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Monday MLB postseason game thread

October baseball returns today with the start of both AL Division Series.

MLB: ALDS-Rays Workouts
The Rays’ Joey Wendle blows a bubble during warm-ups.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

After a two day hiatus over the weekend, playoff baseball returns late this afternoon. After the best-of-three Wild Card Series that took place in teams’ home parks, this round of the playoffs will feature bubbles created in California and Texas for the best-of-five Division Series.

The Astros advanced after winning two in a row to knock the Twins out of the playoffs, and the Athletics moved on after taking two of three from the White Sox. Meanwhile, the Rays and Yankees were able to advance after sweeping the Blue Jays and Indians, respectively.

The AL Division Series starting today features Yankees-Rays from Petco Park in San Diego and Astros-Athletics from Dodger Stadium in LA. The NL Division Series matchups in Arlington and Houston will kick off tomorrow.

Today’s schedule:

Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics, ALDS - Game 1

4:07 PM, TBS

Over the course of 10 regular season games between these two teams, the Athletics handled the Astros by winning seven times and out-scoring Houston 38-25.

Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. gets the start for the Astros and this will be his first appearance of the 2020 playoffs. Houston only needed six pitchers in the first round of the playoffs, including two starters and four relievers. Over the course of his career, McCullers Jr. has a 2.53 ERA in 32 total postseason innings and during the 2018 postseason he was used exclusively out of the bullpen by the Astros, registering a 1.80 ERA in five innings. The righty was 3-3 with a 3.93 ERA during the regular season and in his lone start against the A’s, he allowed two runs (one earned) over six innings.

The Athletics will send right-hander Chris Bassitt to the mound, hoping his success from the first round of the playoffs continues. He allowed one run in seven innings against the White Sox in the ALWC. Bassitt went 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 11 starts this year, which included three starts against the Astros in which he allowed five runs over 17 total innings (2.65 ERA).

New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays, ALDS - Game 1

8:07 PM, TBS

Blake Snell will toe the rubber for the Rays in Game 1, having gone 4-2 during the regular season with a 3.24 ERA. He pitched 5.2 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in the ALWC and in 11 career postseason innings going back to the playoffs last year, Snell has a 0.82 ERA. Snell has faced the Yankees twice this year, allowing three runs over eight total innings.

Gerrit Cole showed everyone why the Yankees paid big money this offseason for his services, as he dominated Cleveland on September 29th to the tune of two runs over seven innings with 13 strikeouts. Over 72.2 career postseason innings — the majority of which came as a members of the Astros — Cole has an impressive 2.60 ERA and 91 total strikeouts. Cole put up a 2.84 ERA during the 2020 regular season, including a 4.96 ERA in three starts against tonight’s opponent.

The Rays got the better of the Yankees during the regular season by winning 8 of 10 games with a cumulative run differential of 47-34.