It’s another four-game day in the MLB playoffs with every division series in action again on Wednesday. The Atlanta Braves got things started with a victory over the Miami Marlins. Then the Oakland Athletics averted a sweep by the Houston Astros. What will happen as the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays battle for an ALDS edge and the Los Angeles Dodgers try to take another step toward reaching the NLCS when they meet the San Diego Padres?
Here are the stars, turning points and takeaways from each of Wednesday’s games as they conclude.
What it means: An A’s team that entered Wednesday 1-29 when trailing by at least three runs after the sixth inning in postseason games came back to beat the Astros and save their season under that very scenario — and now is when things get interesting.
The A’s used their closer, Liam Hendriks, to record the final nine outs of Game 3 and lost second baseman Tommy La Stella after he took a fastball near his right elbow. The Astros, meanwhile, are unsure if they’ll have Zack Greinke, who has been nursing soreness in his arm and hasn’t pitched since Game 1 of the wild-card series.
La Stella has only a contusion, and Hendriks expects to be ready. But both are nonetheless uncertain, as is the identity of the Astros’ Game 4 starter. One near-certainty: The shadows at Dodger Stadium, which have covered the batter’s box for the last few innings of every game in this series, will continue to make an impact, making it exceedingly difficult for these hitters to see. “It’s dangerous as hell,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. — Alden Gonzalez
Next up: Game 4, Thursday at 3:35 p.m. ET
Ian Anderson pitches 5.2 scoreless innings, finishing with eight strikeouts as the Braves defeat the Marlins 2-0 in Game 2 of the NLDS.
What it means: The Braves have won this postseason when they’ve hit, just as they did during the regular season. They’ve also won when they haven’t, and that’s a scary proposition for any team that looms in the Braves’ path.
Atlanta has three shutouts in four outings during their perfect playoff run, led by two scoreless outings from 22-year-old phenom Ian Anderson. After a season of hand-wringing over Atlanta’s injury-riddled rotation, since the postseason bell rang the Atlanta rotation is 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA.
If the starting pitching keeps performing at the level it has shown so far, even as the level of competition ramps up, this is a Braves team with no real weakness. — Bradford Doolittle
Next up: Game 3, Thursday at 2:08 p.m. ET
More Wednesday games: