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Wednesday LCS open thread

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Both series got a lot more interesting yesterday with dramatic, last at-bat comebacks by the trailing teams. Can the Dodgers and Astros keep the momentum going?

MLB: NLCS-Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

OK, now we’ve got ourselves some series.

Both the ALCS and NLCS underwent dramatic momentum shifts in a pair of classic games yesterday. The Braves and the Red Sox — each of whom led in the eighth inning, and were a mere few outs away from taking a commanding lead in the series — each found themselves on the wrong end of a stunning, come-from-behind victory by the opposition that turned the series on its head.

The Braves held a seemingly comfortable three-run lead with one out in the eighth, poised to win their third straight game and put themselves in position to sweep today. Instead, Cody Bellinger crushed a game-tying Earl Weaver special on a pitch about head-high, Mookie Betts roped a go-ahead RBI double, and the heavily favored Dodgers finally showed signs of life in sealing their first victory of the series.

Meanwhile, Boston’s defeat was arguably even more painful. They’d held the slugging Astros in check for the first seven innings, but Jose Altuve tied the game with a homer off relief ace Garrett Whitlock in the eighth. In the ninth, with two on and two out, Nathan Eovaldi thought he had strike three on Jason Castro, but Laz Diaz didn’t give him the call. With new life, Castro singled home the go-ahead run and opened the floodgates, the first of seven straight batters to reach base as Houston scored seven runs for a 9-2 win. I would feel bad for the home fans if they weren’t, you know, Red Sox fans.

Now, two series that seemed all but wrapped up are wide open again. This is getting fun.

Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox, Game 5, 5:08, FS1 (series tied, 2-2)

Framber Valdez vs. Chris Sale

It’s a battle of lefties at Fenway, though neither is likely to go far in the game, if their postseason performances so far are any indication. Valdez didn’t get through the fifth inning in his ALDS start, giving up four runs in 4.1 innings to the White Sox, and his Game 1 start in this ALCS lasted only 2.2 frames. Sale, meanwhile, was pulled in the third inning of Game 1 after allowing five hits, and his ALDS start against the Rays was even worse, a one-run, five-inning disaster in which he coughed up a grand slam. Look for the bullpens to be pressed into early service again, which could of course include other starting pitchers used as relievers.

Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers, Game 4, 8:08, TBS (Braves lead, 2-1)

Huascar Ynoa vs. Julio Urias

The Dodgers, coming off their dramatic win, get to hand the ball to their 20-game winner, Urias, for Game 4. Again, though, how deep into the game he can pitch is a question, considering he controversially was used in relief in Game 2 of the series and blew the game in the eighth. Urias did pitch well in the NLDS against the Giants, throwing nine innings — one start, one long relief appearance — and giving up just two runs. The Braves are planning to go with a bullpen game, led by Ynoa, who pitched one relief inning in the NLDS and gave up two runs.

Astros lineup:

2B Jose Altuve
LF Michael Brantley
3B Alex Bregman
DH Yordan Alvarez
SS Carlos Correa
RF Kyle Tucker
1B Yuli Gurriel
CF Jose Siri
C Martin Maldonado

LHP Framber Valdez

Red Sox lineup:

CF Enrique Hernandez
1B Kyle Schwarber
SS Xander Bogaerts
3B Rafael Devers
DH J.D. Martinez
RF Hunter Renfroe
LF Alex Verdugo
2B Christian Arroyo
C Christian Vazquez