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Thread: Cnotes MLB Best Bets - Trends - News Thru the World Series !

  1. #2151  
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    Oops: Ump admits he was 'dead wrong' on Granderson call
    October 19, 2017



    A home plate umpire admitted he was "dead wrong" after a call that led to Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon's ejection on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.


    After conferring with his crew, ump Jim Wolf ruled that the Dodgers' Curtis Granderson fouled off a two-strike pitch in the dirt that in-house replay appeared to show he did not make contact with as Chicago led 3-2 in the eighth inning.


    Wolf originally called Granderson out before Dodgers manager Dave Roberts protested. The umpires met, but did not call for a crew chief replay review, before Wolf overturned the decision.


    Maddon emerged to argue the call to all six umpires and was subsequently ejected for the second time in the series.


    As it turns out, Maddon was dead right.


    "(I was) dead wrong," Wolf told a pool reporter after the game. "I talked myself into the whole thing."


    Granderson proceeded to strike out on the next pitch and the Cubs held on for a 3-2 victory.


    That fact did not assuage Maddon after the game.


    "I'm not gonna sit here and bang on umpires," Maddon told reporters. "... But that can't happen. The process was horrible. To have that changed -- if Granderson hits the next pitch out, I might come running out of the clubhouse in my jockstrap."


    Wolf said he heard "two distinct, separate sounds" on the play, the first being what he thought was the ball bouncing in the dirt in front of catcher Willson Contreras.


    The play is not currently reviewable under MLB rules.


    Maddon was ejected in Game 1 after arguing a play at the plate that was overturned due to the slide rule.


    Los Angeles leads the best-of-seven series 3-1. Game 5 is Thursday night in Chicago.
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    LEADING OFF: Cubs face Dodgers' Kershaw trailing 3-1 in NLCS
    October 19, 2017


    A look at what's happening all around the majors today:



    ANOTHER DAY


    The Cubs finally broke through for a win against the Dodgers in their NL Championship Series, but now they have to contend with ace Clayton Kershaw in Game 5. Kershaw limited Chicago to two runs over five innings in Game 1, a 5-2 win for Los Angeles. It's a tough matchup for the Cubs, who are averaging 2.7 runs over nine postseason games - including a 9-8 win over Washington in NLDS Game 5.


    Manager Joe Maddon will have work to do managing Chicago's bullpen. Closer Wade Davis held on for a six-out save in Game 4, but that means the Cubs will have to look elsewhere for the late innings in Game 5. That's problematic, since Chicago's other relievers allowed eight runs over the first three games. Of course, Maddon will have to stay in the game long enough to make those calls - he was ejected Wednesday for the second time in the series.


    TAKE A BREAK


    Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and the slumping Astros get a day off, trailing the Yankees 3-2 in the AL Championship Series. Neither team is planning a workout at Minute Maid Park.


    Houston led the majors in batting and scoring this season, but is hitting just .147 overall and has totaled only nine runs in the ALCS. George Springer and Josh Reddick, the 1-2 hitters in the Astros' lineup, are a combined 2 for 35.


    Veterans Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann both spoke to the Astros after a 5-0 loss Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. ''Everything is OK. ... We have the home-field advantage,'' Altuve said. ''They did what they have to do, win their home games. Now it's our turn.''

    FOR HIRE



    Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa has left the Diamondbacks' organization, less than two weeks after Arizona lost the NL wild-card game to Colorado. He served as chief baseball officer in 2015-16 and became chief baseball analyst when the new regime of general manager Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo arrived last spring.


    The 73-year-old La Russa won three World Series championships as a manager - two with St. Louis, one with Oakland - worked as an Major League Baseball executive and played in the bigs as an infielder.
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  3. #2153  
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    MLB Playoff Record:.........


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD ( Best Bets & Opinions )


    10/18/2017 1-3-0 25.00% -11.60
    10/17/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -1.30
    10/16/2017 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    10/15/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0.00
    10/14/2017 0-3-1 0.00% -15.50
    10/13/2017 1-1-0 50.00%.....+0.00
    10/12/2017 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50
    10/11/2017 3-1-0 75.00% +15.50
    10/09/2017 2-5-0 28.57% -16.75
    10/08/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -2.30
    10/07/2017 1-3-0 25.00% -10.50
    10/06/2017.......5-2-0......71.43%.....+16.25
    10/05/2017 ......1-3-0 .....25.00%..... -10.50
    10/04/2017 ......1-1-0..... 50.00%....... -0.50


    Total:...............22 -27......44.89%.......-27.70


    ****************************


    Best Bets:......................ATS.................... ...TOTAL.....................TOTAL O/U


    10/18/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00...........................1 - 1......-1.00
    10/17/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... .....1 - 1.......-1.00
    10/16/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... ....1 - 0........+5.00
    10/15/2017.................0 - 1........................-5.00.........................1 - 0........+5.00
    10/14/2017.................0 - 2......................-10.00..........................0-0-1......+0.00
    10/13/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00...........................1 - 0.......+5.00
    10/12/2017.................0 - 0........................0.00..................... ......0 - 1........-5.50
    10/11/2017.................2 - 0.......................+15.00.................... ...0 - 1........-5.50
    10/09/2017.................0 - 1.......................- 5.00..........................1 - 3........-11.50
    10/08/2017.................0 - 0........................00.00.................... .....2 - 0.......+10.00
    10/07/2017.................0 - 2.......................-10.00.........................1-0-1.......+5.00
    10/06/2017.................1 - 1.......................-1.00...........................3 - 1........+9.50
    10/05/2017.................0 - 2.......................-10.00.........................1 - 1........-1.00
    10/04/2017.................1 - 0.......................+ 5.00.........................0 - 1.......- 5.50




    TOTAL:........................4 - 10....................- 26.00.......................13-11-2.......+8.50







    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS



    LAD at CHC 08:00 PM


    CHC +130 *****


    O 7.0 *****
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  4. #2154  
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    No title repeat: Cubs bow out in Game 5 against Dodgers
    October 20, 2017



    CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Cubs went 108 years between championships. Going home without a trophy isn't really new.


    Still, it was jarring to see the reigning World Series champions go down without much of a fight.


    After twice fending off elimination during their October title defense, the Cubs had nothing left for Game 5 of their NL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.


    Jose Quintana got knocked out early, the offense was shut down by Clayton Kershaw and the Cubs fell 11-1 on Thursday night after getting outplayed throughout the series.


    The Cubs slumped early in the season, a year after rallying to beat Cleveland for their first World Series title since 1908. But in the second half, they looked more like their old selves, pushing for a second straight NL Central title and then advancing to the NLCS for the third straight year after winning a wild Game 5 at Washington in the NLDS.


    They just couldn't hang with the 104-win Dodgers.


    ''I think if you look at this series, they did exactly what they needed to do to beat (us),'' star slugger Anthony Rizzo said. ''They executed their plan. They pitched great and the bullpen was lights out. That makes for a tough time scoring runs.''


    Chicago beat Los Angeles in last year's NLCS, but this time, the Cubs were left to watch as the Dodgers celebrated at Wrigley Field. It's the second time in three years they've been through this - the Mets finished a four-game sweep at Wrigley in the 2015 NLCS.


    They didn't have a choice this time, not with how they hit and pitched in the series.


    ''This year really illustrates the importance of getting off to a good start,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ''We didn't, and then we had to fight back, which we did. I said you can, but you're understanding when you find out you do that, it really expends a lot of energy when you get back into it, which we did.''


    The Cubs batted just .156, drew five walks compared to 28 for Los Angeles and scored eight runs in the series - all on home runs. They didn't sustain rallies or wear down pitchers. Trailing 3-0, they won Game 4 for a fifth straight victory when facing elimination - including three in last year's World Series. But one club can only overcome so much.


    Fatigue may have been a factor. Chicago has played more games than any other team since the start of the 2015 season. Counting the playoffs, that total is 522.


    Reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant acknowledged he was feeling it after going 4 for 20 in the series.


    ''It caught up to me, at least,'' he said. ''I feel pretty drained, but it's always a good thing when you're the teams that are playing later in the year.''


    He wasn't the only Cubs slugger to struggle.


    Rizzo had one hit in 17 at-bats in the NLCS. Javier Baez went hitless in his first 20 playoff at-bats before knocking two home runs in Game 4 to help the Cubs avoid the sweep. But in Game 5, they were overwhelmed right from the start.


    Enrique Hernandez hit three homers, and the Dodgers wasted no time jumping on Quintana. Acquired from the White Sox in a midseason trade, he gave up six runs in two-plus innings.


    The way the Cubs were hitting in these playoffs, it was clear they weren't coming back. Particularly, the way Kershaw was pitching.


    The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner held them to a run and three hits in six innings.


    He didn't give up a hit until Bryant homered in the fourth. But all that did was make it 9-1.


    ''Sometimes you're not always gonna be in the World Series,'' Jon Lester said. ''The Dodgers are a really good team. They're playing really good baseball right now. This series showed it.''
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    Hernandez hits 3 HRs, Dodgers top Cubs to reach World Series
    October 19, 2017

    CHICAGO (AP) Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.


    Fueled by a home run trilogy from their emotional utilityman, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.


    Hernandez homered three times and drove in a record seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 rout in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.


    ''It feels good to hear World Series,'' Kershaw said. ''It's been a long time coming for this team.''


    After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping these Dodgers after they led the majors with 104 wins during the regular season. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and co-NLCS MVPs Justin Turner and Chris Taylor leading a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Co. to Los Angeles' last championship in 1988.


    ''Every night it is a different guy,'' Turner said, ''and this is one of the most unbelievable teams I've ever been a part of.''


    Kershaw will be on the mound again when the Dodgers host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 of the ALCS at Houston on Friday night, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.


    Los Angeles made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short of its 22nd pennant each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when his team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year's NLCS at Wrigley Field.


    The ace left-hander was just OK during his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' offense picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts and improved to 6-7 in the playoffs - matching Burt Hooton's club record for postseason wins.


    ''To get to be on the mound tonight and get to be going to the World Series on the same night, it's a special thing,'' Kershaw said. ''Who knows how many times I'm going to get to go to the World Series? I know more than anybody how hard it is to get there. So, I'm definitely not taking this one for granted.''


    When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the final out, the party was on . The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small but vocal group of Los Angeles fans gathered behind the visitors' dugout and chanted ''Let's go Dodgers! Let's go Dodgers!''


    On the field, manager Dave Roberts hugged Lasorda and told the iconic skipper the win was for him.


    ''I bleed Dodger blue just like you,'' Roberts said. ''Thank you, Tommy.''


    Hernandez connected on the first two pitches he saw, belting a solo drive in the second for his first career playoff homer and then a grand slam in the third against Hector Rondon. Hernandez added a two-run shot in the ninth against Mike Montgomery.


    The 26-year-old Hernandez became the fourth player with a three-homer game in a league championship series, joining Bob Robertson (1971 NLCS), George Brett (1978 ALCS) and Adam Kennedy (2002 ALCS). Hernandez's seven RBIs tied a postseason record shared by four other players who all did it in a Division Series.


    Troy O'Leary was the previous player to have seven RBIs in a playoff game, for Boston at Cleveland in the 1999 ALDS.


    It was a stunning display for a player with 28 career homers who remains concerned about his native Puerto Rico, which is recovering from a devastating hurricane. He delivered a historic performance in front of his father, Enrique Hernandez Sr., who was diagnosed with a blood cancer related to leukemia in December 2015, but got word last November that he was in remission.


    ''For me to be able to come here and do something like this is pretty special,'' said Hernandez, who also goes by Kik�. ''My body's here, but my mind's kind of back home. It's hard being away from home with what's going on.


    ''All I want to do right now is go to my dad and give him a big hug.''


    Kris Bryant homered for Chicago, but the NL Central champions finished with just four hits in another tough night at the plate. Each of their eight runs in the NLCS came via the long ball, and they batted just .156 for the series with 53 strikeouts.


    Long playoff runs in each of the last two years and a grueling five-game Division Series against Washington seemed to sap Chicago of some energy, and its pitching faltered against sweet-swinging Los Angeles. Jose Quintana was pulled in the third inning of the final game, and the Cubs never recovered.


    ''They executed their plan,'' Bryant said. ''They pitched great and the bullpen was lights out. That makes for a tough time scoring runs.''


    Turner and Taylor helped put it away for Los Angeles, contributing to a 16-hit outburst while closing out a pair of impressive performances.


    Turner singled home Taylor in the Dodgers' five-run third, giving him seven RBIs in the series and 24 throughout his postseason career. Taylor finished with two hits and scored two runs as the Dodgers, who have won five straight NL West titles, improved to 7-1 in this postseason.


    Taylor's versatility helped Los Angeles cover for the loss of All-Star shortstop Corey Seager, who missed the series with a back injury, but is expected to return in the next round. Coming off a breakout season, the 27-year-old Taylor hit .316 with two homers and scored five times against the Cubs.


    ''I couldn't be happier to be a part of this and be with these guys,'' Taylor said. ''It's been an unbelievable year, and I'm just super excited.''


    OUT WITH A BANG


    Hernandez joined Kennedy (2002), Adrian Beltre (2011), Reggie Jackson (1977 vs. the Dodgers) and Babe Ruth (1928) as players to hit three home runs in a postseason series clincher.

    LIGHTS OUT

    Dodgers relievers have thrown 23 consecutive scoreless innings, a postseason record.
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  6. #2156  
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    MLB Playoff Record:.........


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD ( Best Bets & Opinions )


    10/19/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0
    10/18/2017 1-3-0 25.00% -11.60
    10/17/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -1.30
    10/16/2017 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    10/15/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0.00
    10/14/2017 0-3-1 0.00% -15.50
    10/13/2017 1-1-0 50.00%.....+0.00
    10/12/2017 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50
    10/11/2017 3-1-0 75.00% +15.50
    10/09/2017 2-5-0 28.57% -16.75
    10/08/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -2.30
    10/07/2017 1-3-0 25.00% -10.50
    10/06/2017.......5-2-0......71.43%.....+16.25
    10/05/2017 ......1-3-0 .....25.00%..... -10.50
    10/04/2017 ......1-1-0..... 50.00%....... -0.50


    Total:...............23 -28......45.09%.......-27.70


    ****************************


    Best Bets:......................ATS.................... ...TOTAL.....................TOTAL O/U


    10/19/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00............................1 - 0......+5.00
    10/18/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... ......1 - 1......-1.00
    10/17/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... .....1 - 1.......-1.00
    10/16/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... ....1 - 0........+5.00
    10/15/2017.................0 - 1........................-5.00.........................1 - 0........+5.00
    10/14/2017.................0 - 2......................-10.00..........................0-0-1......+0.00
    10/13/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00...........................1 - 0.......+5.00
    10/12/2017.................0 - 0........................0.00..................... ......0 - 1........-5.50
    10/11/2017.................2 - 0.......................+15.00.................... ...0 - 1........-5.50
    10/09/2017.................0 - 1.......................- 5.00..........................1 - 3........-11.50
    10/08/2017.................0 - 0........................00.00.................... .....2 - 0.......+10.00
    10/07/2017.................0 - 2.......................-10.00.........................1-0-1.......+5.00
    10/06/2017.................1 - 1.......................-1.00...........................3 - 1........+9.50
    10/05/2017.................0 - 2.......................-10.00.........................1 - 1........-1.00
    10/04/2017.................1 - 0.......................+ 5.00.........................0 - 1.......- 5.50




    TOTAL:........................4 - 11..................- 31.00.....................14-11-2.......+13.50
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    Armadillo: Friday's six-pack


    More NFL trends with Week 7 upon us……..


    — Saints are 11-2 vs spread in last 13 games away from home.


    — Minnesota is 15-5 vs spread in last 20 home games.


    — 49ers covered six of their last eight games.


    — Miami is 12-32-1 in last 45 games as a home favorite.


    — Washington is 16-8 vs spread in its last 24 games.


    — Buffalo is 8-4 vs spread coming off its last 12 byes.




    **********


    Armadillo: Friday's List of 13: Things I’m looking for this weekend


    13) How tired are the Falcons of hearing about last year’s Super Bowl? Now they get to visit Foxboro the week after blowing a 17-0 halftime lead to Miami. Matt Ryan went to Boston College, so a homecoming of sorts for him.


    12) Michigan beat Penn State 49-10 last year; Wolverines are 5-1, but it is a shaky 5-1 and they are playing a backup QB- they needed OT to beat Indiana last week.


    11) Brett Hundley gets his first NFL start at home against New Orleans; no pressure, replacing Aaron Rodgers �� Saints are actually a road favorite in this game.


    10) Arizona Wildcats ran ball for 882 yards in their last two games; now they’re a road favorite at Cal— Golden Bears upset Washington State last week. Interesting game.


    9) First round of rematches this weekend, three of them. Can the Jets sweep Miami? Eagles sweep Washington? Denver sweep the Chargers?


    8) USC-Notre Dame is a stellar primetime game Saturday night. Trojans lost their last two visits to South Bend.


    7) Cardinals-Rams in England is a big game in NFC West; Adrian Peterson added a running element to the Arizona offense last week. Both teams are a LONG way from home.


    6) Think the boosters in Knoxville are happy that Tennessee is a 35-point underdog this week in Tuscaloosa? Hopefully Butch Jones has his resume updated, because he is going to need a job in a few weeks. His bank account will be healthy, though.


    5) Giants got their first win last week, now Seattle visits Swamp Stadium coming off its bye. Giants’ young WR’s will have hard time getting open against a stingy Seahawk defense.


    4) Texas is 3-3, losing to USC/Oklahoma by total of 8 points; now Oklahoma State comes calling, another tough game. State scored 48 ppg in winning its first three road games this year.


    3) Jacksonville is +11 in turnovers in its wins, -1 in its losses; they have a very winnable game in Indy against a Colt team that might be without Andrew Luck for the whole season now. Jacoby Brissett hasn’t played badly, but Indy has been outscored 85-22 in the 4th quarter this year.


    2) Louisville beat Florida State 63-20 LY, but Cardinals lost their last two games, allowing 84 points. Seminoles are struggling (2-3) with a true freshman QB who is skinny as hell- their only two wins are over Wake Forest/Duke.


    1) Trap game for the Titans, a road game after a Monday night win. Winless Browns are going back to DeShone Kizer at QB; maybe they should’ve drafted Deshaun Watson. Ya think?
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    MLB
    Dunkel


    Friday, October 20


    NY Yankees @ Houston


    Game 913-914
    October 20, 2017 @ 8:00 pm


    Dunkel Rating:
    NY Yankees
    (Severino) 19.133
    Houston
    (Verlnder) 16.681
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    NY Yankees
    by 2 1/2
    8
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Houston
    -140
    7 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    NY Yankees
    (+120); Over









    MLB
    Long Sheet


    Friday, October 20



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    NY YANKEES (98 - 75) at HOUSTON (106 - 65) - 8:05 PM
    LUIS SEVERINO (R) vs. JUSTIN VERLANDER (R)
    Top Trends for this game.
    NY YANKEES are 19-32 (-13.3 Units) against the money line on the road when the money line is +125 to -125 this season.
    NY YANKEES are 11-17 (-10.7 Units) against the money line when playing on Friday this season.
    NY YANKEES are 17-29 (-14.3 Units) against the money line in road games after a win this season.
    NY YANKEES are 8-18 (-13.2 Units) against the money line in road games after 3 or more consecutive wins over the last 3 seasons.
    HOUSTON is 106-65 (+12.7 Units) against the money line in all games this season.
    HOUSTON is 83-40 (+25.2 Units) against the money line against right-handed starters this season.
    HOUSTON is 18-6 (+11.9 Units) against the money line after getting shut out over the last 3 seasons.
    NY YANKEES are 53-35 (+16.4 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
    NY YANKEES are 65-54 (+12.2 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
    HOUSTON is 61-55 (-21.0 Units) against the money line in home games in night games over the last 2 seasons.
    HOUSTON is 36-39 (-15.0 Units) against the money line in home games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    HOUSTON is 7-5 (+1.6 Units) against NY YANKEES this season
    7 of 12 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=+1.6 Units)

    LUIS SEVERINO vs. HOUSTON since 1997
    SEVERINO is 0-1 when starting against HOUSTON with an ERA of 7.72 and a WHIP of 1.973.
    His team's record is 1-2 (-1.1 units) in these starts. The OVER is 2-1. (+1.0 units)

    JUSTIN VERLANDER vs. NY YANKEES since 1997
    VERLANDER is 9-7 when starting against NY YANKEES with an ERA of 3.64 and a WHIP of 1.298.
    His team's record is 11-12 (-2.6 units) in these starts. The UNDER is 9-12. (-4.4 units)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------







    MLB
    Armadillo's Write-Up


    Friday, October 20



    New York @ Houston
    Astros are 7-5 against New York this season, winning four of five at home. Houston scored total of nine runs in first five games in this series, all won by the home team.


    Severino is 1-0, 5.56 in three playoff starts this season; he is 4-0, 3.27 in his last eight starts overall. Over is 5-3 in his last eight starts. New York is 9-7 in his road starts this season. He is 0-1, 7.71 in three starts vs Houston this season.


    Verlander is 7-0, 1.29 in seven starts for Houston; he also won a game in relief. Under is 8-2 in his last ten starts. Astros are 4-0 in his home starts. Verlander is 1-0, 1.00 vs New York this season; he is 10-5, 3.19 in 19 career playoff games (18 starts).








    MLB

    Friday, October 20


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trend Report
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    NY YANKEES @ HOUSTON
    NY Yankees is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Houston
    NY Yankees is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
    Houston is 15-2 SU in its last 17 games at home
    Houston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against NY Yankees
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    Friday's ALCS Playoff Betting Preview And Odds: Yankees at Astros


    The Astros left home a few days ago feeling very good about their chances to win the American League pennant, but returned home with a very different feeling.


    New York Yankees at Houston Astros (NYY +124, HOU -134, O/U 7.5)


    Yankees lead series 3-2


    The Houston Astros left home a few days ago feeling very good about their chances to win the American League pennant and advance to the second World Series in franchise history, but returned home with a very different feeling. The Astros will try to stay alive one more day and force a decisive Game 7 of the AL Championship Series when they host the New York Yankees in Game 6 on Friday.


    Houston won the first two games at home but totaled only nine runs in the series after leading the majors in scoring with 896 runs during the regular season, and it is looking for more from George Springer (2-for-18 in the series) and Josh Reddick (0-for-17) at home in Game 6. "It will be great," Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters of getting back to Houston. "There weren't a lot rooting for us here. I think getting home will be good for us. We'll have an off day (Thursday), and then get to play in front of our home crowd. Every home team has won this series, if that trend continues, we'll be in pretty good shape." The Yankees finally found their offense at home while winning all three games, and are starting to get production from Aaron Judge (4-for-9, two homers, six RBIs in the last three games) and Gary Sanchez, who drove in five runs in the last two contests. "I give our guys a lot of credit for how resilient they are, and how they continue to fight and never give up and understand, take it one game at a time and don't panic," New York manager Joe Girardi told reporters. "And just continue to fight."

    TV:
    8:08 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

    INJURY REPORT:



    Yankees - SP L. Severino (Probable, Shoulder), SP L. Cessa (Out For Season, Ribs), SP M. Pineda (Out For Season, Elbow).


    Astros - CF J. Marisnick (Out For Season, Thumb), SP D. Paulino (Out For Season, Suspension), RP J. Gustave (Out For Season, Elbow).

    PITCHING MATCHUP:
    Yankees RH Luis Severino (1-0, 5.56 ERA) vs. Astros RH Justin Verlander (3-0, 2.04)


    Severino is hoping to go deeper into Game 6 after being lifted from Game 2 following the fourth inning, when he struggled to get loose and was hit in the wrist by a comebacker. The 23-year-old Dominican was checked out by doctors and quickly cleared. Severino surrendered a solo home run to Carlos Correa in that outing and was strong in his lone AL Division Series appearance, yielding three runs and four hits in seven innings against Cleveland.


    Verlander went up against Severino in Game 2 and earned the win while hurling a 124-pitch complete game. The former AL MVP yielded one run and five hits while striking out 13 and walking one to earn his third win in as many 2017 postseason appearances. Verlander is 8-0 with a 1.39 ERA in eight appearances since arriving in a trade from the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 31.

    TRENDS:



    * Yankees are 1-7 in their last 8 playoff road games.
    * Yankees are 15-3 in Severino's last 18 starts.
    * Astros are 13-3 in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
    * Astros are 7-0 in Verlander's 7 starts since joining Houston.
    * Over is 12-3 in Severino's last 15 starts overall.
    * Under is 8-0 in Astros' last 8 home games vs. a right-handed starter.
    * Over is 17-6-3 in Jim Reynolds' last 26 games behind home plate.


    CONSENSUS: The public is siding with the home chalk Astros at a rate of 74 percent and the Over is picking up 57 percent of the totals action.
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    MLB Playoff Record:.........


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD ( Best Bets & Opinions )


    10/19/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0
    10/18/2017 1-3-0 25.00% -11.60
    10/17/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -1.30
    10/16/2017 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    10/15/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0.00
    10/14/2017 0-3-1 0.00% -15.50
    10/13/2017 1-1-0 50.00%.....+0.00
    10/12/2017 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50
    10/11/2017 3-1-0 75.00% +15.50
    10/09/2017 2-5-0 28.57% -16.75
    10/08/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -2.30
    10/07/2017 1-3-0 25.00% -10.50
    10/06/2017.......5-2-0......71.43%.....+16.25
    10/05/2017 ......1-3-0 .....25.00%..... -10.50
    10/04/2017 ......1-1-0..... 50.00%....... -0.50


    Total:...............23 -28......45.09%.......-27.70


    ****************************


    Best Bets:......................ATS.................... ...TOTAL.....................TOTAL O/U


    10/19/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00............................1 - 0......+5.00
    10/18/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... ......1 - 1......-1.00
    10/17/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... .....1 - 1.......-1.00
    10/16/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... ....1 - 0........+5.00
    10/15/2017.................0 - 1........................-5.00.........................1 - 0........+5.00
    10/14/2017.................0 - 2......................-10.00..........................0-0-1......+0.00
    10/13/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00...........................1 - 0.......+5.00
    10/12/2017.................0 - 0........................0.00..................... ......0 - 1........-5.50
    10/11/2017.................2 - 0.......................+15.00.................... ...0 - 1........-5.50
    10/09/2017.................0 - 1.......................- 5.00..........................1 - 3........-11.50
    10/08/2017.................0 - 0........................00.00.................... .....2 - 0.......+10.00
    10/07/2017.................0 - 2.......................-10.00.........................1-0-1.......+5.00
    10/06/2017.................1 - 1.......................-1.00...........................3 - 1........+9.50
    10/05/2017.................0 - 2.......................-10.00.........................1 - 1........-1.00
    10/04/2017.................1 - 0.......................+ 5.00.........................0 - 1.......- 5.50




    TOTAL:........................4 - 11..................- 31.00.....................14-11-2.......+13.50



    ****************************


    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20


    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    NYY at HOU 08:00 PM


    NYY +115 *****


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    Yankees face elimination again, this time in ALCS Game 7
    October 20, 2017



    HOUSTON (AP) The New York Yankees will have to win one more elimination game to get to their first World Series since 2009.


    This time, the Baby Bombers are going to a Game 7 after missing a chance to close out the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros.


    Luis Severino had another abbreviated start in Houston and Aaron Judge struck out two more times to match a major league record for strikeouts in a postseason before a towering home run in the Yankees' 7-1 loss in Game 6 on Friday night.


    With a series lead for the first time this postseason after winning all three ALCS games in the Bronx, the Yankees were again stifled by Justin Verlander - just like in Game 2. The big right-hander didn't go the distance this time, but he did get his ninth win in nine appearances since being acquired by Houston.


    New York will have veteran left-hander CC Sabathia on the mound for Game 7 on Saturday night. Sabathia, reliever David Robertson and left fielder Brett Gardner are the only holdovers from the Yankees' last World Series team eight years ago - in Joe Girardi's second season as their manager.


    It will be the first Game 7 for the Yankees since the 2004 ALCS, when the Boston Red Sox came back to claim the AL pennant after losing the first three games in that series.


    The Yankees haven't lost when facing elimination this postseason. After beating Minnesota in the win-or-go-home AL wild-card game, New York lost the first two games in the best-of-five AL Division Series against Cleveland before winning three straight to advance.


    Judge's third homer of this series - he hit two in New York - was a soaring shot off reliever Brad Peacock in the eighth projected to 425 feet by Statcast.


    But in his other three at-bats, Judge grounded into a double play and struck out twice. That's 26 strikeouts this postseason for the rookie slugger, matching the record set by Alfonso Soriano while with the Yankees in 2003.


    Severino got into trouble against the bottom half of the Astros order in the fifth. After No. 6 batter Alex Bregman walked to lead off, Evan Gattis drew a one-out walk and No. 9 batter Brian McCann got his first hit in the ALCS with a ground-rule double that drove in the first run.


    George Springer, the Astros leadoff hitter still hitless in the ALCS, then drew a walk, and Jose Altuve ended an 0-for-12 slide with a two-run single that made it 3-0 and chased Severino.


    Severino threw only 62 pitches - exactly half as many as Verlander - in Game 2. The 23-year-old right-hander didn't even take the mound for the fifth in that game after he uncharacteristically wound his arm several times after giving up a solo homer to Carlos Correa, and was struck on the wrist of his non-throwing hand on the last out.


    Robertson gave up a solo homer to Altuve, and four runs without recording an out, in the eighth.


    Verlander has thrown 16 scoreless innings and won twice against the Yankees in the ALCS.


    The closest the Yankees came to scoring against Verlander in Game 6 was after Greg Bird drew a walk to lead off the seventh and Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch - though Girardi had to issue a replay challenge after home plate umpire Jim Reynolds initially just called the pitch a ball. The ball clearly hit off Castro's arm.


    But Aaron Hicks struck out and Todd Frazier hit a deep drive to center field, where Springer made a leaping catch on the warning track and came down against the wall. Chase Headley, already with two more hits Friday to give him seven in nine at-bats after starting the postseason 0 for 18, then ended the inning with a groundout.


    In Game 2, Verlander had already thrown the last of his 124 pitches before Altuve's dash from first base to score on Carlos Correa's double in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 2-1 victory that had put the Astros up 2-0 in the series.
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    MLB notebook: Baker out as Nationals manager
    October 20, 2017



    The Washington Nationals have won four National League East division titles since 2012 under three different managers.


    But the Nationals are still looking for a postseason series win and some stability in the dugout, as the club announced Friday that manager Dusty Baker will not return in 2018 after his two-year contract expired.


    The Nationals won the National League East in both seasons under Baker in 2016 and 2017 and lost at home in Game 5 each year in the NLDS. Washington won 95 games in the first year under Baker and was 97-65 this season, winning the division by 20 games.


    "I'm surprised and disappointed," the 68-year-old Baker told USA Today Sports.


    --The Detroit Tigers opted for experience in their managerial search and announced the appointment of Ron Gardenhire to run the club with a three-year contract.


    Gardenhire, who turns 60 on Tuesday, is deeply familiar with the American League Central after spending 13 seasons in the division as manager of the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota made six postseason appearances during his tenure from 2002-2014.

    --Nationals
    second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent surgery to repair damage to the articular cartilage in his right knee, the team announced.


    Murphy, 32, will begin the rehab process immediately.


    He never revealed he was dealing with any injury.


    Murphy hit .322 with 23 home runs and 93 RBIs in 144 games in 2017, his second season with the Nationals after spending the first part of his career with the New York Mets.

    --Tigers general manager Al Avila
    announced that the team will not pick up the $16 million club option on right-hander Anibal Sanchez.


    Instead the Tigers will pay him a $5 million buyout.


    Sanchez, 34, had a difficult season. He was 3-7 with a 6.41 ERA in 28 appearances, including 17 starts. He allowed 26 home runs in 105 1/3 innings.


    Sanchez accepted a demotion to Triple-A Toledo during the season with the hope that it would help him regain a spot in the Tigers' rotation. He started nine games for the Tigers after August 1 and was 0-6 with a 4.88 ERA in those contests.
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    MLB Playoff Record:.........


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD ( Best Bets & Opinions )


    10/20/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0
    10/19/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0
    10/18/2017 1-3-0 25.00% -11.60
    10/17/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -1.30
    10/16/2017 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    10/15/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0.00
    10/14/2017 0-3-1 0.00% -15.50
    10/13/2017 1-1-0 50.00%.....+0.00
    10/12/2017 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50
    10/11/2017 3-1-0 75.00% +15.50
    10/09/2017 2-5-0 28.57% -16.75
    10/08/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -2.30
    10/07/2017 1-3-0 25.00% -10.50
    10/06/2017.......5-2-0......71.43%.....+16.25
    10/05/2017 ......1-3-0 .....25.00%..... -10.50
    10/04/2017 ......1-1-0..... 50.00%....... -0.50


    Total:...............24 -29......45.28%.......-27.70


    ****************************


    Best Bets:......................ATS.................... ...TOTAL.....................TOTAL O/U


    10/20/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00............................1 - 0......+5.00
    10/19/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00............................1 - 0......+5.00
    10/18/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... ......1 - 1......-1.00
    10/17/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... .....1 - 1.......-1.00
    10/16/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... ....1 - 0........+5.00
    10/15/2017.................0 - 1........................-5.00.........................1 - 0........+5.00
    10/14/2017.................0 - 2......................-10.00..........................0-0-1......+0.00
    10/13/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00...........................1 - 0.......+5.00
    10/12/2017.................0 - 0........................0.00..................... ......0 - 1........-5.50
    10/11/2017.................2 - 0.......................+15.00.................... ...0 - 1........-5.50
    10/09/2017.................0 - 1.......................- 5.00..........................1 - 3........-11.50
    10/08/2017.................0 - 0........................00.00.................... .....2 - 0.......+10.00
    10/07/2017.................0 - 2.......................-10.00.........................1-0-1.......+5.00
    10/06/2017.................1 - 1.......................-1.00...........................3 - 1........+9.50
    10/05/2017.................0 - 2.......................-10.00.........................1 - 1........-1.00
    10/04/2017.................1 - 0.......................+ 5.00.........................0 - 1.......- 5.50




    TOTAL:........................4 - 12..................- 36.00.....................15-11-2.......+18.50
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  14. #2164  
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    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21


    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    NYY at HOU 08:00 PM

    NYY +120*****


    O 8.0 *****
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    MLB Playoff Record:.........


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD ( Best Bets & Opinions )


    10/21/2017 0-2-0 0.00% -10.50
    10/20/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0
    10/19/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0
    10/18/2017 1-3-0 25.00% -11.60
    10/17/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -1.30
    10/16/2017 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    10/15/2017 1-1-0 50.00% +0.00
    10/14/2017 0-3-1 0.00% -15.50
    10/13/2017 1-1-0 50.00%.....+0.00
    10/12/2017 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50
    10/11/2017 3-1-0 75.00% +15.50
    10/09/2017 2-5-0 28.57% -16.75
    10/08/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -2.30
    10/07/2017 1-3-0 25.00% -10.50
    10/06/2017.......5-2-0......71.43%.....+16.25
    10/05/2017 ......1-3-0 .....25.00%..... -10.50
    10/04/2017 ......1-1-0..... 50.00%....... -0.50


    Total:...............24 -31......43.63%.......-28.20


    ****************************


    Best Bets:......................ATS.................... ...TOTAL.....................TOTAL O/U


    10/21/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00............................0 - 1......-5.50
    10/20/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00............................1 - 0......+5.00
    10/19/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00............................1 - 0......+5.00
    10/18/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... ......1 - 1......-1.00
    10/17/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... .....1 - 1.......-1.00
    10/16/2017.................0 - 0.......................+0.00..................... ....1 - 0........+5.00
    10/15/2017.................0 - 1........................-5.00.........................1 - 0........+5.00
    10/14/2017.................0 - 2......................-10.00..........................0-0-1......+0.00
    10/13/2017.................0 - 1.......................-5.00...........................1 - 0.......+5.00
    10/12/2017.................0 - 0........................0.00..................... ......0 - 1........-5.50
    10/11/2017.................2 - 0.......................+15.00.................... ...0 - 1........-5.50
    10/09/2017.................0 - 1.......................- 5.00..........................1 - 3........-11.50
    10/08/2017.................0 - 0........................00.00.................... .....2 - 0.......+10.00
    10/07/2017.................0 - 2.......................-10.00.........................1-0-1.......+5.00
    10/06/2017.................1 - 1.......................-1.00...........................3 - 1........+9.50
    10/05/2017.................0 - 2.......................-10.00.........................1 - 1........-1.00
    10/04/2017.................1 - 0.......................+ 5.00.........................0 - 1.......- 5.50




    TOTAL:........................4 - 13..................- 41.00.....................15-12-2.......+13.00
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    Six most popular picks for Week 7 in the Westgate Super Contest:


    6) Washington Redskins, +5 (681)


    5) San Francisco 49ers, +6.5 (687)


    4) Denver Broncos, +1.5 (729)


    3) Carolina Panthers, -3 (+750)


    2) Green Bay Packers, +5.5 (803)


    1) Cincinnati Bengals, +5.5 (810)


    Season record of top 6 picks: 15-21
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    Hot World Series on deck: Altuve, Astros vs Kershaw, Dodgers
    October 21, 2017



    Big-time aces Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander. Playoff boppers Jose Altuve and Justin Turner.


    A pair of 100-win teams for the first time in nearly a half-century. Hollywood Walk of Fame vs. Texans who wear the star. A little extra Magic, plus Nolan back in the fast lane.


    This is one hot World Series - the Houston Astros, fresh off a Game 7 victory over the Yankees, taking on the narrowly favored Los Angeles Dodgers, well rested after a postseason romp.


    Could be real steamy, too. It's supposed to be almost 100 degrees at Dodger Stadium for the opener Tuesday night, maybe the hottest temperature ever at a World Series game.


    ''Now we chase the ultimate prize,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ''There's two teams standing. It's a race to four wins now. At the start there's a race to 11, we've got seven of them down.''


    At least the familiar October chill that makes players and fans shiver shouldn't be an issue outdoors in sun-baked California or under the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park.


    Not that young stars Cody Bellinger and Carlos Correa would mind, nor would old pros Carlos Beltran and Chase Utley, nor top starters Dallas Keuchel and Yu Darvish.


    Because a chance to win a ring doesn't come very often - these teams that have already played more than 700 games against each other over the years already know that.


    The Astros have never won the crown. They're playing for a whole region, with the Houston Strong patches on their uniforms representing an area hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.


    ''There's a lot of people that are really hurting right now in this city,'' said Verlander, the ALCS MVP. ''And it gives the city something to rally around and gives people something to cheer for that otherwise may not have a lot to be hopeful for.''


    The Dodgers haven't been in the World Series since 1988, when Kirk Gibson's bat, Orel Hershiser's arm and Tommy Lasorda's moves outdid Oakland for the crown.


    Now with Lakers great Magic Johnson as a part-owner, this LA team that led the majors with 104 wins is hoping to bring back the glory days that began in Brooklyn.


    ''I just want to win a World Series,'' Kershaw said after the Dodgers dethroned the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series. ''I know more than anybody how hard it is to get there. So, I'm definitely not taking this one for granted.''


    Said mercurial outfielder Yasiel Puig: ''The trophy's coming soon.''


    The Astros, the major leagues' highest-scoring team this year, have never even won a World Series game. They only time they made it this far was 2005, when a club that included Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte got swept by the White Sox.


    In fact, a World Series prize is the one piece of hardware missing from the trophy case from the Lone Star State. Texas teams have won the Super Bowl and championships in the NBA, NHL, college football and men's and women's basketball, but never in baseball.


    Under the leadership of executive Nolan Ryan, the Texas Rangers came within one strike in 2011 before losing to St. Louis. The Ryan Express, who once pitched a no-hitter for Houston against the Dodgers, is currently an Astros exec.


    The Astros posted 101 wins this year - not since Baltimore (108) and Cincinnati (102) in 1970 has the World Series matched teams who reached triple-digits.


    These teams last met in 2015, when the Astros swept a three-game series at home. But they'd seen a lot of each other in the past.


    Overall, the Dodgers are 388-323 vs. the Astros. Houston debuted as the Colt .45s as a National League expansion team in 1962, beat the Dodgers in a one-game playoff for the NL West championship in 1980 and eventually moved to the AL in 2013.


    That first year in the AL, the young Astros got pounded and lost 111 times. But with smart drafts and player development, Houston emerged as a power. Hinch's club capped its rise by beating Boston in the AL Division Series, then stopping the Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the ALCS.


    The Dodgers, with a major league-high $226 million payroll, won their fifth straight NL West title this year, then 7-1 in the playoffs against the Diamondbacks and Cubs under manager Dave Roberts.


    The result? Their first pennant since 1988 - the year Kershaw was born.
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    Dodgers sitting pretty at home, waiting for World Series foe
    October 21, 2017



    LOS ANGELES (AP) No matter which opponent emerged from the seven-game AL Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers could watch from home knowing they're sitting pretty.


    The Dodgers earned a four-day break before the World Series through their quick resolution of the NLCS, which ended Thursday in Chicago with Los Angeles' seventh win in eight playoff games. The extended breaks between their two brief playoff series have allowed the 104-win Dodgers to keep their starting rotation in order and on full rest, and to give plenty of recovery time to their dominant bullpen.


    ''It's crucial, not only in setting the rotation,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Saturday before the Yankees and Astros played Game 7. ''Knowing what goes into the (playoffs), to come back home and reset mentally and physically has been a huge benefit to us.''


    It might even be enough time for All-Star shortstop Corey Seager to return from the back injury that kept him out of the NLCS. Roberts said he is ''very optimistic'' Seager will be available for Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night, but the Dodgers are unlikely to make their final decision for a few days.


    ''I know Corey doesn't want to be denied,'' Roberts said.


    The benefits of the Dodgers' major league-best regular season have echoed deep into October, where they're the first team to get home-field advantage in the World Series due to their superior record since baseball dropped the All-Star Game result as the determining factor.


    The Dodgers opened both of their NL playoff series at home, and they've made only two round-trip plane flights this month, spending just a handful of nights away from home. They finished off both opponents on the road and hurried back to LA, playing only one game over the minimum necessary to reach the World Series and largely staying healthy, outside of Seager's injury.


    ''We're in good shape,'' Roberts said. ''And fortunately, with the length of that (last) series, we didn't have to overuse our guys, and give our guys in the `pen some recovery. On the position players side, everyone seems to be doing well.''


    Los Angeles also cruised into the postseason, essentially wrapping up its fifth straight NL West title in mid-September and comfortably holding off Cleveland for the majors' best record, even though the Dodgers weren't aggressively going for that goal.


    Meanwhile, all three of their playoff opponents have faced the Dodgers on weary legs after being stretched to the limit.


    Arizona reached the NLDS only after winning a draining wild-card game against Colorado two days earlier, which meant Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke couldn't face LA until Game 3.


    After sweeping Arizona, Los Angeles had four days off before the arrival of the Cubs, who narrowly survived an exhausting five-game NLDS with Washington. They made a 10-hour flight to the West Coast - complete with an unplanned layover in Albuquerque - with a depleted pitching staff, and the Dodgers promptly took charge of the series.


    The Dodgers outscored the Cubs 28-8 overall, and Chicago couldn't score a run except on homers - one of the Los Angeles pitching staff's few weaknesses. The Dodgers' bullpen has been indomitable, posting an 0.94 playoff ERA and striking out 32 batters in 28 2/3 innings, even setting a postseason record during Game 5 at Chicago with the bullpen's 23rd consecutive scoreless inning.


    Los Angeles routed Chicago even without Seager, who stayed home to rest his back. If he can return for the World Series, he adds yet another dimension to a lineup that has proven extraordinarily resourceful all season.


    Seager might even be the Dodgers' logical designated hitter in the AL ballpark to rest his back, Roberts said.


    ''If he can swing the bat and isn't compromised physically, then that makes sense,'' Roberts said.


    After winning the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2016, Seager led the Dodgers with 159 hits during the regular season, batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs. He went 3 for 11 with four walks and two RBIs in the division series, batting second in the lineup in all three games.


    But Seager tweaked his back during a slide in Game 3 of the NL Division Series against Arizona, and Los Angeles left him off the NLCS roster in favor of Charlie Culberson, who had only 15 plate appearances for the Dodgers in the regular season while spending most of the year in Triple-A Oklahoma City, unable to crack LA's deep lineup.


    Culberson improbably came through with several big plays against the Cubs, going 5 for 11 and playing strong defense.


    Chris Taylor also played shortstop at Wrigley Field, and the versatile co-MVP of the NLCS made big plays of his own.


    ''That's not an easy thing to do, to replace Corey,'' Roberts said. ''We're hopeful that he'll be back for Game 1, but if it doesn't go as we expect, then to have those two guys to fill in is something.''


    Culberson seems certain to make the Dodgers' World Series roster as insurance against another injury for Seager. If Seager is healthy, the odd position player out could be veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson, who has struggled mightily in the playoffs, going 1 for 15 with eight strikeouts.


    ''With Curtis, we've just got to look into the matchups and see if it makes sense,'' Roberts said. ''We're going to go with whoever makes sense on that particular night.''
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    Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, other staffers
    October 21, 2017



    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The San Francisco Giants have reassigned longtime pitching coach Dave Righetti from manager Bruce Bochy's field staff to special assistant to the general manager, working under Bobby Evans.


    The club announced Righetti's role change to the front office Saturday, along with bullpen coach Mark Gardner moving into a special assignment job assisting in pitching evaluations. Assistant hitting coach Steve Decker is now a special assistant in baseball operations.


    Evans said the club is interviewing for a pitching coach and hitting coach. He said it was too soon to say whether hitting coach Hensley Meulens would remain in his role but that at least one hitting coach position is open with Decker being reassigned.


    ''Ultimately a change for us in the clubhouse is really an opportunity just to put a new voice with our pitching staff and try to keep pushing to the heights that we aspire as an organization and a club,'' Evans said. ''Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice as anything. That was really the priority here. Change can be for the good of both your staff and your players sometimes. This is certainly not going to eliminate Dave Righetti's voice in this organization, in some ways it may even enlarge his voice, but it gives the players a daily perspective on perhaps new ways to approach the game or new ways to approach their work.''


    Righetti's 18 years as pitching coach marked the longest run in the position in San Francisco history. He was one of only five Giants coaches since 1900 with at least 10 years on the staff.


    San Francisco went 64-98 for a last-place finish in the NL West and avoided the franchise's first 100-loss season since 1985 during the final weekend of the regular season. The Giants, long defined by dominant pitching, had a 16th-ranked 4.50 team ERA and lost ace Madison Bumgarner for nearly three months after his dirt bike accident in Colorado. Right-hander Johnny Cueto also was out for significant time on the disabled list with various injuries.


    The Giants won the World Series in 2010, '12 and '14 - making this season all the more shocking given a roster that looked as if it could contend coming out of spring training.


    ''It does raise the level of attention to change when you struggle as much as we have,'' Evans said. ''You're always contemplating making changes to try to help keep pushing your guys and make sure that you continue to have different perspectives and new voices and reflections on how to get the most out of them.''


    The 58-year-old Righetti, a left-hander who pitched 16 seasons in the majors and was the 1981 AL Rookie of the Year, threw a no-hitter for the Yankees against the Red Sox on July 4, 1983.


    Evans discussed the role change with Righetti in September and they have since spoken by phone multiple times.


    ''His heartbeat is in uniform as a coach, that's his heartbeat,'' Evans said. ''But he also loves this organization and loves our players and our pitchers, particularly, and wants to make an impact and wants to be open to how that could look in a different role. I'm sure it's still hard to imagine even for us Dave not in uniform. But at the same time there's so much that he can offer in this new role.''
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    Puerto Rican players bond over hurricane
    October 21, 2017



    NEW YORK (AP) When the Houston Astros' owner offered Carlos Beltran charter aircrafts to send relief aid to Puerto Rico and evacuate cancer patients from the island after Hurricane Maria, the Puerto Rican slugger quickly thought about ''the chat group.''


    He wanted to send word to other Puerto Rican teammates and coaches with the Astros, as well as friends from other teams, that one of the airplanes was available to pick up family members who couldn't return to the mainland because of the lack of commercial flights.


    The ''chat'' Beltran was referring to was the WhatsApp group that All-Star catcher Yadier Molina created just before of this year's World Baseball Classic.


    Six months after finishing as runner-up for the second straight time in the international tournament, the friendships and bonds among the Puerto Rican players have only strengthened, especially after the devastating storm that hit Puerto Rico on Sep. 20 and left much of the island without electricity and running water.


    ''We keep in touch all the time, always encouraging each other,'' Beltran said. ''This has been a special year, because many of them have had great seasons, but also we've been united by this tragedy.''


    The situation in Puerto Rico, where at least 49 people were killed by the storm and thousands lost their homes, has been on the mind of all the players during the playoffs, where Beltran's Astros face the New York Yankees on Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.


    ''With what's going in on in the island, we're closer than ever,'' said Javier Baez, the Chicago Cubs second baseman whose team was eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series. ''We never stopped chatting after the WBC. Many of us are good friends, like brothers. We send messages and help each other out.''


    That's what Beltran did after the hurricane, starting a crowdfunding campaign that raised $1.3 million to send 300,000 pounds of supplies to Puerto Rico. But he needed transportation to get the aid there, and Astros owner Jim Crane offered the planes.


    ''His generosity has no bounds,'' Beltran said.


    The 40-year-old designated hitter brought his parents to Houston, where they stayed with him until last week. They live in the northern town of Manati. The aftermath was so dire that he had to wait five days after the storm to finally hear from them.


    During the past month, Beltran has been focusing on two goals: helping his homeland and playing the postseason with the Astros. That's also the case with other players such as his teammate Carlos Correa and Enrique Hernandez, the Dodgers utilityman who tied an MLB record with three homers during Thursday's 11-1 win over the Cubs.


    ''My body's here, but my mind's kind of back home. It's hard being away from home with what's going on,'' Hernandez said after the series-clinching win.


    In Correa's case, his family didn't want to leave Puerto Rico, so the Astros shortstop sent them generators for their home and supplies for his hometown of Santa Isabel in the southern coast of the island.


    ''Focusing on baseball those first days was stressful, about a week without news from your family,'' Correa said. ''But once you got the word that they were OK, I've been able to focus in my job.''


    Beltran displayed a Puerto Rican flag during the player introductions in New York before Game 3 of the ALCS against the Yankees.


    ''I wanted to express my support and show that we're dealing with a very difficult situation in the country,'' he said. ''As a player, those first weeks were hard, but you cannot step away from your duties as baseball player amid the current situation in Puerto Rico and with our families there.''


    And they can count on the chat.


    In particular, Baez highlighted the role of Molina, their ''leader'' who has been in Puerto Rico for the past two weeks helping with the relief efforts. After the St. Louis Cardinals got eliminated from playoff contention, the catcher sent a note to all those playing in the postseason wishing them the best of luck.


    ''Molina is the one who created the group. He's the one who created the bond and he's always there for us,'' Baez said. ''We all have huge respect for him, even more for the veteran players, especially Yadier and Beltran, who are always keeping us in the right path.''
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    Kershaw attempting to set aside postseason demons
    October 20, 2017



    It has been 29 long years since the Los Angeles Dodgers were part of the World Series, a drought perhaps best summed up by this factoid:


    Clayton Kershaw was seven months old when the Kirk Gibson-led Dodgers knocked off the Oakland Athletics for the 1988 crown.


    And now it is Kershaw's time to shine in the postseason spotlight. The ace left-hander with the three Cy Young Awards and the 2014 National League MVP in his trophy case will have the opportunity to quiet some of his career demons, regardless of whether the American League representative is the Houston Astros or New York Yankees.


    Kershaw is an unstoppable force in the regular season. But "Postseason Kershaw" hasn't been so dominant and Thursday's 11-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series improved his playoff ledger to 6-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 21 career appearances (17 starts).


    Kershaw knows the chatter -- he hears it regularly from fans and through questions tossed out by the media -- but all he is focused on is what happens in the next series.


    "I think at the end of the day, yeah, winning the World Series is really all that we play this game for," Kershaw said. "All the individual stuff is great, but at the end of the day I just want to win a World Series."


    Kershaw's performance in two NLCS starts against the Cubs was fine -- he went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA -- and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts named him the starter for Game 1 of the World Series while the team was still celebrating its NL pennant.


    Los Angeles posted the best record in the majors (104-58) during the regular season and was dominating for a large part of the season. But the feeling around the club is that this squad needs to finish the deal with a world championship.


    Third baseman Justin Turner and closer Kenley Jansen each had opportunities to leave as free agents before staying put, and Turner felt there was more to achieve when he elected to remain in Los Angeles.


    "It's incredible. Kenley and I talked about it in our press conference when we signed back here," Turner said. "We talked about unfinished business and wanting to bring a World Series back to Los Angeles.


    "We had a bad taste in our mouth the last four years, you know, not finishing what we started."


    This version of the Dodgers is more than star power.


    When mainstay first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had to go on the disabled list with back issues, rookie Cody Bellinger became a force and slugged 39 homers. Versatile Chris Taylor was rescued from the Seattle Mariners' Triple-A team in the summer of 2016 and batted .288 with 21 homers and 17 steals this season and then shared NLCS MVP honors with Turner.


    Enrique Hernandez finds a spot in the Game 5 lineup and ties league championships records of three homers and seven RBIs.


    All-Star shortstop Corey Seager was unavailable for the NLCS with a back injury and Charlie Culberson received an opportunity and went 5-for-11 with three extra-base hits.


    Manager Dave Roberts will have some roster decisions to make as he says Seager is expected back for Tuesday's World Series opener.


    "He's doing everything he can to get healthy," Roberts said. "We expect him back for Game 1. So obviously when you have a guy like Charlie Culberson that can fill in like that, made some spectacular defensive plays, some big hits, it was great to see from Charlie, but obviously we're hoping to get Corey back for the World Series."


    Los Angeles is loaded with key players and has a solid cast of utility players and relievers. But the presence of one guy will overshadow them all.


    Will it be regular-season Kershaw or "Postseason Kershaw" out there on the mound trying to deliver the franchise to that long-awaited World Series crown?


    After all, Kershaw resided in a cradle when the Dodgers last celebrated a title.


    "Who knows how many times I'm going to get to go to the World Series," Kershaw said. "I know more than anybody how hard it is to get there. So I'm definitely not taking this one for granted."
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