Author Topic: Bob Levey/Getty ImagesThe Houston Astros will have a chance to defend their  (Read 16 times)


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 Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.Houston Astros astros#AstrosWin 11-3! Postseason spot CLINCHED! 8cEx5g4R9FAfter winning the franchise's first championship in 2017 Roberto Clemente Jersey , the Astros have shown no signs of a hangover this season. At 96-57, they areon pace to post their second consecutive year with at least 100 wins, which would make them the first team since the 2004-05 St. Louis Cardinals to accomplish that feat.This team's formula for success has been different than last year's group. The lineup during their run to the World Series last year produced at a historic rate. Their 122 weighted runs created plus (a stat that measures a total offensive value based on runs) was the best by any team since 2000.While Houston's lineup is still strong in 2018 he teamranksfifthin MLB in runs scored and sixth in OPS ching has been the biggest reason the Astros are back in the postseason.Their pitcherslead MLB with a 3.15 ERA, 28.8 FanGraphs wins above replacement and 10.47 strikeouts per nine innings. Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton all have ERAs at 3.15 or better and average at least 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings.That depth of starting pitching has allowed the Astros to navigate things while reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer all spent time on the disabled list.Alex Bregman has turned into an MVP candidate with a historic season:ESPN Stats amp; Info ESPNStatsInfoAfter doubling in the 5th inning today , Alex Bregman is now the first 3B in MLB history with 30 HR and 50 2B in a single season.......he is also the first player at any position to do so since Albert Pujols in 2012. FGU2j9bcBzAll the pieces are in place for the Astros to make another deep postseason run. They have been in playoff mode for weeks, trying to fight off the Oakland Athletics atop the American League West, and continue to play at a high level.Now that Houston is officially back in the postseason, it can become the first club to win consecutive World Series titles since the New York Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000. Postseason baseball has reached a critical stage for the Colorado Rockies and the Atlanta Braves. Both of those teams are down 0-2 in their best-of-5 National League Division Series, and each of those teams will try to remain alive as they return home for Sunday's games.The Rockies had a difficult time getting their offense going in the first two games of their NLDS in Milwaukee against the Brewers. Milwaukee's pitching staff was on point, limiting the hard-hitting Rockies to two runs in the ninth inning of Game 1 and shutting them out in Game 2.The Braves had an even more difficult time in the first two games of their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers Bill Mazeroski Jersey , getting blanked in both games at Dodger Stadium.The Brewers and Rockies will get things started at Coors Field, and first pitch is scheduled for 4:37 p.m. ET. The game will be televised by the MLB network. The Dodgers and Braves will follow at 8:07 p.m. from SunTrust Park, and that game will be broadcast on FS1.Both games can be live-streamed on MLB.TV.MLB postseasonNational LeagueMilwaukee leads Colorado, 2-0Los Angeles leads Atlanta, 2-0American LeagueHouston leads Cleveland, 2-0Boston and New York tied 1-1The Brewers will try to advance to the National League Championship Series as they send left-hander Wade Miley to the mound. Miley had decent numbers in 16 starts with the Brewers Dave Parker Jersey , recording a 5-2 mark with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.215 WHIP. Perhaps Miley's best asset is that he does not surrender many home runs, allowing just .3 long ball per nine innings.Miley's opponent will be hard throwing German Marquez, who was a 14-11 with the Rockies along with a 3.77 ERA. Marquez struck out 230 batters in 196.0 innings.Marquez faces quite a bit of pressure as he hopes to keep his team alive, but more pressure will be on Colorado hitters who have yet to show what they can do in the postseason.Nolan Arenado is regularly looked at as the best-fielding third baseman in Major League Baseball and he is also one of its best hitters. Arenado had a wonderful regular season as he had a .297/.374/.561 slash line along with 38 home runs and 110 runs batted in.Trevor Story was in lock step with Arenado as he blasted 37 homers and knocked in 108 while putting together a .291/.348/.567 slash line. Charlie Blackmon added 29 home runs and scored a team-high 119 runs.The Brewers will try to counter with the big bats of Christian Yelich, Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw. Yelich, the likely National League MVP because of his explosive finish to the regular season Josh Harrison Jersey , belted 36 home runs this year. He also hit .326 with a .598 slugging percentage while driving in 110 runs.Aguilar pounded 35 home runs and drove in 108, while Shaw hit 32 home runs and drove in 86.The Dodgers will attempt to close out their series on the road with hard-throwing Walker Buehler taking the mound. Buehler was 8-5 during the regular season with a 2.62 ERA and a 0.961 WHIP. He struck out 9.9 batters per nine innings.The Braves will go with Sean Newcomb as their starting pitcher, and he was 12-9 with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.329 WHIP.Atlanta needs to have a productive game from veteran Freddie Freeman, who had a .309/.388/.505 slash line with 23 home runs and 98 RBI. Freeman also lashed a team-high 44 doubles.The Braves are also hoping that Nick Markakis and Ronald Acuna Jr. can also get going on offense.Manny Machado blasted 13 home runs and drove in 42 runs after being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles shortly after the All-Star Game. Los Angeles first baseman Cody Bellinger is a potential game-changing hitter who hammered 25 home runs with a .269/.343/.470 slash line.The Rockies are minus-165 favorites to remain alive and win Game 3, while the Brewers are plus-140 underdogs, according to OddsShark. Those wagering on the Rockies would have to risk $165 to earn a $100 profit Gregory Polanco Jersey , while Brewers backers put up $100 to win $140.The Dodgers are minus-185 favorites on the road, while the Braves are plus-155 home underdogs. Visting teams are not often such heavy favorites, but Buehler appears to have a sizable advantage over Newcomb.PredictionsLook for the Rockies' bats to come alive as they get back to Coors Field. The key for Colorado is to get an early lead so they don't have to try to come back against Milwaukee's sensational bullpen that includes Corey Knebel, Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress.Look for Arenado and Story to lead the way as the Rockies jump out front and hold on to cut their series deficit to 2-1.The Braves could be in trouble because Buehler has the stuff to shut down the Atlanta offense. He will keep Atlanta from registering any big innings and the Dodgers will do enough on offense to win the game.Atlanta had a memorable regular season, but their year comes to an end Sunday night against Los Angeles as the Dodgers record a 3-0 series sweep.All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.