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Today is Tuesday, October 17, 2017.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Major League Baseball
Dodgers vs. Cubs 9:01 (EDT) Preview

Trailing 2-0, Cubs turn to Hendricks vs. Dodgers


Tuesday, October 17 at 1:29 PM (EDT)

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs return home in a two-games-to-none hole in the National League Championship Series and with plenty of questions left unanswered after back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Will their struggling offense find a way to recover? What's wrong with a bullpen that yielded late runs in both losses, including surrendering a walk-off, three-run home run Sunday night in Chicago's 4-1 setback in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium?

With time now running short on his team's World Series title defense, Cubs manager Joe Maddon realizes that if his team is going to bounce back, it has to be soon.

Heading into Game 3 on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, Maddon points back to the NL Division Series against the Washington Nationals, when many of the same concerns arose before Chicago found a way to win and advance.

"I obviously wanted to win one out of those two (games in Los Angeles). We didn't. That's reality," Maddon said Monday. "There is reality and there is fantasy. People like to tend to deal with fantasy. It's reality. So we've got to come back here and get ourselves back together."

In need of a win, the Cubs will turn to Kyle Hendricks, who pitched four innings in the NLDS-clinching victory last week over the Nationals. Chicago won both of Hendricks' NLDS starts, but the Cubs will need to find a way to produce some offense after scoring just three runs and collecting only seven hits in the two weekend losses to the Dodgers.

Hendricks is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers, whom he will face for the first time this year on Tuesday night. Despite the Cubs' 2-0 hole in the best-of-seven series, Hendricks said Monday he doesn't consider Tuesday a must-win.

"Our team doesn't really approach games like that," Hendricks said. "You hear the way Joe (Maddon) speaks about it. For us, this is just Game 170, I think it's going to be. So, yeah, we're down 2-0. Obviously we know we need to get wins at this point. But approaching it as a must-win is a little extreme. We've just got to go out there and play our brand of baseball."

The Dodgers head into Tuesday still unbeaten in the postseason and confident after Justin Turner's ninth-inning, three-run blast Sunday night. Yu Darvish takes the mound for Los Angeles, having won his lone playoff start to date this year. On Oct. 9 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he allowed one run, two hits and struck out seven over five innings in a 3-1 victory.

Darvish has allowed just two earned runs and struck out 28 in his past four outings dating back to the regular season. The right-hander will make just his second career start against the Cubs, after allowing two runs in 4 1/3 innings during a loss with the Texas Rangers in 2016.

The 31-year-old Japan native hopes to continue the mastery that the Dodgers have had in silencing Chicago's bats in the first two games of the series. But as much as the Cubs have struggled to hit thus far, Darvish realizes he has to be careful with a lineup that possesses plenty of dangerous hitters.

"They've got (a) really good lineup from top to bottom, and they play as a team so there is nobody in that lineup that I can get easy on," Darvish said. "So it's going to be a battle, and I just want to take one pitch at a time, one guy at a time."


Astros vs. Yankees 5:08 (EDT) Preview

Home is where runs are for Yankees


Tuesday, October 17 at 1:11 PM (EDT)

NEW YORK -- Throughout the postseason, the New York Yankees are proving to be a different team offensively at home than on the road.

The Bronx dominance helped the Yankees rally from a 2-0 deficit in the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians, and now the Yankees hope it helps them stage a comeback against the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series.

New York will try to remain unbeaten at home in the postseason and even the ALCS at two games apiece Tuesday in Game 4 against Houston.

New York posted a league-leading 51-30 record at home during the regular season. In four postseason home games, the Yankees have scored 24 times despite hitting .232 (29-for-125). They produced 14 of those runs on eight homers after Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge slugged three-run shots in an 8-1 win Monday.

"We're somewhat built for this ballpark, number one," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "No. 2, you're familiar with it. You're familiar with everything that you do on a daily basis. You have your routine and you're able to be in your routine.

"I find that baseball players like routine. We're told where to be all the time. Whether it's in spring training, this is what time we report, we have (batting practice), this is what time we meet. I think the routine is normal for them, and I think it helps."

Despite amassing more runs (eight) than hits (seven) on Monday, the Yankees raised their series batting average from .159 to .183 and earned their first ALCS win since beating the Texas Rangers in Game 5 in 2010 at home. The Yankees are now looking to post consecutive ALCS wins for the first time since winning the first two games in 2009 against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Yankees will be trying to get the split knowing Houston's ace pitchers are looming. Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel will pitch Game 5 on Wednesday, and right-hander Justin Verlander would start Game 6 on Friday in Houston, if necessary.

Meanwhile, Houston will try to get its offense going again. Despite holding the series lead, the Astros have scored five times just and are hitting .169 (15-for-89). Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are a combined 9-for-23 (.391), while the rest of the team is 6-for-66 (.090).

Among the more notable players slumping for Houston, George Springer is 1-for-11 with four strikeouts while Josh Reddick is 0-for-10.

The Astros also hope that Lance McCullers Jr. can deliver a better outing than Charlie Morton's 3 2/3 innings in Game 3.

McCullers was named the starter for Tuesday after the Monday defeat. Manager A.J. Hinch kept his explanation short by saying: "He's really good."

McCullers was very good against the Yankees in New York on May 12 when he struck out seven and allowed four hits in six scoreless innings in a 5-1 win. He allowed three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings during a 13-4 home loss to the Yankees on June 30.

McCullers is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three career outings against New York.

The right-hander ended the regular season with a 7-4 record and a 4.25 ERA. His ERA rose due to some late-season struggles that saw him go 0-3 with an 8.63 ERA in his final eight starts. In three starts since returning from a back injury, he was 0-1 with a 6.92 ERA.

He made one appearance in the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox, allowing two runs on three hits in a relief appearance in Game 4. Houston lost 10-3, though he wasn't involved in the decision.

McCullers said of his Tuesday night start, "It's a big game for us. It's a big game for the team. The Yankees have a great home record and are a great team. And we do the job putting ourself in the situation getting up 2-0.

"We knew it was going to be hard-fought innings, hard-fought games. It's a big situation to be able to pitch in, put us within a game of the World Series."

Sonny Gray will make his second postseason start for the Yankees, and he hopes it goes better than the first.

Gray started Game 1 of the ALDS on Oct. 5 in Cleveland and allowed three runs on three hits in 3 1/3 innings while throwing 73 pitches in a 4-0 loss. He gave up a solo homer to Jay Bruce, and he has allowed 12 homers in 68 2/3 innings since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics.

Due to the long layoff between starts, Gray pitched a simulated game before Game 1 in Houston while getting looks at the Astros' lineup from the dugout during the games.

"I feel good -- I got to work on a lot of stuff," Gray said. "That's something that has been pretty beneficial to me. I've thrown a handful of bullpens and got to throw a sim game the other day. The positive thing is, I feel really good. I feel fresh and should be ready to go."

Gray's postseason debut for New York also continued his trend of recent struggles. He went 2-4 with a 4.58 ERA in his final six regular-season starts.

Over his career in the postseason, Gray is 0-2 with a 3.31 ERA.

Gray is 4-3 with 3.09 ERA in nine career starts against the Astros. He last faced the Astros on June 20 in Oakland, and he allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings.

Houston's current roster holds a combined .287 (31-for-108) average off Gray. Altuve is hitting .367 (11-for-30) against the right-hander, while Correa is 1-for-14 (.071).

"I know these guys pretty well," Gray said. "I think they know me pretty well. I've faced them quite a bit."


Monday, October 16, 2017
Major League Baseball
Astros 1 vs. 8 Yankees Final Recap

Judge gets Yankees back in ALCS with 8-1 rout


Tuesday, October 17 at 1:12 AM (EDT)

NEW YORK -- In the top of the fourth inning Monday, New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge raced back on a fly ball by Yuli Gurriel, crashed into the wall, held on and prevented the Houston Astros from doing some significant damage.

In the bottom of the inning, Judge hit a ball that nobody could catch.

Judge made an outstanding grab and highlighted a five-run inning with a three-run homer as the Yankees beat the Astros 8-1 in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

The Astros lead the series 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

Judge ensured Houston would not be going for the sweep by producing defensively and offensively.

With the Yankees already holding a 3-0 lead after Todd Frazier's three-run homer in the second inning off Charlie Morton, Gurriel lofted a 2-0 pitch to deep right field. Judge raced back, made a slight leap, and the 6-foot-7 rookie crashed into the wall headfirst and held on while falling on the warning track.

"It was an awesome catch," New York shortstop Didi Gregorius said. "I'm surprised he jumped."

Yankees starter CC Sabathia (1-0) turned and watched the ball sail toward the fence. When Judge completed the catch, Sabathia raised both arms in the air to express his excitement at a potential home run being taken away.

"That was just a great play," Sabathia said. "Off the bat, here with the short right field (porch), I didn't know what the result was going to be, but for him to go up and go all out and make that catch was unbelievable."

Judge made four catches overall, including a diving grab on Cameron Maybin to start the fifth, but it was his leap against the wall that had his teammates gushing about his defense.

It also was his second highlight-reel catch of the postseason. In Game 3 of the AL Division Series, Judge made a leaping grab on Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor to take away a certain two-run homer in a game the Yankees won 1-0.

"That's what we want," Frazier said. "That's what every teammate wants to see. As a pitcher, you dream of that kind of stuff, and he's been doing that all year."

After making the catch on Gurriel, Judge hit a 2-2 fastball from reliever Will Harris into the left field seats, giving the Yankees an 8-0 lead. It was his second homer of the postseason after he hit 52 in the regular season. The hit was just Judge's fifth of the playoffs.

"I know how dangerous he is," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "He can change a game really quickly."

Before Judge connected, the Yankees extended the lead to 4-0 on an infield single by Chase Headley and made it 5-0 when Frazier scored on a wild pitch by Harris during Judge's at-bat.

"I was just trying to see a cutter up in the zone," Judge said. "I think the bases were loaded before that and then (a) wild pitch and we scored, but, yeah, just try to get a pitch up and do some damage."

Judge's eventful fourth helped Sabathia, who delivered his first career scoreless postseason start. In six innings, Sabathia allowed three hits, worked around four walks, struck out five and threw 99 pitches.

"It was his night," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "He played defense tonight. He did a lot of things well for them and really was a big difference in the game."

The biggest pitch Sabathia threw occurred in the third when the Astros loaded the bases on two walks and a single in the third. The left-hander escaped by getting Carlos Correa on a popup to Gregorius.

The Astros barely avoided being shut out for the fourth time in a postseason game, scoring their lone run on a bases-loaded walk by Alex Bregman in the ninth.

Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa were a combined 1-for-8 after going 8-for-15 in the first two games of the series.

"CC was really good tonight because he didn't make a lot of mistakes," Hinch said. "We swung a little bit to the margins on the outside of the strike zone."

After Houston got dominant starts from Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander in the first two games, Morton (0-1) struggled through 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits.

NOTES: New York RHP Luis Severino was not sent for tests after exiting Game 2 after four innings for precautionary reasons. The Yankees thought he might have a shoulder injury when he was taken out, but he is on track to start Game 6 if necessary. ... RHP Lance McCullers Jr. will start Game 4 for Houston against Yankees RHP Sonny Gray. ... Houston bench coach Alex Cora is reportedly interviewing for the vacant New York Mets managerial opening Tuesday. He interviewed for the Boston Red Sox's managerial opening on Monday. ... Chase Headley's single in the fourth inning was the first hit by a Yankees designated hitter in the postseason. It ended an 0-for-28 skid in this year's postseason. ... Former Yankees CF Bernie Williams threw out the ceremonial first pitch.



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