicago at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m., TBS, Oct. 15

Game 3: Los Angeles at Chicago, TBD. TBS, Oct. 17

Game 4: Los Angeles at Chicago, TBD, TBS, Oct. 18

Game 5: Los Angeles at Chicago, TBD, TBS, Oct. 19 (if necessary)

Game 6: Chicago at Los Angeles, TBD, TBS, Oct. 21 (if necessary)

Game 7: Chicago at Los Angeles, TBD, TBS, Oct. 22 (if necessary)

Tickets for the series can be purchased through StubHub.

               

The Cubs have been proving their talent and resiliency through the last three seasons. They made it to the NLCS in 2015 where they were swept by the New York Mets. They won the World Series last year against the Cleveland Indians after trailing by a 3-1 margin, and they finished off the Nats in five excruciating games in the NLDS this year.

They have a solid core of proven stars in Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Contreras, Javier Baez and Addison Russell. The starting pitchers are led by Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks, but veteran John Lackey could get the start in Game 1 since he did not pitch in the NLDS against Washington. 

The Dodgers have a rested Clayton Kershaw to start Game 1, and he is regularly considered the top pitcher in either league. However, his postseason record (5-7, 4.63 earned-run average) is nowhere near as good as his regular-season record.

For three-quarters of the season the Dodgers were the best team in baseball, but they went through a brutal late-season slump that saw them lose 16-of-17 games. They have emerged from that funk and swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS.

Justin Turner hit .462 with a home run and five RBI, while Yasiel Puig hit .455 with four RBI against the Diamondbacks.

                  

Prediction

This series has all the makings of a classic seven-game battle. The Cubs are the never-say-die defending champions, while the Dodgers are talented, hungry and well-rested.

As tough as the Cubs are, they don't seem to be the team of destiny they were a year ago. The starting pitching is not as effective as it was in 2016, and the Dodgers had their bats going in the NLDS. They should be able to scratch out some clutch runs against the Cubs.

Chicago will have its moments in the series as Rizzo is a tough hitter, Bryant is capable of breaking open any game and Baez is capable of making plays in the field that no other second baseman can attempt.

It comes down to a seventh game. We see the Dodgers winning a tight, well-played seventh game with top closer Kenley Jansen finishing with a flourish.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Playoffs 2017: Live-Stream Schedule, Bracket Predictions for NLDS Finale

Stephen Strasburg came up with a gem when the Washington Nationals needed it most, and Michael A. Taylor made it count when he delivered an eighth-inning grand slam in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.

The Nationals pulled out a 5-0 victory and tied the series at 2-2. 

Washington and the Chicago Cubs will meet in a decisive Game 5 at Nationals Park Thursday at 8:08 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast by TBS and live streamed at MLB.TV.

While the Nats had the advantage once Strasburg overcame an illness and decided to pitch in Game 4, the Cubs would seem to be in a better position for Game 5 as Kyle Hendricks will take the mound.

Dusty Baker had not made an official announcement on Washington's starter, but it seemed likely that Gio Gonzalez would get the start and Tanner Roark would likely follow him on to the mound. Staff ace Max Scherzer should also be available for an inning or two if Baker decides he is needed for this game.

Hendricks earned the victory in Game 1 of the series when he gave up just two hits while striking out six over seven innings in Chicago's 3-0 victory. Hendricks has a 1.93 earned-run average against Washington this season.

Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. did not hold back when it came to his outlook on Game 5. 

"I mean, it's going to be a great game tomorrow. I know for a fact that he's going to be on," Edwards said about Hendricks, per Scott Allen of the Washington Post. "We're just going to go out there, we'll have fun, and we'll see you guys in L.A."

The winner of the NLDS will meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

Pitching has been the story of this series, with the hitters providing late-inning heroics. The Nats won Game 2 after eighth-inning home runs by Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, while the Cubs took Game 3 at Wrigley Field on an eighth-inning bloop single by Anthony Rizzo.

Washington had a 1-0 lead in Game 4 until Taylor's decisive blow off Cubs closer Wade Davis. Taylor was more reserved in his comments about Game 5 than Edwards was in the Chicago locker room.

"As a team, we feel good," Taylor said, per StatsTSX. "We talked about it a little before the game about taking it one game at a time, and obviously, today was a necessary step to take it back to D.C. ... We're going back, and we'd just like to have another quality game."

Both of these teams have powerful offenses that could explode in Game 5, but the likelihood is the winning team may scratch out one or two more runs than the losers. A slugfest is not likely based on what happened through the first four games.

     

Prediction

The Nationals have suffered when it comes to postseason play, and they have lost three previous NLDS series, and two of them went the five-game limit.

The franchise has won just one playoff series in its history, and that came in 1981 when they were the Montreal Expos and they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Division Series (strike-altered season and playoff format). They subsequently lost the NLCS to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

While the Game 4 win in Chicago was memorable and heroic because of the performances of Strasburg and Taylor, the Nats will almost certainly have to play even better in Game 5 if they are going to advance.

Hendricks is a smart, cool customer for the Cubs, and he knows how to pitch in big games. He started Game 7 in last year's World Series against Cleveland, and he appears to have excellent command. 

The Cubs have the experience of winning big games and they have the better pitching situation. Look for the Cubs to outlast the Nats and advance to the NLCS.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Playoffs 2017: Live Stream Schedule, Bracket Predictions for ALDS Finale

Do the New York Yankees have the audacity to knock out the mighty Cleveland Indians?

The New Yorkers played two impressive games at Yankee Stadium and tied their series with the Tribe, but if the Yankees are going to continue their run, they are going to have to figure out a way to win at Progressive Field and take three games in a row from the American League Central champions.

Based on Cleveland's sensational form in the latter part of the regular season that included a 22-game winning streak, it does not seem likely. However, when the two teams take the field at 8:08 p.m. ET in a game that will be televised by FS1, the pressure on the Indians will be palpable.

Cleveland went all the way to the 10th inning of the seventh game of last year's World Series before falling to the Chicago Cubs, and it looked like that defeat was motivating the team through its end-of-season surge.

Now the Indians are fighting for their lives, and the Yankees are playing for franchise glory and a spot in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

The Yankees are sending veteran lefthander CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 earned-run average) to the mound against Cleveland ace Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.25 ERA), a strong candidate to win the Cy Young award.

Sabathia will make the 21st postseason start of his career, and he looked good in Game 2 when he kept the Indians to two earned runs in 5.1 innings of work in Game 2. Kluber gave up six earned runs in 2.2 innings of that same game, and that was the right-hander's worst performance of the year.

"It's a hell of a lot of fun to be in it than to be sitting on the side. I am just glad I get the opportunity to participate and not watch," Sabathia said, per George A. King III of the New York Post. "Because watching these games will give you an ulcer. Pitching in them is a lot more fun."

Kluber explained that he didn't have his best stuff in Game 2: "I didn't pitch well. I didn't have good command, didn't throw the ball where I wanted to. We all would have liked to have won the third game in New York and not be here in Game 5, [but] this is what everybody plays for."

The Yankees have demonstrated their ability to hit the long ball, as they have hit eight home runs in the series. Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird each have two, and rookie slugger Aaron Judge has one.

The Indians have hit five home runs to this point in the series, as Jay Bruce has two of the long balls, but none of his teammates have more than one.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi says there is respect for Kluber, but the Yankees have confidence that they can survive and advance.

"We know we're facing a great pitcher," Girardi said, per Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. "But there's a lot of confidence in that room, and they pick each other up, and they grind out at-bats, and pitchers pick each other up and make big pitches."

The Yankees-Indians Game 5 can be live-streamed at MLB.TV.

 

      

Prediction

The mental and psychological game will be fought up until Kluber goes to the mound for the fifth and decisive game in the ALDS.

The Yankees have their proud history and momentum, while the Indians have perhaps the most talented team in baseball, their close-but-no-cigar finish last year and a brilliant starting pitcher.

The Tribe also has a history of falling short, as their last World Series championship came in 1948.

They have to win this game and two more series to end that dry spell.

The pressure on the Indians is thick and nasty. But the presence of Kluber, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and a powerful bullpen should overpower the substantial challenge from the Yankees.

While New York's power has been impressive, this is Cleveland's year. The Yankees will have to do what the other guys have had to do for so longwait until next year.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Playoffs 2017: Odds, TV Schedule, Predictions for Tuesday’s NLDS

The Chicago Cubs are one game away from advancing the National League Championship Series following their scintillating 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field in Game 3 Monday afternoon.

The defending World Series champions will send Jake Arrieta to the mound in Game 4 Tuesday, while the Nationals will counter with Tanner Roark in an attempt to keep their hopes alive.

The Nationals want to bring the series back to Washington for a decisive fifth game. The Nationals have never won a postseason series, and the franchise hasn't had any playoff success since they were the Montreal Expos.

That team won a National League Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies in 1981. The Expos were subsequently eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Roark was 13-11 with a 4.67 earned-run average this season, but he was a much more effective pitcher in the second half of the year. He had a 3.90 ERA after the All-Star break, and he appeared to have better command and more confidence in his pitches.

Arrieta was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA, but he was pushed back in the rotation because of a right hamstring injury. The Nationals tagged him for a loss June 27 when he gave up five earned runs along with six hits and six walks in one of his most ineffective starts of the season.

The game is scheduled to begin at 5:38 p.m. and will be televised by TBS. The Cubs are minus-148 favorites to close the series out in Game 4 according to OddsShark, while the Nationals are plus-138 underdogs to force a decisive Game 5 Thursday at Nationals Park.

The Cubs were trailing the Nationals 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 3, and they had been unable to get a single hit off Washington ace Max Scherzer. However, when Ben Zobrist broke up the no-hitter with a double after one out in the seventh inning, Washington manager Dusty Baker pulled Scherzer in favor of reliever Sammy Solis.

Pinch-hitter Albert Almora followed with a single that drove in Zobrist with the tying run.

Anthony Rizzo drove home pinch-runner Leonys Martin with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a two-out bloop single to center field.

Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman told Carrie Muskat and Jamal Collier of MLB.com that the 2-1 deficit is not a big issue for the Nationals.

"We've won two games in a row before. It's not a record," Zimmerman said. "It's not an ideal situation to be in; obviously, I'd rather be up 2-1. It's playoff baseball. We'll come back out tomorrow, play a game, hopefully come out on top and go home and have an exciting Game 5."

             

Prediction

The Nationals have had a sensational season, but they are once again in a win-or-go-home situation. The pitching matchup between Roark and Arrieta would seem to favor the Cubs if the Chicago pitcher is healthy.

However, it's not always easy to come back from hamstring difficulties, and Arrieta may not be at full strength.

The combination of the injury and a desperate Washington team should help the visitors. Look for the Nationals to find a way to defeat the defending World Series champions and force a fifth game.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Playoffs 2017: Odds, TV Schedule, Predictions for Monday’s AL, NLDS Matchups

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were in lock step Sunday. These two long-time rivals were both down and out as out as they prepared to face the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians, respectively.

Both had suffered a pair of painful losses on the road, and sweeps seemed likely in both cases. But the Sox and the Bronx Bombers both had pride and a heartbeat. Those factors can take strong challengers a long way.

Both teams survived their Sunday encounters, and they remain alive in the American League Division Series.

The Red Sox were hoping that Doug Fister would give them a solid pitching effort, but the Astros smoked him for three runs in the first inning. Since the Red Sox had scored two runs in each of the first two games, that could have been enough to give the Astros another win and a 3-0 series sweep.

However, the Red Sox saw their bats come alive, and they also received four scintillating innings of relief pitching from David Price. Boston came away with a 10-3 victory.

The Yankees sent Masahiro Tanaka to the mound Sunday night against Cleveland pitcher Carlos Carrasco. The game was scoreless into the seventh inning when Greg Bird launched a home run to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. They held on to that advantage as fireballer Aroldis Chapman recorded a five-out save. The Yankees registered their first win of the series.

The Sox and Yankees both trail 2-1 in their best-of-5 series, and both will play Monday in an effort to square their respective series

The Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound against Charlie Morton at 1:08 p.m. in a game that will be televised by FS1.

Porcello was the Cy Young Award winner in 2016, but he struggled all season in 2017, and he was 11-16 with a 4.70 earned-run average. Porcello's success last year was based on his ability to keep the ball down and get ground ball outs. He has not been able to do that this year, as he has given up 38 home runs.

Morton was dependable for the Astros with a 14-7 record and a 3.62 ERA. Morton gave up 14 home runs this season, but he had better than a 3-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Astros are minus-114 favorites and the Red Sox are plus-104 underdogs, according to OddsShark.

The Yankees will host the Indians at 7:08 p.m., and that game will also be televised by FS1. Yankee ace Luis Severino will take the mound for the home team, and he was 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA. Josh Tomlin will take the mound for the Tribe, and he was 10-9 with a 4.98 ERA.

The matchup should favor the Yankees because Serverino was so effective this year, but he got hit hard in the first inning by the Minnesota Twins in the wild-card game last week. A top pitcher like Severino should be able to shake off a poor outing. The Yankees are minus-161 favorites, while the Indians are plus-151 underdogs.

The Chicago Cubs are hosting the Washington Nationals in their NLDS series Monday afternoon at 4:08 p.m. That game will be televised by TBS.

Manager Joe Maddon will send Jose Quintana to the mound for his first postseason assignment, and he will oppose Washington fireballer Max Scherzer.

Quintana was 11-11 with a 4.15 ERA, while Scherzer was a masterful 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA. This is clearly the biggest assignment of Quintana's career, as he was with the Chicago White Sox before being acquired this season in a trade. The White Sox never made the postseason during Quintana's run on the South Side.

Scherzer had a hamstring issue in his last start of the regular season, and while the Nationals believe he should be fine for this start, he will have to prove himself by getting deep into the game.

The series is ted at 1-1, and the Nationals are minus-120 favorites, while the Cubs are plus-110 underdogs in Game 3.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a chance to end their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks after recording a pair of victories at Dodger Stadium. The series shifts to Chase Field in the desert, and the home team will try to earn its first win in the series.

First pitch is scheduled for 10:08 p.m., and the game will be broadcast by TBS.

Yu Darvish will take the mound for the Dodgers, and he was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA, and he will be opposed by Arizona ace Zack Greinke, who was 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA.

Greinke pitched for the Diamondbacks win their wild-card win over the Colorado Rockies, but he was hit hard in giving up five hits and four runs in the fourth inning of that game.

The Dodgers are minus-115 favorites to close out the series, while the Diamondbacks are plus-105 underdogs to stay alive and force a fourth game.

       

Predictions

The Red Sox have some momentum after scoring 10 runs at home against the Astros, but Porcello has struggled all season. It doesn't seem likely that he will regain his form against the hot-hitting visitors. Look for Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa to take charge and lash the ball all over Fenway.

The Astros will take Game 4 and advance to the American League Championship Series.

Severino will likely pitch much better than he did against the Twins, but the Indians are just too good to be shut down two games in a row. Francisco Lindor may be the best clutch player in the game, and Jose Ramirez is right behind.

The Indians will find a way to close out the Yankees in New York.

The Nationals were able to rid themselves of quite a bit of pressure when they rallied for five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning of their Game 2 victory. They should go to Wrigley Field with clear minds, and if their ace can survive physically, the Nats should be able to put runs on the board against Quintana. Look for the visitors to earn a 2-1 lead in the series.

The Diamondbacks are too good to get swept in their series. While Darvish is capable of pitching well and fooling Arizona's hitters, he won't be able to do it for more than four innings. The Diamondbacks will figure him out and Greinke will get the job done for the Diamondbacks. 

Arizona wins and forces a fourth game.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Playoff Schedule 2017: Live Stream, Bracket Predictions for Sunday’s ALDS

After getting blitzed in the first two games of the American League Division Series on the road, the Boston Red Sox are hoping that a return to Fenway Park will help them get back into their American League Division Series against the Houston Astros.

The New York Yankees played more competitively against the Cleveland Indians than the Red Sox did against the Astros, but the Bronx Bombers are in the same 0-2 hole as their ancient rivals. The Yankees will try to stay alive by winning Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

The Astros are not likely to be intimidated by going to Boston. They defeated the Red Sox in three of four games at Fenway Park in the final weekend of the regular season. The Astros reeled off a pair of 8-2 victories in the first two games of the series, and Houston's offense was on fire.

Nobody was hotter than second baseman Jose Altuve, who bashed three home runs in the series opener, including two against Red Sox ace Chris Sale. Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and George Springer also have hit home runs for the Astros.

While Houston has been bombing away, the Red Sox offense has been somewhat inept. Mookie Betts has three hits, but Xander Bogaerts is hitless in nine at bats while Andrew Benintendi has just one hit in the series. The Red Sox have not hit a home run yet in the first two games against the Astros.

Doug Fister will take the mound for the Red Sox in Game 3, while Brad Peacock will have the starting assignment for the Astros. Fister has a career postseason record of 4-1 with a 1.78 earned-run average.

Peacock was 13-2 for the Astros this season with a 3.00 ERA. He has a 1-2 lifetime record against the Red Sox with a 9.00 ERA.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:38 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised by FS1.

The Yankees had a five-run lead in Game 2 at Cleveland, but the Indians came back when Francisco Lindor launched a grand slam in the sixth inning before Jay Bruce tied the game with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The Indians finished the job in the bottom of the 13th inning when Yan Gomes drove in Austin Jackson with a base hit down the left field line that gave Cleveland a 9-8 victory and a 2-0 lead in the series.

The Indians will send Carlos Carrasco to the mound and he will be opposed by Masahiro Tanaka. Carrasco had a strong season and was 18-6 with a 3.29 ERA this season.

Tanaka came into the year as the ace of the New York staff, but he was inconsistent. He finished the year with a 13-12 mark and a 4.74 ERA.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona is thrilled with the way his team has played and fought all season and through the first two games of the playoffs.

"It's hard to win," Francona said, per Stats TSX (h/t CBSSports). "That wouldn't take away from how I feel about our guys. Yesterday's game, win or lose, I mean, I was so -- I think I said this after the game. I was so honored to go through that game with our guys, because it was fun, through the ups and downs."

The game is scheduled for 7:38 p.m., and it will also be televised by FS1.

Both ALDS games can be live-streamed at MLB.TV.

     

Predictions

The Red Sox don't appear to have much going for them in this series except that they are returning to their beloved Fenway Park.

A year ago, they were in a similar position after losing the first two games in Cleveland and were promptly dispatched in Game 3.

The mismatch appears even bigger this time around because the Astros are hitting so well. However, the Red Sox have some pride and they have hit Peacock well in the past.

The Red Sox will find a way to survive and force a fourth game.

The Yankees should have won the second game, but they blew it, and now they are going with an inconsistent pitcher in Tanaka. 

That's not a good scenario against the relentless Indians. The Yankees will put up a good fight, but look for the Indians to find a way and end the series in three games.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com