The Oakland Athletics were able to defend themselves from Wednesday’s elimination, and they will have company on the postseason tightrope on Thursday. The Athletics, Miami Marlins, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres will all play for their playoff lives, which means the division series round could be complete by early Friday morning.
Here’s everything you need to prepare for another quadruple day, including a look at all four matches, the numbers you need to know, our hot tip for the day, and more.
Important links: 3 questions American League | 3 questions National League | Predictions | Calendar, bracket
What is in game?
All hours ET; all series to the best of five games in neutral venues
Juego 3: No. 2 Atlanta Braves (Kyle Wright) vs. No. 6 Miami Marlins (Sixto Sanchez), 2:08 p.m. en Houston
After all, could the Marlins be beaten in the postseason? The franchise that set a record by winning its first seven playoff series is one loss away from tasting October’s loss for the first time. After being shut out in Game 2, Miami will have to pitch its bats against a Braves team that has shutouts three in four postseason games, although Atlanta starter Wright hasn’t pitched since Sept. 25. The Marlins turn to Sanchez, who shut out the Cubs in five innings in a wild-card round win. – Steve Richards
Game 4: No. 2 Oakland Athletics (Frankie Montas) vs. No. 6 Houston Astros (TBA), 3:35 pm in Los Angeles
The Athletics rallied from a 7-4 deficit to keep the series alive on Wednesday and now things are getting really interesting, especially with Zack Greinke battling a sore arm and unable to start for the Astros. Cristian Javier will likely get the ball after pitching a relief inning in Game 2, but both teams are expected to use their bullpens in a big way. Athletics closer Liam Hendriks made 37 pitches working the last three innings on Wednesday, but remember against the White Sox he pitched one inning the day after he made 49 pitches, so he should be available for at least three outs, and maybe four or five. The A’s are still in good bullpen form: Joakim Soria, JB Wendelken and Lou Trivino didn’t pitch in Game 3, and Jake Diekman pitched 20 but did not shoot in Game 2. Plus, Montas is a good matchup for the team’s lineup. Houston rights, as Montas held the rights to an average of .198 and an OPS of .572 (compared to .350 and 1.061 against lefties). I see this series is going to five games. – David Schoenfield
Juego 4: No. 1 Tampa Bay Rays (Ryan Thompson) vs. No. 5 New York Yankees (Jordan Montgomery), 7:10 p.m. en San Diego
The Yankees turn to Montgomery and are obviously desperate for him to go reasonably far in the game. The Yankees generally loathe using Aroldis Chapman for two innings, but he threw two scoreless innings against Cleveland in the wild-card round (24 efficient pitches), so Aaron Boone might consider having four innings between Chapman and Zack Britton, though he’s rolling the dice a bit and would still have to worry about Game 5. Montgomery finished with a 5.11 ERA in his 44 innings, but there were actually a lot of positives: 47 strikeouts against just nine walks and a strong hitting rate that it was in the 88th percentile. But the seven home runs he gave up came from right-handed hitters, suggesting that the Rays will stack their lineup to that side, making it possible for Boone to do the same thing he did in Game 2 and take out Montgomery in favor of Deivi Garcia as a long relay. Or maybe the Yankees will just walk to victory by hitting the ball. – Schoenfield
Game 3: No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers (TBA) vs. No. 4 San Diego Padres (Adrian Morejón), 9:08 pm in Arlington, Texas
What will these guys do for an encore? Game 2 on Wednesday night will be tough to beat. The Padres were one of the good stories of the postseason. But when your two best starting pitchers aren’t feeling well, you won’t be in the postseason for long. That’s the situation San Diego is in, as the Padres, minus Dinelson Lamet and (essentially) Mike Clevinger, are looking at things from a 2-0 gap against the mighty Dodgers. But based on what we saw Wednesday, the Padres won’t go down easily, or quietly. Here we say that there are some fireworks between these teams. Stay tuned. – Richards
Updated odds for each series
Screenings courtesy of ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle.
Astros-A’s (HOU 2-1): Astros 70.5% to advance
Yankees-Rays (TB 2-1): Rays 76.3% to advance
Marlins-Braves (ATL 2-0): Braves 95.0% to advance
Padres-Dodgers (LAD 2-0): Dodgers 90.8% to advance
Odds of winning the World Series
NL: Dodgers 47.7%, Braves 14.2%, Padres 3.5%, Marlins 0.2%.
AL: Rays 18.7%, Astros 6.5%, Yankees 4.9%, A’s 4.5%.
Hot fact of the day
The Yankees are finished.
You know, as the Yankees struggled all season, we kept saying, “Just wait until everyone is healthy.” Sure enough, they got everyone healthy just in time for the postseason and, sure enough, they scored 31 runs in their first three playoff games. Unstoppable!
However, we forget one thing: the Yankees don’t have depth in their pitching. They may have three reliable pitchers in Gerrit Cole, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman. Masahiro Tanaka has been a postseason hero in the past, but not this year, with two bad starts. Chad Green is usually pretty good, but Michael Perez hit him a two-run homer in Game 3. Plus, the Rays have about seven Chad Greens in their bullpen.
Of course, the Rays also have the best player on the planet in Randy Arozarena, who had three more hits, including a home run. (How did the Cardinals trade this guy?) Rays in four. – Schoenfield
Statistics of the day
The balls have flown out of Dodger Stadium in the Astros and A’s series: 18 home runs in the first three games, including seven in Game 3 on Wednesday. That’s the most home runs in three games in a postseason series. Every member of the Athletics infield – Marcus Semien, Tommy La Stella, Matt Olson and Chad Pinder – hit a home run on Wednesday, the first time it has occurred in postseason history.
Marcus Semien, Tommy La Stella, Matt Olson and Chad Pinder each hit a HR in the @Athletics Game 3 win over the Astros.
They are the first team in postseason history to have each of their starting infielders HR in a game. pic.twitter.com/CXK1F69U9p
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 7, 2020
What happened last night…
Cody Bellinger homered and stole another, and the Dodgers survived a horrific ninth inning by closer Kenley Jansen to beat 6-5 and take a 2-0 series lead against the Padres in a thrilling game. … Facing a 7-4 deficit (and postseason elimination) after six innings, the A’s made a bouquet to tie it for seventh thanks to a three-run homer from Chad Pinder, took the lead in the eighth and They closed things out old-school fashion in the ninth with Liam Hendriks pitching the final three innings in a 9-7 win over the Astros. Hendriks allowed only one hit, struck out four and made 26 of his 37 pitches for strikes. … The Rays hit the Yankees 8-4 hard, hitting three home runs to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Giancarlo Stanton homered for the fifth straight game for New York. … The power duo of Travis d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson homered for the second day in a row, backing up another great outing by Ian Anderson as the Braves pushed the Marlins to the brink of elimination with a 2-0 scoreline.
Social media post of the day
Dodgers and Padres exchange pleasantries after Cody Bellinger’s catch. pic.twitter.com/f9i7yA8uSY
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) October 8, 2020
Best MLB playoff moment to date
The stage was set for another Fernando Tatis Jr. moment, but Cody Bellinger snatched it from him. Bellinger’s steal of his home run, which would have put his team ahead in the seventh inning, barely kept the Padres at bay and will take his place in Dodgers history, particularly if LA wins. all
Cody Bellinger. Instant classic. pic.twitter.com/TPRnAFFuMo
— MLB (@MLB) October 8, 2020
The MVP of the playoffs so far
Randy Arozarena of the Rays. What no Has this guy done this postseason? As of Game 3 against the Yankees, Arozarena is 20-12 with three home runs and six extra-base hits in five postseason games. His list of achievements:
• He is only the fourth player to record 11 hits in a four-game span during a single postseason, joining Hideki Matsui (2004), Marquis Grissom (1995) and Billy Hatcher (1990).
• Joined Ichiro Suzuki (2001) as the only rookies to produce three games with three or more hits in a single postseason.
• He is the third rookie with a home run in three consecutive games in postseason history, joining Evan Longoria (four in 2008) and Kyle Schwarber (three in 2015).
• Tied with Reggie Jackson (1977-78) and George Springer (2017-18) for four straight postseason games with at least five total bases.
• Joins Juan Gonzalez (four in 1996) and Bengie Molina (three in 2005) as the only home runs in three consecutive postseason games against the Yankees.