LEADING OFF: Dodgers seek NLCS rally as series shifts to LA

Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith can not make the tag on Atlanta Braves Ozzie Albies scores on a single by Austin Riley in the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball’s National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

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COMING HOME

Trailing 2-0 in the NL Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers have the Atlanta Braves right where they want them. At their house.

The Braves’ last win at Dodger Stadium was June 9, 2018. They’ve lost nine straight in Los Angeles, getting swept in a three-game series in late August and were shut out twice in the 2018 NL Division Series.

Going back to the 2013 NLDS, the Braves have dropped 19 of their last 22 in LA.

The series resumes with Game 3 at Dodger Stadium. Charlie Morton (0-1, 3.86 ERA in the postseason) starts for the Braves. Walker Buehler (0-1, 3.38), a 16-game winner in the regular season, takes the mound for the Dodgers.

HOUSTON’S PROBLEM

Houston’s pitching staff needs to get itself sorted quickly after allowing 25 runs and 32 hits to Boston over the first three games of the AL Championship Series.

Veteran right-hander Zack Greinke will try to slow the Red Sox at the start of Game 4 as the Astros aim to erase a 2-1 series deficit. Boston has three grand slams in the past two games, and Houston’s pitching woes have underscored just how much the team is missing No. 1 starter Lance McCullers Jr., who was left off the ALCS roster with an injury.

Greinke will start Game 4 but likely won’t get a long leash after being limited over the past two months with a neck issue and a positive COVID-19 test. He’ll be followed by right-hander Cristian Javier, and then a bullpen that has pitched 15 1/3 innings in the last two games.

The Red Sox will start right-hander Nick Pivetta, who was 9-8 with a 4.53 ERA in the regular season. Boston matched a franchise record with its seventh straight postseason victory at home Monday, and its 20 home runs this postseason tied the mark set by the 2004 Astros for most through a team’s first eight playoff games.

GIANT ASSURANCE

The Giants plan to exercise Buster Posey’s $22 million club option for the 2022 season as long as the veteran catcher wants to keep playing after a stellar year.

Posey, whose contract includes a $3 million buyout, helped lead the Giants to a franchise-record 107 wins and their first NL West title since 2012 by playing regularly down the stretch this year as he demonstrated his health and durability during his 12th major league season. The 34-year-old Posey opted out of the coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign to care for prematurely born adopted twin girls.

“He is in our estimation the best catcher in baseball this year,” Farhan Zaidi, Giants president of baseball operations, said Monday. “… Obviously want to have conversations with Buster and continue to have internal conversations about that but having him on this team next year is a high priority.”

Posey caught five of the final six regular-season games and 10 of the last 13 as San Francisco clinched the division on the final day. He batted .304 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs, showing his surgically repaired right hip had finally regained full strength three years post-op.

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