LCS Recap: Braves, Rays inch closer to World Series

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Atlanta Braves’ Ozzie Albies hits a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning in Game 2 of a baseball National League Championship Series Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. The Atlanta Braves won Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers by a score of 8-7 to take the commanding 2-0 series lead. Photo courtesy of David J. Phillip / AP Photo.

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, the Atlanta Braves won Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 8-7 to take the commanding 2-0 series lead. It’s do or die time for Los Angeles.  

After starting Walker Buehler in the Game 1 loss, the Dodgers were hoping to rebound behind future Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw. Unfortunately, Kershaw’s start was cancelled due to back spasms, so they turned to Tony Gonsolin who allowed five earned runs in 4.1innings. The Braves kept a healthy lead for most of the game behind Freddie Freeman’s two-hit, five-RBI night until Corey Seager of LA launched a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. The Dodgers continued to chip away at the lead but ultimately came up short and lost Game 2 by a score of 8-7.  

Atlanta is scary. They currently lead all playoff teams with an insane ERA of 1.61. So basically, if you allow two or more runs to a team that ranked second in the MLB in runs scored throughout the regular season, you’re probably going to lose. Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies have both hit home runs in Games 1 and 2 while hitting .375 and .556 in the series, respectively. Even Ronald Acuna Jr., who struck out three times in three at-bats in Game 2 found a way to contribute by walking twice and scoring two runs. The Braves are a complete team who just kicked down the door in the NLCS.  

The Dodgers need to find themselves. Yes, their pitching staff is excellent, but they led the league in runs scored in the regular season and have been outscored 13-8 through two games against Atlanta. Now, that offense is nowhere to be found. Specifically, Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger are hitting .143 and .111 respectively through two games. Their role players like Corey Seager and Max Muncy, who combined for six of the team’s seven RBI’s, can only do so much. It’s time to see if this Dodgers core can get it done.  

Game 3 of the series will be played on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 6:05 p.m. Eastern. LA will start the game with Julio Urias while Atlanta will have Kyle Wright on the mound.  

Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros was also on Tuesday, and after a 5-2 victory, the Rays are in full control of the series. The Astros are now one game away from being eliminated as the Rays are one away from reaching the World Series.  

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow pitches to the Houston Astros during the second inning in Game 4 of a baseball American League Championship Series, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in San Diego. The Rays have played three games against Houston in the ALCS and are outscoring the Astros by a combined score of 11-5 in three straight wins. Photo courtesy of Gregory Bull / AP Photo.

Just as Game 2 did, Game 3 began with Astros second baseman, Jose Altuve hitting a solo home run in the first inning. After that, however, Ryan Yarbrough and the rest of the Rays pitchers locked Houston down. The 1-0 Astros lead remained until the sixth inning where Joey Wendle (2), Willy Adames (1) and Hunter Renfroe (2) combined for five Tampa Bay RBIs off of starter Jose Urquidy and reliever Enoli Paredes. The Rays did allow one more run after that, and reliever Curtiss Thompson did load the bases, but ultimately Tampa Bay ran away with a 5-2 Game 3 victory.  

The Rays have played three games against Houston in the ALCS and are outscoring the Astros by a combined score of 11-5 in three straight wins. That’s domination. Meanwhile, the Rays continue to get hits from the bottom of their order while left fielder Randy Arazorena can’t swing and miss. The rookie phenom collected three more hits and a walk in Game 3 to up his series-long OPS and batting-average to 1.372 and .500 respectively.  

Down 3-0 to the Rays, no one is going to feel bad for the Astros. However, that doesn’t mean they should take them lightly. This team can still play ball. Carlos Correa is tied with Giancarlo Stanton for the playoff lead in RBIs with 13, while Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley are tied for second with eight each. Those same three hitters each rank in the top five in postseason home runs as well. The problem is the Astros rank last in team ERA of the remaining teams and seventh overall with a mark of 3.42 earned runs per game. Not bad necessarily, but against the Tampa Bay Rays, they’ll need to pitch better to crawl back into this series. Especially with who the Rays have starting Game 4… 

Game 4 will be played Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 8:40 p.m. Eastern. Tyler Glasnow will start for the Rays against Zack Greinke of the Astros.  

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