The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were in lock step Sunday. These two long-time rivals were both down and out as out as they prepared to face the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians, respectively.
Both had suffered a pair of painful losses on the road, and sweeps seemed likely in both cases. But the Sox and the Bronx Bombers both had pride and a heartbeat. Those factors can take strong challengers a long way.
Both teams survived their Sunday encounters, and they remain alive in the American League Division Series.
The Red Sox were hoping that Doug Fister would give them a solid pitching effort, but the Astros smoked him for three runs in the first inning. Since the Red Sox had scored two runs in each of the first two games, that could have been enough to give the Astros another win and a 3-0 series sweep.
However, the Red Sox saw their bats come alive, and they also received four scintillating innings of relief pitching from David Price. Boston came away with a 10-3 victory.
The Yankees sent Masahiro Tanaka to the mound Sunday night against Cleveland pitcher Carlos Carrasco. The game was scoreless into the seventh inning when Greg Bird launched a home run to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. They held on to that advantage as fireballer Aroldis Chapman recorded a five-out save. The Yankees registered their first win of the series.
The Sox and Yankees both trail 2-1 in their best-of-5 series, and both will play Monday in an effort to square their respective series
The Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound against Charlie Morton at 1:08 p.m. in a game that will be televised by FS1.
Porcello was the Cy Young Award winner in 2016, but he struggled all season in 2017, and he was 11-16 with a 4.70 earned-run average. Porcello's success last year was based on his ability to keep the ball down and get ground ball outs. He has not been able to do that this year, as he has given up 38 home runs.
Morton was dependable for the Astros with a 14-7 record and a 3.62 ERA. Morton gave up 14 home runs this season, but he had better than a 3-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Astros are minus-114 favorites and the Red Sox are plus-104 underdogs, according to OddsShark.
The Yankees will host the Indians at 7:08 p.m., and that game will also be televised by FS1. Yankee ace Luis Severino will take the mound for the home team, and he was 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA. Josh Tomlin will take the mound for the Tribe, and he was 10-9 with a 4.98 ERA.
The matchup should favor the Yankees because Serverino was so effective this year, but he got hit hard in the first inning by the Minnesota Twins in the wild-card game last week. A top pitcher like Severino should be able to shake off a poor outing. The Yankees are minus-161 favorites, while the Indians are plus-151 underdogs.
The Chicago Cubs are hosting the Washington Nationals in their NLDS series Monday afternoon at 4:08 p.m. That game will be televised by TBS.
Manager Joe Maddon will send Jose Quintana to the mound for his first postseason assignment, and he will oppose Washington fireballer Max Scherzer.
Quintana was 11-11 with a 4.15 ERA, while Scherzer was a masterful 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA. This is clearly the biggest assignment of Quintana's career, as he was with the Chicago White Sox before being acquired this season in a trade. The White Sox never made the postseason during Quintana's run on the South Side.
Scherzer had a hamstring issue in his last start of the regular season, and while the Nationals believe he should be fine for this start, he will have to prove himself by getting deep into the game.
The series is ted at 1-1, and the Nationals are minus-120 favorites, while the Cubs are plus-110 underdogs in Game 3.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a chance to end their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks after recording a pair of victories at Dodger Stadium. The series shifts to Chase Field in the desert, and the home team will try to earn its first win in the series.
First pitch is scheduled for 10:08 p.m., and the game will be broadcast by TBS.
Yu Darvish will take the mound for the Dodgers, and he was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA, and he will be opposed by Arizona ace Zack Greinke, who was 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA.
Greinke pitched for the Diamondbacks win their wild-card win over the Colorado Rockies, but he was hit hard in giving up five hits and four runs in the fourth inning of that game.
The Dodgers are minus-115 favorites to close out the series, while the Diamondbacks are plus-105 underdogs to stay alive and force a fourth game.
The Red Sox have some momentum after scoring 10 runs at home against the Astros, but Porcello has struggled all season. It doesn't seem likely that he will regain his form against the hot-hitting visitors. Look for Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa to take charge and lash the ball all over Fenway.
The Astros will take Game 4 and advance to the American League Championship Series.
Severino will likely pitch much better than he did against the Twins, but the Indians are just too good to be shut down two games in a row. Francisco Lindor may be the best clutch player in the game, and Jose Ramirez is right behind.
The Indians will find a way to close out the Yankees in New York.
The Nationals were able to rid themselves of quite a bit of pressure when they rallied for five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning of their Game 2 victory. They should go to Wrigley Field with clear minds, and if their ace can survive physically, the Nats should be able to put runs on the board against Quintana. Look for the visitors to earn a 2-1 lead in the series.
The Diamondbacks are too good to get swept in their series. While Darvish is capable of pitching well and fooling Arizona's hitters, he won't be able to do it for more than four innings. The Diamondbacks will figure him out and Greinke will get the job done for the Diamondbacks.
Arizona wins and forces a fourth game.