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ALDS state of play: balls are flying and overs are cashing

ALDS state of play: balls are flying and overs are cashing

The American League Division Series matchups continue on Thursday with two pivotal Game 4s as the Astros and Rays respectively lead the Athletics and Yankees by two games to one. With both series still wide-open for the taking, bets continue to flow in every direction for all four remaining teams in the A.L.

Overs are cashing left and right

So far the main theme of both series’ has been scoring. Five of the six games have hit the over so far, a surprising trend that especially deviates from the Astros’ last round, in which they scored just seven runs in their two games but won them both with strong pitching.

The ball has been flying on the West Coast, particularly in Los Angeles where the Astros and Athletics are playing. The two teams have combined for 18 home runs through the first three games of the series (all nine-inning games). But there weren’t any home runs in the most significant inning of the series so far, the top of the sixth in Game 1 on Monday. The Athletics led 5-3, and with the bases empty and two outs, shortstop Marcus Semien (playing on the right side in the shift) misplayed an easy ground ball. The next four Astros got hits, scoring four unearned runs and taking a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Both bullpens were at their best in Game 2, a contest in which all the runs were scored in the first five innings. Houston’s 5-2 win put Oakland on the brink of elimination, and the situation became even more dire when the Astros led Game 3 by three runs after six innings.

When Oakland retook the lead in the top of the seventh, Bob Melvin made the risky decision to bring in closer Liam Hendriks for the remainder of the game. It paid off, though, as Hendriks was able to navigate through three innings throwing just 37 pitches, and should be available in Game 4 if needed.

Rays come storming back

Game 1 between New York and Tampa Bay wasn’t nearly as lopsided as the 9-3 score would indicate – it was a one-run game until the ninth inning before Giancarlo Stanton’s grand slam put the nail in the coffin. Tampa wasn’t ready to go down without a fight though. Stanton hit another moonshot in Game 2, estimated at 458 feet (although it looked further than that), but the Rays hung on in the later innings and escaped trouble when Aaron Judge, up in the ninth inning as the go-ahead run, grounded out to end the game.

The Rays took the lead in the series with Charlie Morton’s strong outing in Game 3, along with three RBIs each from Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Perez, their eight and nine hitters. Randy Arozarena is 8-for-12 in the series heading into Game 4 on Thursday as the Rays look to send their division rivals home without a World Series appearance for the eleventh straight season.

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Last updated: Fri 9th October 2020
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