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Wednesday NLCS + ALCS open thread

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The games may take forever, but they’ve been mostly thrilling. Brewers-Dodgers starts the evening with a crucial Game 5, while the Astros look to tie up with the Red Sox in Game 4.

League Championship Series - Milwaukee Brewers v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four
Don’t kick anyone’s heels today, Manny.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Things are sure getting interesting now, aren’t they?

In the American League’s case, “interesting” isn’t necessarily “good” because it means that the Red Sox are winning their series against the Astros, 2-1, and even if the Astros come back and win this series, they just won the World Series last year, so who cares? Still, there’s something compelling (even if it takes four hours) about watching two teams who won 100+ games in the regular season duke it out with a trip to the World Series at stake.

As for the National League, it’s tied at two games apiece between the Dodgers and Brewers, and on top of that, former Oriole Manny Machado seems to be doing his best to make things dramatic on the field as well.

That includes much more than just playing at his usual high level, of course, since Machado is doing stuff like repeatedly sliding in weird ways into people trying to turn a double play at second base, and last night, clipping the heels of the first baseman on a routine grounder. It’s bizarre, and it resulted in Brewers players saying things like “Fuck that motherfucker.”

I can’t imagine any Brewers pitcher would be stupid enough to throw at Machado in the middle of a tied playoff series in an important Game 5, but you never know. Sometimes baseball players do dumb things. See also: Machado.

Last night it was the NLCS that took us into the night with an earlier evening ALCS. That order flips tonight, like so:

NLCS Game 5: Brewers-Dodgers, 5:05. TV: FS1. Starters: Wade Miley (MIL), Clayton Kershaw (LAD). Series tied, 2-2

ALCS Game 4: Red Sox-Astros, 8:39. TV: TBS. Starters: Rick Porcello (BOS), Charlie Morton (HOU). Red Sox lead, 2-1

Though I’m still unable to handle, on a personal level, the idea of Miley having postseason success, I continue to slightly prefer the Brewers because I think it would be more interesting if they beat the Dodgers. On the other hand, Kershaw is a great pitcher and it would be nice for him if he could beat back the “can’t pitch in the postseason” narrative that has grown up around him, fairly or not.

Starting lineups for the home team Dodgers:

  1. Cody Bellinger - CF
  2. Justin Turner - 3B
  3. David Freese - 1B
  4. Manny Machado - SS
  5. Max Muncy - 2B
  6. Chris Taylor - LF
  7. Enrique Hernandez - RF
  8. Austin Barnes - C
  9. Clayton Kershaw - P

Although the 2018 Orioles are decisive proof that you can’t just throw players anywhere on the diamond and succeed, the 2018 Dodgers seem to be determined to prove the opposite in this postseason. Perhaps if you have better analytics that are informing better pre-pitch positioning, that helps you get away with it.

The visiting Brewers line up like so:

  1. Lorenzo Cain - CF
  2. Christian Yelich - RF
  3. Ryan Braun - LF
  4. Jesus Aguilar - 1B
  5. Hernan Perez - 2B
  6. Mike Moustakas - 3B
  7. Erik Kratz - C
  8. Orlando Arcia - SS
  9. Wade Miley - P