If you are a sports fan, this is the best time of the year. The NFL season is in swing, the NHL campaign has just begun, and the NBA officially returns in less than two weeks. However, nothing beats the MLB playoffs, which already have the wheels rolling. There have been no surprises thus far, as the higher seeds lead in all of the divisional series. While the Braves, Dodgers, Yankees, and Astros have all gotten off to quick starts, anything can happen in October.
Beginning on the national league side with the Braves and Cardinals, who remain tied at 1-1 in the series heading into Game 3. It was a pitching duel throughout, with veteran Adam Wainwright hurling 7 ⅔ scoreless frames for the Cardinals and rookie Mike Soroka going 7 strong for Atlanta. However, it came down to St. Louis closer Carlos Martinez, who gave up the lead in the 9th after clutch hits from Dansby Swanson and Adam Duvall put the Braves in front for the first time. Mark Melancon finished it in the bottom half of the inning, giving Atlanta a 2-1 lead in the series. The Braves look to close out the Cardinals in Game 4 with Dallas Keuchel toeing the rubber.
Staying in the National League with the Dodgers and Nationals, who were also knotted at 1 game apiece. Game 3 was a tale of two halves. The Nationals took the lead early with a two-run homer from Juan Soto off NL Cy Young candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu and held the lead through five behind an excellent outing from Anibal Sanchez. However, manager Dave Martinez went to the bullpen in the 6th, bringing in high-priced lefty Patrick Corbin. Corbin was responsible for 6 runs in the ⅔ innings that he pitched, including a three-run homer to Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. The Nationals bullpen continued to falter for the remainder of the game, allowing Los Angeles to tack on two more in the ninth en route to a 10-4 victory. The Nationals send ace Max Scherzer to the mound for a must-win Game 4.
On the AL side of the bracket, with the Yankees and Twins. After an offensive onslaught from the Bronx Bombers in Game 1 gave New York 1-0 series lead, Minnesota looked to strike back in Game 2. However, a grand slam by Didi Gregorius put the game away early, while an excellent outing by Masahiro Tanaka did the rest in an 8-2 victory. After the Yankees bats put up 18 runs in the first two games of the series, Luis Severino will look to lock up a trip to the ALCS in Game 3.
Also in the American League, we have the Astros and Rays, with Houston leading 1-0. After a dominant performance in Game 1 by AL Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole followed with a gem in Game 2, pitching 7 ⅔ shutout frames while striking out an astounding 15 batters. An Alex Bregman home run and RBI singles from Carlos Correa and Martin Maldanado were all that Houston needed, defeating Tampa Bay by a final score of 3-1. Zack Greinke is on the mound for the Astros for Game 3, as they look to finish the divisional sweep at the Rays.