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.

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Nationals Ask Permission to Interview Alex Cora for Vacant Manager Job

The Washington Nationals are reportedly set to seek permission to interview Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora for their vacant managerial position once the team's ALCS matchup with the New York Yankees reaches its conclusion Saturday night. 

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported the Nats, who offered Cora a player development job in the past, now want to speak to him about potentially replacing Dusty Baker.

Washington may be too late to land the coveted former MLB infielder, though.

On Thursday, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reported "industry sources" expect the Boston Red Sox to hire Cora to fill the void left by John Farrell's firing. It's a move that could happen following the ALCS with a potential press conference announcing his arrival before the World Series begins Tuesday night.

"Not a doubt it is him," a source told Drellich.

That said, the Nationals' job carries plenty of intrigue if Cora hasn't made a decision yet.

The Nats went 192-132 across Baker's two years in charge and won the NL East division crown both times. They failed to advance beyond the NLDS in either season, however, which led to the veteran manager's exit despite a .593 winning percentage.

While both organizations feature playoff-level rosters, Washington has the advantage of playing in the weak NL East, which it won by 20 games this season. Meanwhile, Boston has to navigate the tougher AL East, highlighted by the rival Yankees.

Cora told Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle he took more pride in his success with the Astros than being discussed as a top managerial option.

"I'm happy that people mention my name, but at the same time I'm happy that people say that I'm a good bench coach for the Houston Astros," he said. "I think that's very important for me because that's what my goal was coming here, just try to be the best at what I do.

"For people to mention me in other conversations it's great, but I like when they talk about the Houston Astros and how good they are and how I helped some of the players or the team to win ballgames. That's the one that I really love."

His success in Houston came while working in the background as a bench coach. The pressure level will rise dramatically if he accepts an offer to become manager in Boston or Washington.

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Nationals Ask Permission to Interview Alex Cora for Vacant Manager Job

The Washington Nationals are reportedly set to seek permission to interview Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora for their vacant managerial position once the team's ALCS matchup with the New York Yankees reaches its conclusion Saturday night. 

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported the Nats, who offered Cora a player development job in the past, now want to speak to him about potentially replacing Dusty Baker.

Washington may be too late to land the coveted former MLB infielder, though.

On Thursday, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reported "industry sources" expect the Boston Red Sox to hire Cora to fill the void left by John Farrell's firing. It's a move that could happen following the ALCS with a potential press conference announcing his arrival before the World Series begins Tuesday night.

"Not a doubt it is him," a source told Drellich.

That said, the Nationals' job carries plenty of intrigue if Cora hasn't made a decision yet.

The Nats went 192-132 across Baker's two years in charge and won the NL East division crown both times. They failed to advance beyond the NLDS in either season, however, which led to the veteran manager's exit despite a .593 winning percentage.

While both organizations feature playoff-level rosters, Washington has the advantage of playing in the weak NL East, which it won by 20 games this season. Meanwhile, Boston has to navigate the tougher AL East, highlighted by the rival Yankees.

Cora told Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle he took more pride in his success with the Astros than being discussed as a top managerial option.

"I'm happy that people mention my name, but at the same time I'm happy that people say that I'm a good bench coach for the Houston Astros," he said. "I think that's very important for me because that's what my goal was coming here, just try to be the best at what I do.

"For people to mention me in other conversations it's great, but I like when they talk about the Houston Astros and how good they are and how I helped some of the players or the team to win ballgames. That's the one that I really love."

His success in Houston came while working in the background as a bench coach. The pressure level will rise dramatically if he accepts an offer to become manager in Boston or Washington.

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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.

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World Series 2017: Schedule, Potential Matchups for Fall Classic

After a brilliant performance from starting pitcher Justin Verlander on Friday, the Houston Astros forced Game 7 in their American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who won 104 games during the regular season, will host the winner on Tuesday night to kick off the 2017 World Series.

Here's a look at the World Series schedule as it stands, as well as a look at how the Dodgers match up with New York and Houston.

            

Schedule

Game 1: AL Pennant Winner at Los Angeles

Game 2: AL Pennant Winner at Los Angeles

Game 3: Los Angeles at AL Pennant Winner

Game 4: Los Angeles at AL Pennant Winner

*Game 5: Los Angeles at AL Pennant Winner

*Game 6: AL Pennant Winner at Los Angeles

*Game 7: AL Pennant Winner at Los Angeles

Fox will televise each game, all of which will begin at 8 p.m. ET. An asterisk indicates that the game will be played if necessary.

       

Houston vs. Los Angeles

On paper, this could be a large mismatch in the Dodgers' favor.

L.A.'s starting rotation and bullpen are perhaps deeper than those of any other team in baseball. The Astros have two superstars in Dallas Keuchel and Verlander, but they would have the disadvantage of pitching on the road, assuming they go Games 1 and 2 again, and after them, the Houston pitching staff has been inconsistent.

It's not a coincidence that the New York Yankees scored eight runs in the four games started by Keuchel and Verlander and 14 in two games against other pitchers.

The Dodgers have four starting pitchers with nasty arsenals. They have two bona fide top-of-the-rotation aces in Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish, an All-Star in Alex Wood and a fourth pitcher, Rich Hill, who won 12 games and threw nine perfect innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in August.

In the bullpen, closer Kenley Jansen has shut the door 41 times this season and is a serious National League Cy Young candidate. Brandon Morrow has been lights-out, and other pitchers (e.g. Josh Fields) get the job done.

It's hard to keep the Houston Astro bats quiet forever, which the Yankees found out the hard way in a 7-1 defeat on Friday night.

Jose Altuve is one of the top two candidates for the American League MVP award, and he's complemented by All-Stars Carlos Correa and George Springer. It wouldn't be surprising to see any of them get hot in the World Series, even against the L.A. pitching staff.

That being said, the Dodgers simply have too big of an advantage when Keuchel or Verlander are off the mound. The good news for Houston is it could start four games combined in the series, so this could go deep, but look for L.A. to close this out at home.

Pick: Los Angeles in six.

        

New York vs. Los Angeles

This would be an interesting series, simply because the two clubs are mirror images of one another.

Both teams hit for a ton of power (the Yankees hit 241, while the Dodgers smacked 221). Both teams have one regular who can cause havoc on the basepaths (the Dodgers' Chris Taylor and the Yankees' Brett Gardner), but neither team's starting lineup is particularly fast or looks to steal a ton of bases. Both teams are big-market clubs with exciting rookies.

The pitching rotations are deep, and the bullpens are two of the best (if not the two best) in all of baseball. They can each call on some power bats off the bench to pinch-hit in key situations.

The Dodgers have a few clear edges, however.

First, they have home-field advantage. The Dodger Stadium crowd isn't known for providing a raucous atmosphere, but that could change when the World Series returns to L.A. for the first time in 29 years. Furthermore, the Dodgers get to play one fewer game in Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees have gone 57-30 (including the postseason).

Second, the Yankees have been sloppy defensively throughout the postseason. They committed three errors in Game 2 of the American League Division Series and also in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. In particular, slugging catcher Gary Sanchez sometimes has trouble blocking balls in the dirt, and he's dropped a few others during key plays at the plate. 

Overall, New York just isn't crisp defensively, and that could end up costing the Yankees a game.

Home-field advantage and defense would be the keys in this series, which has the potential to meet its limit.

For this one, the pick is for the Dodgers to take their first World Series in 29 years.

Pick: Los Angeles in seven.

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World Series 2017: Schedule, Potential Matchups for Fall Classic

After a brilliant performance from starting pitcher Justin Verlander on Friday, the Houston Astros forced Game 7 in their American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who won 104 games during the regular season, will host the winner on Tuesday night to kick off the 2017 World Series.

Here's a look at the World Series schedule as it stands, as well as a look at how the Dodgers match up with New York and Houston.

            

Schedule

Game 1: AL Pennant Winner at Los Angeles

Game 2: AL Pennant Winner at Los Angeles

Game 3: Los Angeles at AL Pennant Winner

Game 4: Los Angeles at AL Pennant Winner

*Game 5: Los Angeles at AL Pennant Winner

*Game 6: AL Pennant Winner at Los Angeles

*Game 7: AL Pennant Winner at Los Angeles

Fox will televise each game, all of which will begin at 8 p.m. ET. An asterisk indicates that the game will be played if necessary.

       

Houston vs. Los Angeles

On paper, this could be a large mismatch in the Dodgers' favor.

L.A.'s starting rotation and bullpen are perhaps deeper than those of any other team in baseball. The Astros have two superstars in Dallas Keuchel and Verlander, but they would have the disadvantage of pitching on the road, assuming they go Games 1 and 2 again, and after them, the Houston pitching staff has been inconsistent.

It's not a coincidence that the New York Yankees scored eight runs in the four games started by Keuchel and Verlander and 14 in two games against other pitchers.

The Dodgers have four starting pitchers with nasty arsenals. They have two bona fide top-of-the-rotation aces in Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish, an All-Star in Alex Wood and a fourth pitcher, Rich Hill, who won 12 games and threw nine perfect innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in August.

In the bullpen, closer Kenley Jansen has shut the door 41 times this season and is a serious National League Cy Young candidate. Brandon Morrow has been lights-out, and other pitchers (e.g. Josh Fields) get the job done.

It's hard to keep the Houston Astro bats quiet forever, which the Yankees found out the hard way in a 7-1 defeat on Friday night.

Jose Altuve is one of the top two candidates for the American League MVP award, and he's complemented by All-Stars Carlos Correa and George Springer. It wouldn't be surprising to see any of them get hot in the World Series, even against the L.A. pitching staff.

That being said, the Dodgers simply have too big of an advantage when Keuchel or Verlander are off the mound. The good news for Houston is it could start four games combined in the series, so this could go deep, but look for L.A. to close this out at home.

Pick: Los Angeles in six.

        

New York vs. Los Angeles

This would be an interesting series, simply because the two clubs are mirror images of one another.

Both teams hit for a ton of power (the Yankees hit 241, while the Dodgers smacked 221). Both teams have one regular who can cause havoc on the basepaths (the Dodgers' Chris Taylor and the Yankees' Brett Gardner), but neither team's starting lineup is particularly fast or looks to steal a ton of bases. Both teams are big-market clubs with exciting rookies.

The pitching rotations are deep, and the bullpens are two of the best (if not the two best) in all of baseball. They can each call on some power bats off the bench to pinch-hit in key situations.

The Dodgers have a few clear edges, however.

First, they have home-field advantage. The Dodger Stadium crowd isn't known for providing a raucous atmosphere, but that could change when the World Series returns to L.A. for the first time in 29 years. Furthermore, the Dodgers get to play one fewer game in Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees have gone 57-30 (including the postseason).

Second, the Yankees have been sloppy defensively throughout the postseason. They committed three errors in Game 2 of the American League Division Series and also in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. In particular, slugging catcher Gary Sanchez sometimes has trouble blocking balls in the dirt, and he's dropped a few others during key plays at the plate. 

Overall, New York just isn't crisp defensively, and that could end up costing the Yankees a game.

Home-field advantage and defense would be the keys in this series, which has the potential to meet its limit.

For this one, the pick is for the Dodgers to take their first World Series in 29 years.

Pick: Los Angeles in seven.

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Yankees vs. Astros: ALCS Game 7 TV Schedule, Ticket Info and Odds

The New York Yankees and Houston Astros will do battle in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday to decide who plays the Los Angeles Dodgers in this year's World Series.

The home team has held serve throughout the series, which will end in Houston's Minute Maid Park. Charlie Morton will get the nod for the Astros, while CC Sabathia gets the call for the Yankees.

Here's a look at the Game 7 schedule, alongside ticket information, odds and a quick pick.

         

Schedule

FS1 will televise the game live from Houston's Minute Maid Park, beginning at 8 p.m. ET, with play-by-play man Joe Buck and color commentator John Smoltz on the call. The pregame show will begin at 7 p.m. ET, also on FS1.

        

Ticket Information

Game 7 tickets are available through StubHub.

        

Odds

The Astros are -122 favorites (bet $122 to win $100), with the Yankees at +112 (bet $100 to win $112), according to OddsShark.

             

Preview

This pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 3, which the Yankees won 8-1 behind strong pitching from Sabathia and home runs from Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge.

Morton was knocked out early in that game, surrendering seven earned runs in 3.2 innings. It's odd, but Morton looked better than his stat line showed. He gave up Frazier's home run, which was a right-field poke that barely cleared the Yankee Stadium short porch. In most parks (maybe all of them), that hit is either an out or a double.

Otherwise, he induced soft contact and got a lot of swings and misses, but he was also on the wrong side of luck. It didn't help that Yankee Stadium channeled the old days and became the Bronx Zoo, as the fans were raucous all series.

Now Morton will be at home in front of his own rowdy fans at Minute Maid Park. Look for him to have a longer and better outing, but the fact of the matter is he doesn't match up particularly well with the Yankees bats.

Morton is a reverse-splits pitcher who does better against lefties (.561 OPS this season) than righties (.805). The Yankees have a ton of right-handed bats with pop, led by Judge and Gary Sanchez. But the New York righties can all go yard, and Frazier (and second baseman Starlin Castro) have each hit three dingers off Morton in their careers (including Frazier's playoff homer).

In the other dugout, Sabathia has been fantastic throughout the postseason save for a couple rocky innings in Cleveland. He's turned back the clock in the 2017 playoffs, striking out five in six shutout innings against Houston and punching out nine in 4.2 innings against the Indians in Game 5 of the American League Division Series. He does a good job disrupting a hitter's timing and is a master at inducing soft contact.

After the starters, the Yankees have the edge in the bullpen, although setup man David Robertson looked shaky in giving up four runs to the 'stros in the eighth inning during Game 6. That being said, the Yanks bullpen was third in ERA this season, while Houston's finished a below-average 17th out of 30 MLB clubs.

The difference here, though, is this is Game 7, and Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle noted how that may change Houston's pitching strategy:

Therefore, the Astros bullpen may not even get a chance. If Houston gets an early lead, we could see a bridge from Morton to starter Lance McCullers to starter Dallas Keuchel.

The key will be the early innings, and the guess here is the team that jumps out to a lead before the starters leave will end up keeping it.

An excellent series should finish with a classic game. In this one, it's a toss-up, but the pick here is the Yankees by a 5-4 score thanks to some key hits from Frazier.

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Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa Igniting Astros Offense Looms Large for ALCS Game 7

Just when they needed them to, the Houston Astros' stars aligned and saved their season.

Due to the seven shutout innings he hurled, Justin Verlander will get the lion's share of the credit for Houston's win over the New York Yankees on Friday at Minute Maid Park, which evened the American League Championship Series at three games apiece. George Springer will also get plenty of love for the stupendous catch he made in the seventh inning.

But the biggest story is right there in plain sight when looking at the 7-1 final of Game 6: The Astros offense is back just in time for Saturday's Game 7.

Those seven runs are only two fewer than they had scored through the first five games of the series. And a good chunk of them came from a likely source.

Jose Altuve, who's fresh off his third batting title and possibly on his way to his first AL MVP, provided a long-anticipated big hit with a two-run single in the fifth inning and a dagger with a solo home run in the eighth inning. 

Just like that, the All-Star second baseman upped his RBI count for the series from zero to three. He also collected his first hits since going 5-for-8 in Games 1 and 2.

Of course, Altuve didn't do it all by himself in Game 6.

Carlos Correa also had a pair of hits, one of which was a scorching 107.2 mile-per-hour double in the eighth inning. Brian McCann had two hits of his own. Alex Bregman only had one, but it was a clutch two-run double.

Short version: It was a team effort mainly headlined by the Astros' young, homegrown stars. Or, pretty much what everyone came to expect from their offense up until the ALCS.

Pick an offensive category, any offensive category, and chances are the Astros led Major League Baseball in it this season. To name just a few, they led in runs, hits, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.

If that's not enough to drive home the point that theirs was no ordinary offense, consider a stat called "Weighted Runs Created Plus." It captures total offensive value in relation to league average (100), and it puts the 2017 Astros behind only three Babe Ruth-era Yankees offenses as the greatest ever:

Rank Team wRC+
1 1927 Yankees 126
T2 1930 Yankees 124
T2 1931 Yankees 124
4 2017 Astros 121

The Astros looked the part of an all-time great offensive team in dispatching the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series, posting a .974 OPS and hitting eight homers. It seemed like a short jump from there to the franchise's second World Series appearance.

But then, the first five games of the ALCS played like the "All Good Things Must Come to an End" phrase of Houston's 2017 offense.

The Astros scored just two runs in each of the first two games and five total in three games at Yankee Stadium. In all, they went into Game 6 with a .447 OPS for the series.

"We've lost a little bit of our offensive adjustments and a little of our offensive mojo," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said, according to David Adler of MLB.com. "It's rare, because of how much offense we put up through the first six months of the season and even in the Division Series. We've swung the bats very well, and I believe we're one good game from coming out of it."

The easiest and, per the eye test, most valid explanation was that Houston's superior hitting had simply run into more superior pitching. Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray took turns baffling Astros hitters to start games. Then New York's star-studded bullpen finished them off.

But it was also evident that there was bad luck at play.

As Adler pointed out, the Astros had little to show for the balls they'd hit well through the first five games of the ALCS. That changed in Game 6. At least as measured by exit velocity, all seven of their hardest-hit balls found paydirt.

Houston's hitters also found an equilibrium between patience and aggression that they'd been sorely lacking at Yankee Stadium. A good example was when they chased Severino in the fifth inning, forcing him to throw 26 pitches as they worked him for three walks and two hits.

An added benefit of getting Severino out early was pushing Yankees skipper Joe Girardi to use some of his best relievers. Chad Green, David Robertson and Dellin Betances will be on zero days' rest for Game 7.

The Astros still face a tough assignment in a second go-round against Sabathia, whose contact management talents won the day in Game 3. And while Green's availability will be limited after he threw 38 pitches Friday, there won't be leashes on Robertson, Betances, Tommy Kahnle or Aroldis Chapman.

If it comes to it, the Astros don't have much hope of winning a low-scoring game. They're putting their faith in Charlie Morton, who got rocked in Game 3, and a bullpen that's been a leaky ship all postseason.

But after Game 6, it sure seems a lot less likely to come to that than it did before.

This Astros team is made to hit, and did indeed do more hitting through Games 1 and 5 than their results let on. Their outburst in Game 6 is less of a blip in the Yankees' dominance of the scoreboard and more a case of the Astros snapping out of an uncharacteristic funk.

One more game just like it, and a date with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series awaits.

 

Data courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant

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Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa Igniting Astros Offense Looms Large for ALCS Game 7

Just when they needed them to, the Houston Astros' stars aligned and saved their season.

Due to the seven shutout innings he hurled, Justin Verlander will get the lion's share of the credit for Houston's win over the New York Yankees on Friday at Minute Maid Park, which evened the American League Championship Series at three games apiece. George Springer will also get plenty of love for the stupendous catch he made in the seventh inning.

But the biggest story is right there in plain sight when looking at the 7-1 final of Game 6: The Astros offense is back just in time for Saturday's Game 7.

Those seven runs are only two fewer than they had scored through the first five games of the series. And a good chunk of them came from a likely source.

Jose Altuve, who's fresh off his third batting title and possibly on his way to his first AL MVP, provided a long-anticipated big hit with a two-run single in the fifth inning and a dagger with a solo home run in the eighth inning. 

Just like that, the All-Star second baseman upped his RBI count for the series from zero to three. He also collected his first hits since going 5-for-8 in Games 1 and 2.

Of course, Altuve didn't do it all by himself in Game 6.

Carlos Correa also had a pair of hits, one of which was a scorching 107.2 mile-per-hour double in the eighth inning. Brian McCann had two hits of his own. Alex Bregman only had one, but it was a clutch two-run double.

Short version: It was a team effort mainly headlined by the Astros' young, homegrown stars. Or, pretty much what everyone came to expect from their offense up until the ALCS.

Pick an offensive category, any offensive category, and chances are the Astros led Major League Baseball in it this season. To name just a few, they led in runs, hits, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.

If that's not enough to drive home the point that theirs was no ordinary offense, consider a stat called "Weighted Runs Created Plus." It captures total offensive value in relation to league average (100), and it puts the 2017 Astros behind only three Babe Ruth-era Yankees offenses as the greatest ever:

Rank Team wRC+
1 1927 Yankees 126
T2 1930 Yankees 124
T2 1931 Yankees 124
4 2017 Astros 121

The Astros looked the part of an all-time great offensive team in dispatching the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series, posting a .974 OPS and hitting eight homers. It seemed like a short jump from there to the franchise's second World Series appearance.

But then, the first five games of the ALCS played like the "All Good Things Must Come to an End" phrase of Houston's 2017 offense.

The Astros scored just two runs in each of the first two games and five total in three games at Yankee Stadium. In all, they went into Game 6 with a .447 OPS for the series.

"We've lost a little bit of our offensive adjustments and a little of our offensive mojo," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said, according to David Adler of MLB.com. "It's rare, because of how much offense we put up through the first six months of the season and even in the Division Series. We've swung the bats very well, and I believe we're one good game from coming out of it."

The easiest and, per the eye test, most valid explanation was that Houston's superior hitting had simply run into more superior pitching. Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray took turns baffling Astros hitters to start games. Then New York's star-studded bullpen finished them off.

But it was also evident that there was bad luck at play.

As Adler pointed out, the Astros had little to show for the balls they'd hit well through the first five games of the ALCS. That changed in Game 6. At least as measured by exit velocity, all seven of their hardest-hit balls found paydirt.

Houston's hitters also found an equilibrium between patience and aggression that they'd been sorely lacking at Yankee Stadium. A good example was when they chased Severino in the fifth inning, forcing him to throw 26 pitches as they worked him for three walks and two hits.

An added benefit of getting Severino out early was pushing Yankees skipper Joe Girardi to use some of his best relievers. Chad Green, David Robertson and Dellin Betances will be on zero days' rest for Game 7.

The Astros still face a tough assignment in a second go-round against Sabathia, whose contact management talents won the day in Game 3. And while Green's availability will be limited after he threw 38 pitches Friday, there won't be leashes on Robertson, Betances, Tommy Kahnle or Aroldis Chapman.

If it comes to it, the Astros don't have much hope of winning a low-scoring game. They're putting their faith in Charlie Morton, who got rocked in Game 3, and a bullpen that's been a leaky ship all postseason.

But after Game 6, it sure seems a lot less likely to come to that than it did before.

This Astros team is made to hit, and did indeed do more hitting through Games 1 and 5 than their results let on. Their outburst in Game 6 is less of a blip in the Yankees' dominance of the scoreboard and more a case of the Astros snapping out of an uncharacteristic funk.

One more game just like it, and a date with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series awaits.

 

Data courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant

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Astros Force ALCS Game 7 as Justin Verlander Dominates Yankees

The 2017 American League Championship Series will go the distance after Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros shut down the New York Yankees to capture a 7-1 win in Game 6 on Friday night at Minute Maid Field. 

While it wasn't quite a redux of his masterful nine-inning performance in Game 2, Verlander was brilliant with the Astros facing elimination. 

Over the course of seven scoreless innings, Verlander scattered five hits and registered eight strikeouts to baffle a group of Yankee hitters that had hit its stride back in the Bronx. 

Verlander threw 71 percent of his pitches for strikes, including a curveball to Todd Frazier that encapsulated the Yankees' struggles against the 2011 AL MVP: 

The Astros offense wasn't nearly as electric—its first hit of the night came with two out in the bottom of the fourth inning—but a jolt in the fifth inning produced a breakthrough against Luis Severino (4.2 IP, three strikeouts, three earned runs). 

Brian McCann got the party started with a double to deep right field to score Alex Bregman, and Jose Altuve snapped an 0-for-12 slump three batters later when he laced a two-run single to left, as Fox Sports MLB documented: 

The Yankees threatened with two on and no out in the top of the seventh for their best opportunity of the night, but the opportunity proved fleeting. 

After Verlander got Aaron Hicks to strike out swinging, Todd Frazier smoked a fastball to deep center field that George Springer plucked out of the air: 

According to MLB.com's Andrew Simon, Statcast suggested Frazier hit his blast hard enough to leave most parks: 

Verlander worked out of the jam one batter later, at which point MLB Network's Jon Morosi relayed a key stat that underscored his dominance: 

The Yankees got on the board in the eighth when Aaron Judge mashed a solo home run off Brad Peacock, but Altuve countered with a jack of his own in the bottom half of the inning to restore order and fuel a hit parade that allowed the Astros to quell concerns of an implosion once and for all. 

Now headed for Game 7, the Astros will try to complete their comeback Saturday evening (8:08 p.m. ET, FS1) in Houston against Yankees starter CC Sabathia—who went six strong with five strikeouts in an 8-1 Game 3 win.      

The Astros, meanwhile, will roll with Game 3 starter Charlie Morton on normal rest as opposed to rushing Lance McCullers back out. 

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World Series 2017: Dates, Ticket Info, Top Odds and Predictions

The 2017 World Series begins Tuesday, though we still don't know the matchup that will determine Major League Baseball's champion. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers earned their spot in the World Series Thursday night with a dominant 11-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. 

Los Angeles' opponent could be known as soon as Friday if the New York Yankees defeat the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. 

Despite not knowing the official matchup for this year's World Series, there are some things to be taken away from the postseason so far that will help build anticipation for what's going to happen. 

         

2017 World Series Schedule

Game 1 (Oct. 24): New York Yankees/Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers

Game 2 (Oct. 25): New York Yankees/Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers

Game 3 (Oct. 27): Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Yankees/Houston Astros

Game 4 (Oct. 28): Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Yankees/Houston Astros

Game 5* (Oct. 29): Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Yankees/Houston Astros

Game 6* (Oct. 31): New York Yankees/Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers

Game 7* (Nov. 1): New York Yankees/Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers

*if necessary

         

Ticket Information: Stubhub.com

        

World Series Odds (via OddsShark.com)

Los Angeles Dodgers (-110)

New York Yankees (+190)

Houston Astros (+500)

The Dodgers clinched their first trip to the Fall Classic since 1988 by defeating the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs in five games to win the NLCS. 

This franchise has been on the cusp of breaking through over the past five seasons, reaching the NLCS in 2013 and 2016. Los Angeles has won five consecutive division titles, the longest active streak in MLB, and posted the league's best record in 2017 (104-58). 

The NL West champions had a chance to sweep their way into the World Series Wednesday against the Cubs, but Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis held Los Angeles' bats in check by allowing four hits in a 3-2 Game 4 win. 

Despite Chicago's win, the Dodgers were still in complete control of the series, as noted by Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times

"The Cubs still just had five hits, scoring all their runs on home runs," he wrote after Game 4. "They are still just batting .163 in this series. They still don't have a bullpen, because they used closer Wade Davis for 48 pitches to save their season."

Since Game 3 of the Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, pitching has been the story of Los Angeles' playoff run. Over the past six games, the Dodgers allowed nine runs in six games. 

Pitching is what made the Dodgers the best team in baseball during the regular season. They led the NL with a 3.38 ERA, including an MLB-best 3.39 ERA from their starting rotation. 

Los Angeles' offense finished 12th in MLB with 770 runs scored and 11th with 221 home runs. This isn't a lineup that is going to overpower opposing pitchers, so their rotation and bullpen have to be on point to end their 29-year championship drought. 

One thing working in their favor is whoever their AL opponent ends up being, the Houston Astros or the New York Yankees will have to play the first two games in Los Angeles. 

The Yankees hold a 3-2 series edge against the Astros heading into Friday's Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. Road games have not been kind to New York this postseason, which owns a 1-4 record away from Yankee Stadium in Houston and Cleveland. 

At home, the Yankees were an AL-best 51-30 during the season and 6-0 in the playoffs. They went 40-41 away from New York during the regular season, but the problems extend beyond just their record. 

"Aaron Judge, who struck out an unfathomable 16 times in 20 at-bats against Cleveland, was a quiet 1-for-7 in the games at Houston," wrote Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today. "Gary Sanchez went 0-for-11 in the first three games of the ALCS. Greg Bird was the only one to fare well in Houston, with a home run among his two hits in seven at-bats."

Judge, Sanchez and Bird have looked more comfortable at home than on the road this postseason. It doesn't help they have to face Justin Verlander Saturday in Game 6 after he pitched a complete game against the Yankees with 13 strikeouts.

Between starting pitching, bullpen and offense, the Yankees look like the most complete team left in the playoffs. They will need those three to start hitting away from New York if they want to add a 28th championship to their mantle. 

The Dodgers are the best team left at preventing runs. They are going to throw Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and Rich Hill at whoever their AL opponent is, with Kershaw and Darvish likely being used multiple times. 

It's rare when the best team in baseball during the regular season wins the World Series. It happened last year with the Cubs, but before that, the last team with the best record outright to be crowned champion was the 2009 Yankees. 

The Dodgers will follow Chicago's example from 2016 to win their first championship since Kirk Gibson hobbled around the bases after hitting a walk-off homer against Oakland Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley 29 years ago. 

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Daniel Murphy Undergoes Surgery on Knee Injury; Rehab to Last Whole Offseason

Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent surgery on his right knee Friday to "repair damage to the articular cartilage."

Mark Zuckerman of MASN noted the Nats' announcement confirmed it was a debridement and microfracture procedure. He's expected to rehab "throughout the offseason."

Murphy parlayed his memorable 2015 playoff run with the New York Mets into a monster debut year with the Nats. He set new career highs in batting average (.347), home runs (25) and runs batted in (104) and earned his second All-Star Game selection in 2016.

He remained a vital cog throughout 2017 with a .322/.384/.543 slash line and 23 homers.

The 32-year-old infielder has stayed mostly durable in recent years. He's played at least 130 games in every season dating back to 2012. He did spend some time out of the lineup late in the 2016 season because of a strained left buttocks, though. More recently, he was sidelined with neck and hamstring issues.

Looking ahead, it's unclear at this stage whether the Nationals expect Murphy back at full strength in time for 2018 Spring Training. He's suddenly become one of the most impactful players in baseball and the team can't expect more than replacement-level numbers at the position if he ends up missing time next year.

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MLB Playoffs 2017: Latest Odds Guide, Ticket Info and Bracket Predictions

There will be no day off for baseball fans Friday as the Houston Astros host the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the 2017 American League Championship Series.

Houston took an early 2-0 series lead but New York responded with three straight wins at home to get one game away from its 41st American League pennant. If the Yankees win, it will be the second straight series from which they've advanced after dropping the first two games.

Houston and New York will be fighting for the right to face off with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who claimed the National League pennant with their 11-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.

                    

ALCS Schedule

Game 6: Friday, Oct. 20, at 8:08 p.m. ET, FS1

Game 7 (if necessary): Saturday, Oct. 21, at 8:08 p.m. ET, FS1

                     

Ticket Info

Tickets for Games 6 and 7 are available on StubHub.

                    

Odds Guide (via OddsShark)

Game 6 Odds: Astros -140, Yankees +120

World Series Odds: Dodgers -110, Yankees +190, Astros +500

                     

ALCS Prediction

Justin Verlander was masterful in his last start, allowing one earned run over nine innings in the Astros' 2-1 Game 2 victory over the Yankees. Houston may need a similar performance if it's going to stay alive in the ALCS.

Offense wasn't a problem for the Astros in the ALDS. They scored eight runs in each of their first two wins and then put up five runs—including two on Chris Sale—in their series-clinching Game 5 victory.

In the ALCS, however, Houston has crossed the plate a combined nine times.

Jose Altuve is 5-for-18 in the ALCS but hasn't registered an extra-base hit. Marwin Gonzalez is 2-for-15 without a single RBI after leading the team in the category (90 RBI) during the regular season. George Springer is only 2-for-18, and the trio of Brian McCann, Josh Reddick and Carlos Beltran have one hit in 39 at-bats.

"The playoffs, as we talked earlier today about advanced scouting and exposing weaknesses, if they get you to crack a little bit outside of your game plan then they've got you," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after the team's Game 5 loss, per MLB.com. "We haven't stayed in our game plan quite well enough to make adjustments."

Getting to Luis Severino early will be vital for Houston.

Game 5 was essentially New York's best-case scenario. Not only did the Yankees win, but Masahiro Tanaka also went seven innings, thus saving the team's bullpen for Game 6. Tommy Kahnle was the only reliever New York used as he pitched the final two innings.

That means Chad Green, David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman should all be rested and ready to go Friday night. Even taking Betances out of the equation after his underwhelming postseason so far, Green, Robertson and Chapman could pitch the final four or five innings of Game 6.

Severino had an ignominious postseason debut, allowing three earned runs in a third of an inning in the American League Wild Card Game. ESPN.com's Buster Olney noted that Yankees starters—Severino included—have been largely excellent since then:

Returning home could be what the Astros need to reinvigorate their offense, and Houston is helped by the fact New York finished a game under .500 (40-41) away from Yankee Stadium.

Game 6 could go either way. Houston's bats have to wake up sooner or later, and the Astros will feel confident with Verlander on the mound. But the same was said of the Cleveland Indians heading into Game 5 of the ALDS, and they exited the playoffs following their 5-2 defeat to New York.

The Astros will experience a similar fate as Severino is just good enough to hand over an early lead to the Yankees bullpen, which seals the deal on a Game 6 win and sends the team to the World Series.

Prediction: Yankees win series 4-2

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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.

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Dusty Baker Parts Ways with Nationals After 2 Seasons

The Washington Nationals announced Friday manager Dusty Baker won't return for the 2018 MLB season.

Dan Kolko of the MLB Network passed along the news of Baker's exit after two years with the Nats. Mark Zuckerman of MASN provided a statement from the club:

                 

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

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Dusty Baker Parts Ways with Nationals After 2 Seasons

The Washington Nationals announced Friday manager Dusty Baker won't return for the 2018 MLB season.

Dan Kolko of the MLB Network passed along the news of Baker's exit after two years with the Nats. Mark Zuckerman of MASN provided a statement from the club:

                 

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

Get the best sports content from the web and social in the new B/R app. Get the app and get the game.


🔥 Top Videos from Around B/R 🔥

 

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World Series 2017 Schedule: TV Coverage Guide and More Known Info

For the first time since 1988, the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to the World Series.

After dismantling the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 Thursday night at Wrigley Field, 11-1, the Dodgers will have to wait until the conclusion of the ALCS between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees to determine their opponent.

But even though the World Series isn't officially set, with the Yankees holding a 3-2 series lead heading into Friday's crucial Game 6, the game schedule of the 2017 World Series is already mapped out, with the exception of what time each game will start.

Here's a rundown of the basic information regarding the World Series:

        

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

Note: Schedule information is per MLB.com. All games will be televised on Fox, with the start times to be determined.

        

Time to celebrate...for now

The Dodgers beat the Cubs on Thursday to clinch their first National League pennant in 29 years, so it's understandable that the team and its fanbase are living in the moment for the next day or two to let the weight of the occasion sink in.

However, the Dodgers know that they still need four more wins if they really want to throw the biggest party Los Angeles has seen in quite some time. 

The World Series starts on Tuesday, Oct. 24, with the first two games at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. That part we know. We also know that the Dodgers have some history with the Yankees.

The Dodgers have played the Yankees a total of 11 times in the World Series, last meeting in 1981. For the most part, New York has had its way with the Dodgers under the spotlight, winning eight of the 11 matchups compared to the Dodgers' three titles.

For the casual fan, and for those interested in TV ratings, Dodgers vs. Yankees appears to be the series most people want. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the series fans are going to get.

With the Yankees rallying back from 0-2 against the Astros, a win Friday afternoon will seal the AL pennant for New York. But the Astros still have some life and will look to make it back to the World Series for the first time since 2005. 

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This Ironic Version of Fahrenheit 451 Can Only Be Read When Burned

 

Fahrenheit 451 is considered a modern masterpiece of literature. It’s a story about a dystopian future where books are made illegal and are burned en masse. It was a near revolutionary tale that has shaped the way we think about privacy today (and it was written back when not every novel was about a dystopian future).

Well in an ironic twist, French Publisher, Super Terrain, is making a version of the book with black pages that only reveal themselves when the special ink has been burned off with extreme heat. Though it’s not going to hold up to being burned in large bonfires, the fact that you can use the heat from a lighter to reveal the text is amazingly twisted.

The publisher is hoping to make copies of the special version available sometime in 2018.

Gizmodo ]