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Friday ALCS/NLCS game thread

The Rays hope to finally finish off the resurgent Astros, while the Braves are on the verge of dealing the Dodgers an early exit.

Dodgers and Braves in game four of the NLCS at Globe Life Field Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

There are storylines everywhere. The Rays are ahead, but listing. The Astros are behind, but surging. The Dodgers are on the brink of another series loss and another early exit for the regular season's best team, and the Braves are on the verge of their first World Series trip in over 20 years.

Today’s schedule:

ALCS: Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays, Game 6 (Rays lead, 3-2)

6:07 PM, TBS

This was looking like it was going to be an easy series, and all the Houston haters were going to get a chance to laugh at the sport’s biggest cheaters.

But, trash can or no trash can, these Astros are proving hard to kill.

A tie-breaking two-run home run by George Springer allowed Houston to sneak away with a 4-3 win in Game 4. A Carlos Correa walk-off home run lifted the ‘Stros to another 4-3 win in Game 5.

Now it feels like the Astros are the ones with momentum, and the Rays are the ones trying to hang on.

Fortunately for Tampa Bay, it has the right man for the job. The Rays will give the ball to former Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, who went 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA in the regular season, and who is 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA this postseason. One of those wins came in Game 1 of this series, when Snell held the Astros to one run on six hits in five innings.

Opposing him will be his counterpart from Game 1, Framber Valdez. Valdez impressed as well in that game, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings while punching out eight. Valdez had a strong regular season for Houston, going 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA.

NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves, Game 5 (Braves lead, 3-1)

9:08 PM, FS1

The Dodgers had won over 90 games for seven straight seasons, and over 100 two of the previous three. It all culminated in zero World Series titles.

To get over the hump, the Dodgers got Mookie Betts. They won 43 games this year - a 116-win pace over 162 games.

And if they don’t get going soon, the trend will continue.

The Dodgers are on the verge of being bounced again, after Clayton Kershaw had another playoff letdown and the Braves pummeled L.A. hurlers in a 10-2 Game 4 win that threw command of the series back to Atlanta after the Dodgers momentarily got momentum with a 15-3 Game 3 victory.

The Braves’ bats are cooking. Ozzie Albies is hitting .471. Freddie Freeman is at .429. And then there’s Game 4 hero Marcell Ozuna, who’s at .333 with two home runs.

Atlanta’s starter as it looks to close out the NLCS and go to the World Series for the first time since 1999 was a mystery until this morning, when manager Brian Snitker announced the team will go with Josh Tomlin. Tomlin went 2-2 with a 4.76 ERA for Atlanta this season, but got roughed up in his only NLCS appearance, allowing three runs in two-thirds of an inning in the Braves’ 8-7 Game 2 win.

Los Angeles will go with Dustin May, who went 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA this season. The hard-throwing 23-year-old appeared once this series, coming in in relief of a 5-1 Game 1 loss and pitching 1.2 scoreless innings.