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Monday MLB playoffs open thread

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There are four games to be played on Monday and four teams face elimination with a loss.

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox
Good luck to these former Orioles and their current team in avoiding a sweep today.
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

For the last time this year, there will be four MLB games on the same day. Whatever happens today, this is it. That means baseball that could run continuously from 1pm Eastern until whenever the 8:40 game ends. After this, there will be no more than two, and soon enough there’ll be just the World Series, and then a long winter. Enjoy it while it lasts!

It may be easier to enjoy the games if the teams that have been winning are teams that you would like to be winning. The Astros stand on the precipice of picking up a sweep against the Rays. The Yankees are in the same place against the Twins. Over in the NL, the Braves-Cardinals series will end with a Braves win, and the Dodgers-Nationals series will end with a Dodgers win.

How many of these series do you think will still be going on by the time these games are over? I don’t have very high hopes for the Twins breaking their curse against the Yankees, even just for one game. The other three teams on the brink of elimination should at least stand a chance of taking their series a little farther.

Here’s today’s schedule of games:

  • Astros at Rays, 1:05, MLB Network
  • Braves at Cardinals, 3:07, TBS
  • Dodgers at Nationals, 6:40, TBS
  • Yankees at Twins, 8:40, Fox Sports 1

The Rays have been on the wrong end of the Justin Verlander-Gerrit Cole one-two punch and now they get to go up against Zack Greinke. That might not seem like as tough of a task, but Greinke’s no slouch either, and even if they have a bit easier of a time scoring runs, they’ll still have to hold down the Astros offense. Good luck.

Astros lineup

  1. George Springer - CF
  2. Jose Altuve - 2B
  3. Michael Brantley - LF
  4. Alex Bregman - 3B
  5. Yordan Alvarez - DH
  6. Yuli Gurriel - 1B
  7. Carlos Correa - SS
  8. Robinson Chrinos - C
  9. Josh Reddick - RF

In 75 games this season, Correa batted .279/.358/.568 and he is the #7 hitter in this lineup. Isn’t that ridiculous? There were three Astros with a better OPS than Correa, and three more within 50 points of OPS who played full seasons. Those are the six guys ahead of him in the lineup. This team scored 920 runs and led the American League in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage for a reason.

Rays lineup

  1. Yandy Diaz - 3B
  2. Austin Meadows - LF
  3. Tommy Pham - DH
  4. Ji-Man Choi - 1B
  5. Avisail Garcia - RF
  6. Brandon Lowe - 2B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud - C
  8. Kevin Kiermaier - CF
  9. Willy Adames - SS

Charlie Morton is the Rays starter as they try to stave off elimination. Morton was very good this year, and stands out as a pitcher who, in this juiced ball era, gave up just 15 home runs over 194.2 innings. He also struck out 240 batters while walking only 57. That is a good guy to have pitching when you need to avoid elimination.

Other starting pitchers for the day:

  • Braves: Dallas Keuchel
  • Cardinals: Dakota Hudson
  • Dodgers: Rich Hill
  • Nationals: Max Scherzer
  • Yankees: Luis Severino
  • Twins: Jake Odorizzi