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Post-season Gameday Thread, #4: All baseball, all day

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The only day guaranteed to have four playoff games. It should be a national holiday...

John T. Hall Photo by Stan Wayman/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

11:05 am Rays @ Astros (0-0)

Today's Lineups

RAYS ASTROS
Austin Meadows - RF George Springer - CF
Tommy Pham - LF Jose Altuve - 2B
Ji-Man Choi - 1B Michael Brantley - LF
Yandy Diaz - DH Alex Bregman - 3B
Brandon Lowe - 2B Yordan Alvarez - DH
Travis d'Arnaud - C Yuli Gurriel - 1B
Joey Wendle - 3B Carlos Correa - SS
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Robinson Chirinos - C
Willy Adames - SS Josh Reddick - RF

The American League Division Series get under way in Houston, the Rays having won the right with a relatively untaxing victory over the Athletics, as Billy Beane’s shit continues not to work in the playoffs. They’ll face an uphill battle, as the Astros cruised to the best record in the regular season, with 107 wins. That’s the second most in the majors since 2001, when the Seattle Mariners won 116 and cruised to the World Series title. Oh, wait: my mistake... Though the other team with more was last year’s Red Sox, and they pretty much DID, going 11-3 in the post-season. But the Astros had an even better run differential (+280 vs +229), and have to be considered hot favorites here.

1:37 pm Cardinals @ Braves (1-0)

Today's Lineups

CARDINALS BRAVES
Dexter Fowler - RF Ronald Acuna - CF
Tommy Edman - 3B Ozzie Albies - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Freddie Freeman - 1B
Marcell Ozuna - LF Josh Donaldson - 3B
Yadier Molina - C Nick Markakis - LF
Kolten Wong - 2B Matt Joyce - RF
Paul DeJong - SS Brian McCann - C
Harrison Bader - CF Dansby Swanson - SS
Jack Flaherty - RHP Mike Foltynewicz - RHP

Well, last night’s game was... interesting, to put it mildly. Through seven innings, the Cards looked likely to gaffe their way out of it. Then, former Diamondback Fernando Rodney and the Braves’ bullpen staged a truly epic meltdown, allowing six runs while recording six outs. Cardinals’ closer Carlos Martinez said, “Hold my beer,” and almost let the home-team back into it, the Braves scoring three runs of their to pull within one, before falling just short. Ronaldo Acuna was the hero, then the goat, and then the hero again. So. Many. Narratives. Tonight, Jack Flaherty starts for St. Louis. He one-hit Arizona for seven innings ten days ago, so we know how good he can be. Atlanta may go to St. Louis on the edge of elimination.

4:07 pm Twins @ Yankees (0-0)

Today's Lineups

TWINS YANKEES
Mitch Garver - C DJ LeMahieu - 1B
Jorge Polanco - SS Aaron Judge - RF
Nelson Cruz - DH Brett Gardner - CF
Eddie Rosario - RF Edwin Encarnacion - DH
Miguel Sano - 3B Giancarlo Stanton - LF
Max Kepler - CF Gleyber Torres - 2B
Marwin Gonzalez - LF Gary Sanchez - C
C.J. Cron - 1B Didi Gregorius - SS
Luis Arraez - 2B Gio Urshela - 3B

History is not on Minnesota’s side tonight in New York. The Twins will be trying to win their first playoff game since 2004, having gone a startling 0-10 since that point. They were swept out in the Division Series in 2006, 2009 and 2010 and lost to these same Yankees in the wild-card game two years ago. You have to go back to 2002 to find their last post-season series victory, with 20 losses in the 23 playoff games played by the Twins after their ALDS victory. That’s an impressive run of failure, and the task isn’t going to be much easier for Minnesota this series. One thing is sure: expect bombs. LOTS of bombs. Only two teams in baseball history have hit 300+ homers in a regular season. They’re facing off here.

Further updates will follow over the course of the day...

6:37 pm Nationals @ Dodgers (0-1)

Today's Lineups

NATIONALS DODGERS
Trea Turner - SS Joc Pederson - RF
Adam Eaton - RF Justin Turner - 3B
Anthony Rendon - 3B A.J. Pollock - LF
Juan Soto - LF Cody Bellinger - CF
Howie Kendrick - 2B Max Muncy - 1B
Ryan Zimmerman - 1B Will Smith - C
Kurt Suzuki - C Corey Seager - SS
Victor Robles - CF Gavin Lux - 2B
S. Strasburg - RHP Clayton Kershaw - LHP

The Nationals will attempt to rebound from a rough first game in the Division Series. Interestingly, they sent up Stephen Strasburg, three days after a three-inning outing in the wild-card game. But they probably can’t afford to go back to Washington on the edge of elimination, and up against Clayton Kershaw, Strasburg represents their best hope of squaring the series. It’ll be his first ever outing on fewer than four days’ rest. Mind you, Monday was his first ever outing out of the bullpen, and that went fairly well. We’ll see if the Diamondbacks East can do a better job - in particular, their offense - of stopping the Evil Empire West than was managed last night.