LEADING OFF: Red Sox try to bounce Yanks from ALDS
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
THE ONLY SHOW IN TOWN
Baseball’s biggest rivalry gets the spotlight to itself as the Red Sox try to eliminate the Yankees in Game 4 of their AL Division Series. New York will be trying to rebound from the most lopsided postseason loss in the franchise’s distinguished history — a 16-1 drumming Monday night capped by Brock Holt completing the first-ever postseason cycle. The blowout was so bad, backup catcher Austin Romine became the second position player ever to appear on the mound in the playoffs. He gave up Holt’s ninth-inning homer.
Game 4 may be the final appearance with New York for veteran CC Sabathia, who is expected to make his 23rd career postseason start. He’s made 17 of those as a Yankee, going 8-3 with a 3.29 ERA during a span that included a 2009 ALCS MVP. The 38-year-old said Monday he plans to play again next season, though it’s uncertain if the upcoming free agent will be back in pinstripes.
Rick Porcello will throw for Boston after getting two outs in relief during a Game 1 victory. Porcello has allowed seven runs over 7 1/3 innings in his past two postseason starts, one each in 2016 and ’17.
The Dodgers get a few days to regroup after finishing off the Braves in their NLDS on Monday. They’ll begin their third consecutive NL Championship Series on Friday in Milwaukee. Los Angeles beat Milwaukee 4-3 in the season series. Both teams won division titles with one-game playoff victories the day after the regular season.
LA punched its ticket to a fourth NLCS in six years with a 6-2 win over Atlanta. Manny Machado hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning that essentially buried the Braves — exactly the sort of impact the Dodgers envisioned when they acquired the free agent-to-be from Baltimore at midseason. The reigning NL champs also have another pennant and a World Series championship in mind.
“We have eight more wins to go,” manager Dave Roberts said.
The Indians bowed out of the postseason in a surprising sweep by the Astros, and now they’ll begin a difficult winter. Michael Brantley, Josh Donaldson, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen are set to become free agents. Miller and Allen struggled this season for a bullpen that needs revamping. Brantley would be the most difficult to replace after he batted .309 over 143 games in a bounceback season after years of injuries.
Atlanta also begins to regroup after getting bounced by the Dodgers. The Baby Braves could lose Nick Markakis to free agency but should otherwise bring back the core of a breakout group. Their 3-1 NLDS loss to Los Angeles showed that Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. could use a deeper supporting cast, though.