MLB Championship Series Saturday – Recaps, Scores, Conclusions

The 2022 MLB playoffs are down to just four teams, each vying for a spot in this year’s World Series.

The American League Championship Series moves to the Bronx for Game 3 of the Houston Astros against the New York Yankees. Houston won the first two games at home and has a 2-0 lead.

In the National League Championship Series, it will be Game 4 between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies. After splitting the first two games in San Diego, the Phillies took a 2-1 series lead with a 4-2 victory in Game 3 on Friday night.

Plus: Who has the NLCS advantage? Predictions for Parents-Phillies | Who will govern the ALCS? Predictions for Yankees-Astros | Table, results and more

Houston Astros at New York Yankees (5:07 p.m. ET, TBS)

Astros lead series 2-0

Astros starter: Christian Javier

Yankees starter: Gerrit Cabbage

Starting lineups:





What to watch for: Yankees ace Gerrit Cole will need to replicate his most recent performance against the Astros, on June 25, when he went seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits, walking two and striking out eight batters. (On the flip side: The Yankees still lost that game, as tonight’s Astros starter Cristian Javier combined with two relievers to keep New York hitless.) a strong October thus far, posting a 2.03 ERA in two starts against Cleveland in the ALDS, allowing three runs in 13⅓ innings. New York will need more of the same if it isn’t to fall into a 3-0 hole.

Meanwhile, Houston’s Javier makes his first postseason start. Javier’s previous postseason experience has been a relief, where he posted a 3.38 ERA in 12 appearances, allowing eight runs in 21⅓ innings. Javier pitched 1⅓ innings in Game 1 of the ALDS against Seattle, but hasn’t started a game since Oct. 1. Javier replaces Lance McCullers Jr., whose start was delayed until Game 4 after an errant champagne bottle hit him in the elbow during the Astros. ALDS victory celebration.

For the Yankees, there’s no way around it: They have to win on Saturday. This is the biggest start for Cole to his Yankees career, which is why New York signed him to a nine-year, $324 million deal before the 2020 season. If they don’t win on Saturday, the team should start pack their lockers, especially given the strength and depth of the Astros. –Joon Lee

Our picks

Yankees 5, Astros 3: As he has so far this postseason, Cole is off to the best start of his Yankees career, and New York’s offense shows some life against Javier. –Read

Astros 4, Yankees 3: Runs have been hard to come by for the Yankees and their task won’t be any easier against Javier and a rested Houston bullpen. Looks like we’re headed for a short series. –Bradford Doolittle

Yankees 2, Astros 1: Cole almost single-handedly won his division series for New York against Cleveland, and for his third act all he needs to do is save the Yankees’ season. Houston tore the Yankees apart in the first two games of the series, and with New York’s bats acting like they’ve already hibernated for the winter, anything short of perfection on the mound may not be enough. So the Yankees turn to Cole to oppose Javier, who in his last four regular-season starts pitched 23 scoreless innings of baseball and allowed six hits. Yeah, that’s the No. 3 or No. 4 starter for the Astros. Yes, this is the task facing the Yankees, and perhaps ultimately the winner of the NL pennant. This is what makes Game 3 a must for New York. –Jeff Passan

San Diego Padres vs. Philadelphia Phillies (7:45 p.m. ET, FOX)

Phillies lead series 2-1

Parent Headline: Mike Clevinger

Phillies starter: Bailey Falter

Starting lineups:





What to watch for: It may look like the Phillies are playing with some house money after beating Joe Musgrove with a back-end rotation guy on Ranger Suarez in Game 3. But they could face an uphill battle on Saturday after drafting the 25-year-old southpaw Falter as the surprise starter. By design, it won’t last long, which means manager Rob Thomson will need his pen again after using it for four innings on Friday. Piggybacking Falter with Noah Syndergaard, and getting a few innings out of him, could be the best case scenario for the Phillies.

The Padres’ staff is better prepared for the days ahead, but they’ll need an offensive performance like they put up in Game 2 to ensure the series returns to San Diego. Padres starter Clevinger has playoff experience, but not necessarily big numbers. He allowed four runs in just 2⅔ innings against the Dodgers in the final round and has a 5.74 career ERA in nine postseason appearances. For all of the above reasons, he expects a high scoring game. –Jesse Rogers

Our picks

Padres 7, Phillies 6: It will be a wild affair as both teams will use their bullpens early and often in Game 4, but the Padres will survive because the Phillies won’t get the closing innings they did in Friday’s win. –Rogers

Padres 7, Phillies 6: The speed with which San Diego manager Bob Melvin and Thomson have to get their starting pitchers out could be the benchmark for a game that is the most likely to go wrong in this series. The Phillies need to be careful about overstretching their bullpen. The Padres, with Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola in the offing, absolutely need to win Game 4. These teams are too close for the series not to return to San Diego. — Pass

Phillies 6, Padres 5: Clevinger has been trying to pitch through a sore knee without much success, posting a 7.10 ERA in his last seven starts (including five runs in 2⅔ innings against the Dodgers in the division series). He feels like an early lead for the Phillies and they hang on for a World Series victory. –David Schonfield

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