For the fourth time in five years, the Washington Nationals were knocked out of further contention for the World Series title by the Chicago Cubs. After losing 9-8 on Thursday, October 12, the Nationals have now lost the last four division series’ matchups they’ve been involved in, each against a different team. In the meantime, the New York Yankees shocked the Cleveland Indians by winning the next three games of their series to move on. The Yankees earned a 5-2 clinching victory in order to move onto the championship series.
With the division series over on both sides, the championship series has begun with the Los Angeles Dodgers dueling against the Cubs in the NLCS, while the Yankees take on the Houston Astros in the ALCS. Los Angeles was able to get things going at Chavez Ravine for game one of their series on Saturday, winning 5-2 thanks in part to some clutch home runs by outfielders Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig. During the game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected for arguing a reviewed home plate collision call that was overturned to allow a run to score. Chicago’s hunt for a repeat still remains alive as they’ve beaten the Dodgers in the NLCS before.
In the meantime, Houston has pulled away to take a 2-0 lead in their series against New York after back-to-back 2-1 victories. MVP candidate Jose Altuve has been a big factor for the Astros in both games, scoring the winning run in the second match on a Carlos Correa walk-off double. Starting pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander have combined to go 16 innings of one-run ball, giving the bullpen the chance to rest as the series moves to the Bronx. C.C. Sabathia is expected to start on the mound for the Yankees, while the Astros will counter with Charlie Morton.
In other news, with the Boston Red Sox’s recent dismissal of manager John Farrell, the team has started to look into options for who will lead the team in 2018. The staff has decided that they will interview former player and current Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora for the position if and when Houston’s postseason run should end. Alternatively, Boston has a few other options in Ron Gardenhire, Brad Ausmus, Sandy Alomar Jr., and a likely fan favorite, Jason Varitek.