Eric Gay/Associated Press
It appears as if the Major League Baseball season is headed toward a World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa Bay took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday, while the Braves extended their lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers to 2-0 with a dramatic 8-7 win.
The Rays are a single win away from their first World Series appearance since 2008, and the Braves are two victories away from their first Fall Classic showing since 1999.
Here is a look at the rest of the League Championship Series schedule they will each have to navigate, per MLB.com.
American League Championship Series
Game 4: Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 8:40 p.m. ET on TBS
Game 5*: Thursday, Oct. 15 at 5:07 p.m. ET on TBS
Game 6*: Friday, Oct. 16 at 6:07 p.m. ET on TBS
Game 7*: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 8:37 p.m. ET on TBS
National League Championship Series
Game 3: Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 6:05 p.m. ET on FS1
Game 4: Thursday, Oct. 15 at 8:08 p.m. ET on Fox/FS1
Game 5*: Friday, Oct. 16 at 9:08 p.m. ET on FS1
Game 6*: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 4:38 p.m. ET on FS1
Game 7*: Sunday, Oct. 18 at 8:15 p.m. ET on Fox/FS1
The prediction here is the Braves and Rays will continue their dominance and reach the World Series, although for different reasons.
Atlanta is dialed in offensively with 13 runs through two games against the Dodgers. Freddie Freeman hit a home run in each of the first two contests, while Marcell Ozuna, Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson have provided support.
That doesn’t even include Ronald Acuna Jr., who is yet to get going with just one hit this series.
Los Angeles has had no answer for the depth of the Braves’ lineup that finished second in the league in total runs during the regular season and leads the National League in runs during the playoffs.
Atlanta still hasn’t lost in the postseason and will finish its victory over the Dodgers with its bats.
As for the Rays, defense and the bullpen have been the stories in the ALCS.
In Tuesday’s win, Kevin Kiermaier and Hunter Renfroe flashed the leather in key moments with runners on base to preserve Tampa Bay’s victory, while the bullpen pitched four shutout innings. The Astros, which are loaded with household names throughout the lineup, have a mere two runs in 12 innings against Tampa Bay’s bullpen through the first three games.
It is the same bullpen group that allowed just one run in 6.2 innings in the win-or-go-home Game 5 of the Division Series against the New York Yankees.
There is no reason to think anything will change when it comes to Tampa Bay’s bullpen now that it has a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. Diego Castillo is yet to allow a single run in the playoffs as a closer who can go more than one inning if necessary, and a litany of setup men allow manager Kevin Cash to go to the bullpen earlier than most.
Houston has not figured out the Rays’ bullpen to this point and won’t in Game 4.
World Series Prediction: Atlanta Braves vs. Tampa Bay Rays