Coming into the postseason, both the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees were heavily favored to make it to at least the ALCS. In their ALDS match ups on Friday, both of them proved just why that
was the case. First up came Houston, who took on the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros got, of course, seven strong innings from Justin Verlander in the 6-2 win. The ace only allowed one hit and struck out eight batters, but their bats were silent until the fifth inning when Jose Altuve smashed a two-run homer. Two more runs were plated in the frame, and two more came in the seventh to effectively kill it off. Speaking of smashing, that’s exactly what the New York Yankees did in the AL night cap in a 10-4 win at Yankee Stadium. The Twins, regular season home run leaders, ran out to an early lead via two homers. But the Yankees fought back with DJ Lemahieu leading the way. The first baseman ended up going 3-5 on the evening with a home run and four RBIs. Gleyber Torres had been the man to break a tie, hitting a two-run double which gave the Yankees some breathing room to pull away.
All the pressure in the world was on the Atlanta Braves ahead of Game 2 of their NLDS with the St. Louis Cardinals at home on Friday afternoon. A loss and they would be down 2-0, headed out for a second year a bit too early. Facing Jack Flaherty, a man on absolute fire since the All-Star break, it was the Braves’ own pitcher that dominated. Mike Foltynewicz came up with a gem of a game, going seven innings and giving up just three hits as he led the Braves to a 3-0 shutout win. The Braves had posted a single run in the first and got two more in the seventh from pinch hitter Adam Duvall that gave them some insurance. Across the country, the Washington Nationals pulled out all the stops to also even their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Like we saw in the Wild Card game, the Nats turned to both Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, with the former shocking the Dodgers. Strasburg outdueled Clayton Kershaw, giving up only one run while the lefty gave up three, and then turned the ball over to Scherzer eventually. The early 3-0 lead for the Nats would hold up and turn into a 4-2 win, giving them a way back into the series as they head to Washington for Game 3 on Sunday.