The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros each convincingly finished off their Division Series opponents on Monday, as baseball’s top teams continued to dominate the first full round of postseason play.
The Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 6-2 to advance out of the NLDS in four games, while the Astros moved on to the ALCS in a three-game sweep after pounding the Cleveland Indians 11-3.
Dodgers Focused on World Series Title
A three-run home run from midseason acquisition Manny Machado in the seventh inning broke open a close game for Los Angeles, which is now only one step away from reaching its second consecutive World Series. The Dodgers have set a goal of finishing the job this year, after coming up just short in their loss to Houston last season.
“You don’t ever take this stuff for granted, and we can enjoy it tonight, but we need to get on a plane, go home, and prepare for the Brewers,” Dodgers infielder Justin Turner told the Los Angeles Times. “We remember the last day last year, that bittersweet feeling, and we’re letting that motivate us.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts echoed those sentiments, saying that there are still clear goals ahead for his team to aim for.
“We all know that there’s a lot more work to be done,” Roberts told reporters. “We have eight more wins to go.”
Meanwhile, the defending champion Astros were locked in a tense struggle with the Indians for much of Monday’s game. But a six-run eighth inning turned the contest into a laugher, ending Cleveland’s season while sending Houston through to the ALCS for the second year in a row.
“We’re the reigning world champs, and we really have a good ability to show up for the day,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said after the win. “So proud of our guys, the work they put into the winter. It was a short winter for us. As you can see, our guys are pretty hungry to advance.”
Bregman Wants Astros to Play in Primetime
Houston is not only the defending World Series champion, but also won 103 games during the regular season, second only to the Boston Red Sox this year. But despite that pedigree, Houston third baseman Alex Bregman feels like the team isn’t getting the respect it deserves.
Speaking to ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, Bregman complained about the fact that all three Astros games in the ALDS were played during the afternoon.
“Does Floyd Mayweather fight the first fight of the night, or is he the main event? I mean, does Tiger Woods tee off at 8 am?” Bregman asked. “It’s about time the ‘show ‘Stros’ play on primetime television, so we’re looking forward to the ALCS.”
The Dodgers will face off with the red hot Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS, while the Astros await the winner of the series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Boston leads that series two games to one after a 16-1 blowout of New York on Monday night.
With Boston’s advancement to the ALCS yet to be secured, the Astros have taken on the role of World Series favorites according to bookmakers. William Hill lists Houston as a 9/4 pick to win another championship this year, just ahead of the Red Sox (3/1), Brewers (7/2), and Dodgers (10/3), while the Yankees are now a 9/1 longshot.