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Thursday ALCS/NLCS game thread

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The Astros will attempt to stave off elimination once again, while the Dodgers look to even their series against the Braves. Buckle up folks.

MLB: ALCS-Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday’s games made sure that neither team could get the brooms out. Today will show us whether we have a series or two on our hands. Are the Astros and Dodgers up to the challenge?

ALCS: Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros, Game 5 (Rays lead 3-1)

5:07, TBS

The Astros avoided a sweep with a 4-3 victory yesterday. They’ll look to extend their season once again this afternoon. Jose Altuve atoned for his Game 3 error with a solo homer in the first and an RBI-double in the third inning. The Rays evened the score in Game 4 with a two-run shot by Randy Arozarena, but a George Springer 2-run shot eventually did them in.

The Rays will send John Curtiss to the mound in an effort to clinch the series. Curtiss will serve as the opener, with the Rays bullpen taking on a large load. The Astros announced this afternoon that rookie Luis Garcia will make his first postseason start in the contest.

The four runs the Astros scored yesterday marked their highest tally of the series, and the Rays have yet to exceed five runs. Is either team due for an offensive explosion? For Houston, this could be the bat’s final chance.

NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves, Game 4 (Braves lead 2-1)

8:08, FOX

Speaking of offensive explosions, I’m not sure there’s a volcano on earth to compare the Dodgers’ first inning performance in Game 3. Los Angeles erupted for 11 runs before Atlanta had a chance to bat. As you would expect, the game was never close.

The Dodgers will carry that momentum into Clayton Kershaw’s first start of the series. Kershaw, who was scratched from Game 2 due to back spasms, carries a 2-0 record with a 1.93 ERA in two postseason starts this season. Kershaw’s poor playoff reputation has never been a complete representation of his postseason play, and LA appears to be in prime position to even the series.

Bryse Wilson will get the nod for Atlanta and is not expected to work late into the game. The 22-year-old rookie posted a 4.02 ERA and 1.723 WHIP over six appearances (two starts) this season. It’s unlikely the Dodgers reach double digits in the first, but look for a suddenly hot lineup to pounce on the youngster early.