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ghing emojis.ANOTHER SLAM, PLEASEGonzalez’s slam was the Astros’ sixth this season, which ties a franchise record for third-most in a season. The record is seven, set by the 2001 and 2007 Astros teams.TRAINER’S ROOMAstros: OF George Springer (quadriceps) was available to pinch hit Friday. … OF Jake Marisnick (groin) began a rehab stint at Triple-A Fresno on Friday. He was 2 for 4 with solo home run and a double.Angels: RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani (strained right elbow) is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Saturday. …. LHP Tyler Skaggs (left adductor strain) and RHP Nick Tropeano (right shoulder inflammation) played catch Friday.UP NEXTAstros: RHP Verlander (12-8, 2.65 ERA) earned his 200th win in his last start. He is 2-2 with a 5.57 ERA in August.Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (8-7 Ryan Rua Jersey , 3.41) is 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA over his last three starts following an 0-6 stretch before that. Ah, baseball. The sport where a 162-game schedule that spans six calendar months is somehow still not enough to crown a champion in two of the six divisions.The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers will square off at Wrigley Field to determine the NL Central champion, while the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies will meet at Dodger Stadium with the NL West title on the line.The winners of those games will advance on to the NLDS, with the NL Central champion holding the No. 1 seed and the NL West winner taking on the Atlanta Braves as the No. 2 seed.The losersof those games will turn around and play each other on Tuesday in the NL Wild Card Game.For a look at the current postseason bracket, head over toMLB.com.So while the full playoff seeding has not yet taken shape, it's never too early for some bold predictions on how the 2018 postseason will play out.Wild Card GamesJ.A. HappJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesWhile the NL wild-card matchup is still up in the air, the AL game on Wednesday will feature the New York Yankees hosting the Oakland Athletics.The Yankees won 100 games during the regular season, but still finished eight games back in the AL East, so they find themselves in the winner-take-all Wild Card Game for the second year in a row as a result.Playing that extra game didn't stop them from advancing to the ALCS a year ago, and the upstart Athletics will have their hands full with a lineup that set an MLB record with 267 home runs.Oakland does not have a lockdown starter to call on for the Wild Card Game, but they do have one of the best bullpens in baseball, with the veteran trio of Jeurys Familia, Fernando Rodney and Blake Treinen slamming the door in the late innings.If the Yankees can strike early, they'll be in good shape.Prediction: Yankees advance to ALDSDivision SeriesMaddie Meyer/Getty ImagesHere's where we need to make some predictions on how at least one NL division plays out.We'll say the Dodgers beat the Rockies later today, clinching the No. 2 seed in the process and a meeting with the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.Regardless of who winds up as the NL Central champ, there's a good chance the Cubs and Brewers will meet up again in the NLDS, as they finished the regular season with the two best records in the National League.In other words, sorry Rockies.The Cubs have the postseason track record and they won the season series (11-8, +6 run differential), but this Brewers team is built for October.They have the hottest hitter on the planet and likely NL MVP in Christian Yelich anchoring the lineup, and while the starting rotation isn't flashy, their bullpen is excellent. Jeremy Jeffress, Josh Hader and Corey Knebel are as good a late-inning trio as any in baseball, while Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes are both multi-inning weapons.Cubs fans won't want to hear it, but Brewers advance.Meanwhile, the Dodgers starting pitching has been lights out over the past month, with Clayton Kershaw (6 GS Drew Robinson Jersey , 3-0, 3.89 ERA), Walker Buehler (5 GS, 1-1, 1.95 ERA) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (5 GS, 3-2, 1.50 ERA) and Rich Hill (5 GS, 5-0, 3.90 ERA) all hitting their stride.That, coupled with a bullpen that has seen the pieces fall into place as the season has progressed, will be enough for the Dodgers to advance to the NLCS for the third year in a row.On the AL side, the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros matchup up extremely well with two stacked starting rotations.The Indians will trot out Corey Kluber (20-7, 2.89 ERA, 222 K), Trevor Bauer (12-6, 2.21 ERA, 221 K), Carlos Carrasco (17-10, 3.38 ERA, 231 K) and Mike Clevinger (13-8, 3.02 ERA, 207 K) as they look to avenge last year's ALDS exit.The Astros will counter with Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.52 ERA, 290 K), Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.88 ERA, 276 K) http://www.rangersfanproshop.com/authentic-alex-claudio-jersey , Charlie Morton (15-3, 3.13 ERA, 201 K) and Dallas Keuchel (12-11, 3.74 ERA, 153 K).The Astros have a superior bullpen (3.03 ERA vs. 4.60 ERA), so advantage Houston in a series where runs could be at a premium.And that leaves us with a Red Sox vs. Yankees matchup.The Red Sox won the season series by a slim 10-9 margin, but the Yankees took two series in September, so the momentum would seem to be on their side.Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez have shouldered the run production load all season for the Red Sox, while the Yankees have relied on different players at different times, including a red-hot Luke Voit.The X-factor in this matchup will be the Yankees starting pitching. The trio of J.A. Happ, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino can be excellent when they pitch up to their potential, but they've all been inconsistent at times this year.Behind the lefty duo of Chris Sale and David Price, and an offense that is firing on all cylinders, the Red Sox move on to the ALCS.Prediction: Dodgers and Brewers advance in NL; Red Sox and Astros advance in ALChampionship SeriesChristian YelichDylan Buell/Getty ImagesThe Brewers have made the playoffs just five times in franchise history.The Dodgers have made the playoffs six years in a row and 34 times in a storied franchise history that includes six World Series titles.Call it David vs. Goliath.And yet, it's still hard to not see a little bit of the 2015 Kansas City Royals in this year's Brewers team, and we've seen time and again that strong defense and lights out pitching can go a long way in October.Brewers advance to the World Series for just the second time in team history.Meanwhile, the AL matchup is more like Goliath vs. Goliath.The Red Sox wrapped up the regular season with the best record in baseball, but the Astros are the defending champs for a reason, and this year's team has a better rotation and a deeper bullpen than last year's squad.This one is a prime candidate to go seven games鈥攋ust like last year's ALCS鈥攁nd the Astros have to be the favorites to advance to the World Series once againPrediction: Brewers and Astros advance.World SeriesAlex BregmanTom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesThe storybook season ends here for the Brewers.Don't expect a sweep, but the Astros are simply the better team, and that would be the case when stacked up against any of the NL contenders.Not since the 2000 Yankees has a team repeated as World Series champs, but this year's Astros team checks all the boxes.Just for kicks, let's say Alex Bregman puts a bow on his breakout season by taking home World Series MVP honors.Prediction: Astros in sixAll stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted.
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