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Your Monday LDS guide -- Will last year's pennant winners both advance to the LCS?

ESPN.com | Updated: 2018-10-08 20:00:27

We saw our first sweep completed on Sunday as the Milwaukee Brewers eliminated the Colorado Rockies, but the Atlanta Braves forced a Game 4 in their National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers after finally scoring some runs. Which means there will be two elimination games Monday, with the Houston Astros aiming to close out the Cleveland Indians with a sweep of their own, while L.A. takes another shot at shutting down Atlanta.

The most important thing of the day: As much drama as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have already crammed into their first two games, Monday's matchup in new Yankee Stadium is the first postseason game between the two teams in New York since the Red Sox completed their epic comeback in old Yankee Stadium in 2004 with wins in Games 6 and 7 of the American League Championship Series. Boston did that in the House That Ruth Built. Can they do it again in their two games in the House That Jeter Built?

ALDS Game 3: Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians

Dallas Keuchel (12-11, 3.74 ERA) vs. Mike Clevinger (13-8, 3.02 ERA), 1:30 p.m. ET, TBS

The stakes: The Astros are looking to complete a sweep in this clash between the AL's past two pennant-winners, all the better to line up their rotation and lie in wait for whichever AL East powerhouse survives that showdown. The Indians need a win to get back into the series and maybe also show that they're more than just the champs of baseball's weakest division.

If the Astros win: A return to the ALCS, with a heavyweight title bout against another superteam on tap for whoever wins the other series. Giving Jose Altuve some extra rest is an added bonus.

If the Indians win: They survive another day, but perhaps more importantly it might mean that they're getting offense from more than just Francisco Lindor. If Jose Ramirez and the rest of their hitters stay quiet, the Tribe won't survive long in this series.

One key stat to know: The Indians won 39 of 57 games played against the Royals, White Sox and Tigers, a trio of clubs that lost 302 games between them. Against the rest of MLB, the Indians were just 52-53.

The matchup that matters most: How well Clevinger stymies George Springer and Alex Bregman, both of whom are hot, and both of whom have homered and hit well against the Indians' young right-hander in his brief big-league career. If he can keep those two under control, the game will be in reach even with Cleveland's offensive struggles so far this series.

The prediction: The Indians go from the upper-90's velocity of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole to the crafty Keuchel, who will cut, sink and move the ball around. Maybe that will help speed up the bats of Jose Ramirez and Josh Donaldson -- at least until A.J. Hinch turns to his bullpen, where Ryan Pressly has emerged as a huge weapon. Cleveland's season comes to an end. Astros 5, Indians 2. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com

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NLDS Game 4: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves

TBD vs. Mike Foltynewicz (13-10, 2.85 ERA), 4:30 p.m. ET, FS1

The stakes: The Braves showed they still have some life left in their season with Sunday's slam-tastic victory over the Dodgers thanks to Ronald Acuna Jr., but they're still only a game away from elimination. The Dodgers, having just seen Walker Buehler get lit up, want to get back to business as usual, win this series and go play the team with the NL's best record -- the Brewers -- for the pennant. Though they haven't announced a starter yet, veteran lefty Rich Hill is expected to get the nod.

If the Braves win: They'll have done more than notch a moral victory in front of their fans, they'll have tied up the series and have a shot at eliminating the Dodgers, something that seemed impossible little more than 24 hours ago when they were being shut out in Games 1 and 2.

If the Dodgers win: Again, business as usual for the big-budget ballclub that's supposed to win, and a nice rest until they have to go to Milwaukee to start the NL Championship Series.

One key stat to know: Maybe Ronald Acuna Jr.'s grand slam in Game 3 shouldn't have been a huge surprise. As part of his second-half breakout, Acuna hit 13 home runs and slugged .657 in 36 home games after the All-Star break. So if you're wondering if this is an Andruw Jones-level debut on the postseason stage, the answer is yes. He has two of Atlanta's three extra-base hits in the series.

The matchup that matters most: Foltynewicz providing a stronger start for the Braves after taking a Game 1 loss. In that game, he put the Braves in a quick 4-0 hole while allowing seven baserunners in two innings. His stuff had plenty of bite -- he notched five strikeouts among his six outs, leaning heavily on a sinker/slider mix -- but the two home runs he allowed (both to lefties, Joc Pederson and Max Muncy) were on four-seam fastballs that caught too much of the plate. He can't afford those kinds of mistakes against this kind of lineup.

The prediction: The Braves somehow survived nine walks and two home runs to keep the series alive. Though they're bringing Game 1 starter Mike Foltynewicz back after he threw just two innings, he's certainly capable of a big game. But I still like this Dodgers' lineup against a right-handed starter. Dodgers fans, you won't have to use those Game 5 tickets. Dodgers 4, Braves 3. -- Schoenfield

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ALDS Game 4: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Nathan Eovaldi (6-7, 3.81 ERA) vs. Luis Severino (19-8, 3.39 ERA), 7:30 p.m. ET, TBS

The stakes: By definition, somebody's going to emerge with a 2-1 advantage, setting the stage for an elimination game in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday in Game 4. It doesn't get any more high stakes than that -- unless the teams split and we get a Game 5 in Fenway on Thursday.

If the Red Sox win: Fears of seeing their 108-win season go down the drain recede, the fright all of the non-Kimbrels in the bullpen inspire goes into storage for perhaps as much as 24 hours, and the tantalizing prospect of crushing the life out of the Yankees' season beckons.

If the Yankees win: They give the ball to CC Sabathia on Tuesday with a chance in an elimination game, which sounds ominous, but his teams have gone "only" 2-2 when he's on the bump aiming to eliminate opponents, and 3-3 when facing elimination. So, it's still a coin toss if we see Game 5. Oh, and panic in the streets in Boston, but you knew that.

One key stat to know: All eyes might be on J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts, but the Red Sox hitter with the most power production in Yankee Stadium over the past three years is Andrew Benintendi. His six home runs and .557 slugging percentage in the Bronx might be the makings of a new Yankees killer ready to create an October legend or two of his own.

The matchup that matters most: Eovaldi's new cutter has been a difference-making pitch, and he has used it to good effect to generate weak contact from the Yankees, allowing just one unearned run in 16 innings with the Red Sox while holding the Bombers to a .596 OPS with the pitch on the season. If it's on, Boston may not have to worry about its bullpen problems before the game gets into Kimbrel territory.

The prediction: The Red Sox led the AL in runs, but the lineup gets thin in a hurry once you get past the first four hitters (or five, when Steve Pearce plays). Mitch Moreland hasn't hit in two months and Rafael Devers maybe gets a start, but you get the feeling this comes down to Luis Severino's ability to hold down Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. He gets in five solid innings and the bullpen holds it down from there. Yankees 6, Red Sox 3. -- Schoenfield

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