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Wednesday MLB postseason game thread

All four series are in action today, with the Astros looking at a chance to advance to their fourth straight ALCS.

Division Series - Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves - Game One Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a season of taunts and ridicule, the Houston Astros are a game away from showing not much has changed in the American League.

The Astros take a 2-0 lead over the Athletics into Game 3 today, and a win would send them back to the American League Championship Series for the fourth straight season.

Meanwhile, the Braves and Dodgers look to put the Marlins and Padres, respectively, in similar holes, while the Rays and Yankees battle for the advantage in their series.

Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves, 2:08 p.m. — MLB Network

The Marlins’ attempt to take their Cinderella run into the NLCS didn’t get off to a great start, as the Braves’ renowned offense showed up when they needed it most. Down 4-3 going into the seventh, Atlanta scored six runs, the key hit being a three-run home run from Travis d’Arnaud that put the Braves ahead to stay.

There’s also some bad blood beginning to boil between the two teams, as Sandy Alcantara drilled Ronald Acuna Jr. with a fastball after Acuna flipped his bat following a first-inning home run, prompting emotions to sizzle between the NL East rivals.

This afternoon, Atlanta will give the ball to rookie Ian Anderson in their attempt to go up 2-0. The 22-year-old went 3-2 this season with a 1.95 ERA. Miami will counter with Pablo Lopez, who was 6-4 with a 3.61 ERA. You may remember him as the pitcher who held the Braves to two hits in five shutout innings on Sept. 24...or the one who started the game two weeks earlier that the Braves won 29-9.

Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros, 3:35 p.m. — TBS

The Astros have looked this postseason like they did back when they were cheating rampantly. Carlos Correa and George Springer are cranking home runs left and right, and Houston, after a shaky regular season, has nonetheless started its postseason off with four straight wins, including two in a row over Oakland to start this round.

Houston, however, will not be turning to Zack Greinke to continue the run, as was initially thought. Instead, the Astros will give the ball to Jose Urquidy, who went 1-1 with a 2.73 ERA in five appearances this season. He allowed one run in 4.1 innings in a 3-1 win over the Twins in the first round.

Looking to stay alive, the A’s will go with Jesus Luzardo, who went 3-2 with a 4.12 ERA this season but struggled in a 4-1 loss to the White Sox in the opening round.

Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees, 7:10 p.m. — TBS

Giancarlo Stanton’s been hot, the Yankees have been blistering at the plate, but the Rays have withstood the early offensive outburst to bring the series to Game 3 tied at one game apiece.

The Yankees have brought the lumber. Stanton has three home runs so far, Aaron Hicks has four hits in six at-bats and New York is hitting .282 with six home runs as a team. But the Rays rattled Yankee starter J.A. Happ in Game 2 to even things up, and the AL East champs can go ahead with a win tonight.

In that endeavor, they’ll give the ball to Charlie Morton, who went 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA this season but has extensive experience pitching in the postseason. New York goes with Masahiro Tanaka, who was 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA in the regular season.

San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers, 9:08 p.m. — FS1

Clayton Kershaw’s mystifying postseason legacy gets another chapter tonight as the Dodgers look for a commanding 2-0 lead. For all of his regular-season brilliance, Kershaw over the years has not been able to translate that into consistent postseason success. He’s had flashes, but as ERAs of 7.36 and 7.11 in the 2018 World Series and 2019 NLDS show, he’s had clunkers as well.

At 32, however, the future Hall of Famer may have turned a corner. Kershaw (6-2, 2.16 in the regular season) was brilliant while tossing eight scoreless innings and striking out 13 against the Brewers in the first round, and he’ll try to do it again against Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and a flashy, hard-hitting “Slam Diego” Padres team.

San Diego will counter with Zach Davies, who was 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA in the regular season.