MLB playoffs: a tale of two leagues: Dodgers run away with NLCS lead, while Astros/Yankees battle in American League

By Griffin Rissinger, Staff Writer

     The Major League Baseball playoffs have not lacked in excitement this year. We are in the midst of both the American League Championship Series (ALCS) and the National League Championship Series (NLCS). Soon, we will know which two teams will represent their respective leagues in the 2017 MLB World Series.

     The Yankees and Astros are the two American League contenders. The Yankees have been the comeback team to this point; after trailing the Twins 3-0 in the first inning of the Wild Card game, they came back to win. In the Divisional Series, after dropping the first two games to the Indians, it looked bleak for the Bronx bombers. But, they won the last three games to advance to the ALCS. Now, the ALCS is tied at two games, with the Yankees once again dropping the first two games before winning games three and four.

     The Astros, had a bit of an easier path to where they are now. They didn’t have to deal with the pressure of a ‘do or die,’ Wild Card Game. They played the Red Sox in the ALDS and won the series 3-1, outscoring the Sox 24-19. Game 5 of the series took place Wednesday night in New York at 5:08 pm. It’s a redo of Game 1 featuring Dallas Keuchel and Masahiro Tanaka on the mound. Keuchel was dominant in his first outing against the Yankees in the postseason, recording 10 strikeouts and no earned runs in seven innings on route to a 2-1 win. That dominance that was expected of Keuchel in Game 5 did not show up as the Yankees hitters were able to figure him out. While Keuchel managed to record eight strikeouts, he gave up four runs on seven hits in just 4.2 innings of work. RBIs from Aaron Judge and Gregg Bird helped give the Yankees an early lead, while a two-run homer from Gary Sanchez helped extend the lead to 5-0, which New York would hold until the end. The Yankees can clinch a World Series berth with a win over the Astros in Houston on Friday. It won’t be easy for New York as they face Justin Verlander, who dominated them in Game 2.

     The NLCS has been different from the ALCS. The series features the Los Angeles Dodgers against the defending world champions, the Chicago Cubs. The NL Central-winning Cubs faced the Washington Nationals in the NLDS. That one was very back-and-forth with the Cubs winning Games 1, 3, and 5, ultimately giving them the 3-2 series victory.

     The Dodgers, though, swept the Wild Card-winning Diamondbacks and there was no looking back from there. In the NLCS, Los Angeles has a 3-0 lead on the Cubs, meaning that the Dodgers have not lost a game since the postseason began. In fact, the Dodgers’ last loss was the third-to-last game of the regular season, a 9-1 defeat against the Colorado Rockies, who battled the D-Backs in the NL Wild Card game. L.A. looks for their second playoff series sweep Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. The pitching matchup is Dodgers’ funky left-hander Alex Wood against the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta, former Cy Young winner.



Astros’ second baseman Jose Altuve is batting .394 this postseason with 3 home runs, 4 RBI and a stolen base.