As the American League Championship

 Series shifts to Texas , no ground has been gained by the Houston Astros or Boston Red Sox.The defending World Series champion went into Fenway Park and took Game 1 of the best-of-seven series, but the Red Sox responded with a Game 2 victory to level the series.Not only do both teams have the same number of victories heading into Minute Maid Park, they possess the same batting average of .188. Both pitching staffs conceded 12 hits in the first two games, and four doubles were hit by both lineups.One of the few differences between the two winningest teams in the AL this season is home runs, as Houston has four in the series compared to none by the Red Sox, and earned runs, as the Astros have conceded four fewer than the Red Sox.ALCS ScheduleTuesday, October 16Game 3:Boston at Houston (5:05 p.m., TBS)Wednesday, October 17Game 4:Boston at Houston (8:39 p.m., TBS)Thursday, October 18Game 5:Boston at Houston (8:09 p.m., TBS)Saturday, October 20Game 6*:Houston at Boston (5:09 p.m., TBS)Sunday Martin Perez Jersey , October 21Game 7*:Houston at Boston (7:39 p.m., TBS)*-if necessaryPredictionsBregman Continues To Reach Base, Does So With His BatAlex Bregman was a constant fixture on the basepaths at Fenway, but he didn't reach base because he put the ball in play.In thisALCS, Bregman walked on six occasions, which is already a new high for him in a postseason series.The third baseman should increase his productivity at Minute Maid, where he has a .279 batting average and .369 on-base percentage in his career.Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesThe No. 3 hitter is a candidate to break out and lead the Houston lineup because of the success he's achieved in October during his two-year postseason career.In three of the four completed series he's been a part of, Bregman has hit two home runs, including a pair in the AL Division Series victory over the Cleveland Indians.Bregman should also have the opportunity to drive in runs for the rest of the series, as leadoff man George Springer is in the middle of an 11-game postseason hitting streak.If Bregman produces a few clutch hits on home soil, the Astros should be able to take at least two of the next three games there.Boston Benefits From Confident BullpenOutside of Brandon Workman's rough Game 1, the Red Sox bullpen has performed well in the ALCS.The six relievers besides Workman who took the mound at Fenway gave up two earned runs on three hits.In Game 2, the trio of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Rick Porcello allowed one baserunner, while Craig Kimbrel shook off a Jose Altuve RBI single to close out the victory.Tim Bradbury/Getty ImagesIf Nathan Eovaldi and Porcello are able to reach the sixth inning in their respective starts in Games 3 and 4 Jurickson Profar Jersey , the Red Sox should be able to get to Kimbrel with ease behind a combination of setup men.The best news the Red Sox could have entering Game 3 is all of their relievers are fresh, which means we could see manager Alex Cora throw more trust behind a pitcher or two to get more than three outs.Finding the hot hand in front of Kimbrel is crucial to closing games out on the road, and depending on how Game 3 goes, the Red Sox might call on David Price to pitch an inning or two out of the bullpen.Cora has applied the same strategy with Porcello throughout the postseason, and if Boston runs into a spot of bother in Game 3 or 4, Price could be the ideal option to bridge the gap between the starters and the bullpen regulars.As the bullpen's confidence grows in Houston, the Red Sox will rely on the relievers to finish off at least one win in order to bring the series back to Fenway Park. Follow Joe on Twitter, JTansey90. It took a historic marathon of a National League Wild Card Game, but the Colorado Rockies' dreams of a first World Series title are still alive.Colorado defeated the Chicago Cubs, 2-1, in a 13-inning showdown Tuesday at Wrigley Field. It was the longest win-or-go-home playoff game in MLB history, and it prevented the Cubs from reaching their fourth straight National League Championship Series.Tony Wolters, who did not start the game, delivered the game-winning RBI single in the top of the 13th, and Scott Oberg closed the door on the North Siders in the bottom of the frame. Rockies Bats Must Find Road Magic for World Series RunColorado's offensive struggles on the road were a primary talking point entering the playoffs , for good reason.According,the Rockies led MLB in OPS at home but were an ugly 27thawayfrom Coors Field. Those issues were on full display during Monday's National League West tiebreaker loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers,as they didn't score until the ninth inning, and they looked to rear their ugly head again Tuesday when Nolan Arenado's sacrifice fly in the first inning was their only run until the 13th.However, October often comes down to unexpected heroes, as Colorado can now attest.ESPN espnBIGGEST HIT OF HIS CAREER!Tony Wolters comes up CLUTCH to give the Rockies the lead. Za9rxVoWyTJeff Passan JeffPassanOf course its the Rockies third catcher who gives them the lead. Tony Wolters, two-strike single, Rockies up 2-1.With two outs and nobody on base, Trevor Story and Gerardo Parra singled before Wolters drove home the winner. While Story is a notable name, Parra and Wolters were not exactly the expected heroes in a lineup featuring Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, Carlos Gonzalez and Ian Desmond.The Rockies will need that type of October magic to deliver a championship to Colorado. Otherwise, their pitchers will need to be brilliant, like starter Kyle Freeland was against the Cubs with 6.2 scoreless innings and six strikeouts.The Rockies' road issues aren't going to disappear overnight Joey Gallo Jersey , but a timely hit in clutch moments can be the difference between an early exit and a deep postseason run.Toothless Cubs Must Find Offensive Answers Next SeasonJon Lester deserved better.The three-time World Series champion entered Tuesday's contest with a 2.55 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 25 playoff appearances, and he threw another masterpiece, allowing one run, four hits and one walk while striking out nine in six brilliant innings. He was the emotional leader for the team, consistently imploring the offense and crowd to deliver.James Neveau JamesNeveauJon Lester is on the Mount Rushmore of Chicago free agent signings and I will hear no protest on the matter.Sahadev Sharma sahadevsharmaWhat a great performance by Lester. Sure, he was a little lucky with some hard contact finding gloves, but man, 9 Ks, just 1 walk and 1 run allowed in six strong. Thats usually enough to win a game. Usually... Happ is going to pinch-hit for him. Impressive performance.It was all for naught, as one of the worst offenses in baseball over the final month put up one measly run.Chicago ranked 24th in OPS in September,, which is a primary reason the Milwaukee Brewers caught them and won the National League Central. There was also a power outage on the North Side, as an offense that was third in the National League in homers in 2017 was a mere 11th this year.Javier Baez鈥攊n a fitting metaphor for a season in which he carried Chicago's offense on his back for extended stretches鈥攄elivered a game-tying double in the eighth, but that was the Cubs' only run.Jason Patt Bulls_JayTheo is probably writing up a $500M contract for Bryce Harper in his suite right now.The offense on display in the most important games of the year will not cut it for a win-now team with a number of core pieces still in place. The Cubs must find offensive answers this offseason, whether it is signing Bryce Harper , changing some of the coaching staff, adding lower-profile but impactful bats or rehabbing Kris Bryant after he dealt with injuries throughout the season.Otherwise, they won't be World Series contenders in 2019.Brewers Bullpen vs. Rockies Starters Will Determine NLDSThe battle within the battle in the Division Series between the Rockies and Brewers will be which team can beat the other's strength.Milwaukee can build an early lead with Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and the rest of the offense and then drastically shorten contests with a dominant bullpen featuring the likes of Josh Hader, Joakim Soria, Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress. All manager Craig Counsell needs is four or five effective innings from the starters, and the bullpen can do the rest.That was the blueprint the Brewers used to beat the Cubs in Monday's divisional tiebreaker game when Jhoulys Chacin allowed one run in 5.2 innings before the bullpen slammed the door.On the other side, Freeland and German Marquez form a daunting one-two punch of starting pitchers who can dictate the series with three starts between them. Freeland's prowess was on full display at Wrigley, while Marquez wasnamedNational League Pitcher of the Month in September with a 2.14 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 33.2 innings.Jeff Passan JeffPassanKyle Freeland is a boss. The pitch after David Dahls egregious not-an-error-but-totally-was-an-error in right field, Freeland induces a double-play groundball from Anthony Rizzo to escape a jam. Hes at just 71 pitches through six shutout innings. Rockies still lead, 1-0.Jerry Crasnick jcrasnickHow impressive is Kyle Freeland? Kid has no pulse.Joel Sherman Joelsherman1Jon Lester was terrific as usual in October. But he is a familiar face. It is good for baseball that the past 2 days those who do not pay deep attention during the season have gotten introduced to Walker Buehler and Kyle Freeland. #Dodgers #Rockies #TheFutureThe Brewers have plenty of potent bats, but Marquez and Freeland are talented enough to take over the short series and send the NL Central champions home quickly.Colorado knows it has to get to Milwaukee's starters early before the bullpen, while the Brewers have to battle the Rockies' one-two punch and force the bullpen to throw plenty of innings.Game on.What's Next?The Rockies turn their attention toward a National League Division Series showdown with the Brewers. The best-of-five series starts Thursday in Milwaukee.
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