The Dodgers proved in one inning why the NLCS is far from over

Create: 2020-10-15
Update: 2020-10-15
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Thursday, October 15, 2020
For the first time since the months-long shutdown, it feels like sports are starting to slow down again. We've still got baseball and sporadic doses of football, golf and some other things, but the viewing options are getting limited. Mere weeks ago we had an entire sports pupu platter available every night.
Lucky for us, both MLB League Championship Series are at least getting interesting. The Dodgers and Astros finally came through yesterday, and that's good news for anyone who wants to stretch out the sports as long as we can. Without a dog in the fight, I'm out here just rooting for every series to go seven games because I'm just trying to savor the flavor. 
Come help me do that by sitting down to talk shop with me this morning.
📰 What you need to know
1. Dodgers come alive with monster win vs. Braves ⚾
After dropping the first two games of the NLCS, the Dodgers needed to make a statement in Game 3. Mission accomplished. 
The Los Angeles offense finally got something going at the end of Game 2 on Tuesday but it turned out to be too little too late. On Wednesday, they didn't waste any time getting the bats going and absolutely lit up the Braves in historic fashion. The Dodgers' lineup went off to the tune of an 11-run first inning against Atlanta. That's right... ELEVEN RUNS! 
Here are some fun facts about that monster inning that powered the Dodgers to a 15-3 win:
  • The 11 runs are the most ever scored in a single inning by a team in MLB playoff history
  • They scored 10 runs with two outs on the board
  • Joc Pederson, Edwin Rios and Max Muncy all homered in the inning -- making the Dodgers the first team in playoff history to hit three HRs in the first inning. Pederson hit a three-run blast before Rios made it back-to-back, and Muncy hit a grand slam
  • The Braves gave up 10 runs in the first inning to the Cardinals in Game 5 of last year's NLDS
The Dodgers have been around since 1884 and the 15 runs they scored yesterday set a new franchise record for most ever in a playoff game. Considering the Dodgers scored just one run through the first 15 innings of this series, this kind of outburst was much-needed. It's also one that could have significant implications on the remainder of the NLCS, as Braves starter Kyle Wright couldn't get through one inning.
And so that's the end of the Braves' undefeated postseason. Their winning streak to start the playoffs is stopped at 7-0.
On the other side of the league, the Astros managed to stay alive with a bounceback performance of their own. Jose Altuve found some redemption last night as he not only homered in the first inning (again) but he also kept all of his throws out of the outfield!
2. Nick Saban tests positive for COVID-19 🏈
It's been a tough week for the SEC and some of the conference's power brokers. After the Florida Gators were forced to shut down football activities and postpone their game against LSU following a COVID-19 outbreak, it was revealed yesterday that the Alabama Crimson Tide are also being hit by coronavirus. 
  • Alabama head coach Nick Saban and AD Greg Byrne have both tested positive and are at home self-isolating
  • Saban, who turns 69 later this month, said he is not experiencing COVID-related symptoms
  • Bama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will step in to direct the team as they prepare for a huge game against No. 3 Georgia this weekend. Saban said he has not yet decided how much autonomy Sarkisian will have on the sideline
  • Saban's status remains in question because he will undergo another test to confirm that he's positive  
Assuming Saban's follow-up test will keep him away from the team, it'll be the first game he hasn't coached since he took over the program in 2007 and it could be a major loss for Bama as they head into one of their biggest matchups of the season on Saturday night.
It's disappointing for the sake of the game but obviously the priority here is the the health of both Saban and Byrne, as well as keeping the virus isolated from the rest of the team. As of right now, those two are the only positive cases within the program, so hopefully it stays that way over the coming days. 
3. Conor McGregor to fight Dustin Poirier in 2021 👊
A UFC headliner featuring Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier is officially on, and it's happening in early 2021. McGregor confirmed it all yesterday.
McGregor had apparently been insisting that the fight take place in 2020, but UFC president Dana White said yesterday that it just wasn't possible to squeeze the bout in as a main event with the company's 2020 schedule. As a result, the fight is scheduled for January 23 of next year.
McGregor defeated Poirier when the two first met at UFC 178 in September 2014. There's no venue set for the bout just yet, but it sounds like Conor already has his eyes on Dallas.
  • McGregor, via Twitter: "I accept, Jan 23rd is on! My goal is to see this fight take place in Cowboy stadium. Proper Style! Jerry Jones is a friend and the stadium can hold our crowd. I will be ready for Texas and Texas will be ready for my fans! Then Manny."
Then Manny, huh? I guess McGregor is still sticking to the claims that he's going to face off against Manny Pacquiao in a boxing match soon. Does that still even really move the needle for anyone in 2021? Not sure I'm going out of my way to catch that one on PPV. And for those keeping track at home, this is now the third time that McGregor has come out of "retirement" to accept a fight. He last announced that he was calling it quits again back in June (on the same night of UFC 250).
Whatever keeps McGregor from punching old men in the head at bars, I guess.
4. Prisco's picks for Week 6 🏈
Unfortunately, we don't have a Thursday Night Football game this week thanks to the COVID-adjusted schedule but that's not going to stop us from checking with Pete Prisco like we do on most Thursday mornings. Prisco still has his weekly picks ready for our consumption so we're going to crack into some of those in just a second. 
It brings me great pain to report that he's still on an absolute tear picking winners this season, going 45-30-1 against the spread and 51-24-1 straight up. Pretty impressive, right?  It's not that I want Pete to fail or lose money on his picks, but it's a lot easier for me to make fun of him when he stinks. And if I'm not able to make fun of Prisco... what's even the point of working here?
Anyway, here are some of his picks for the weekend:
  • Browns at Steelers (-3.5): The Browns are off to their best start in a while but they haven't won at Pittsburgh since 2003. Prisco doesn't see their run game having a ton of success against the Steelers' defense. Pick: Steelers 31, Browns 21
  • Falcons at Vikings (-3.5): Can the Falcons find some new coach magic in Raheem Morris' first game? Prisco isn't banking on them getting the W but he does think they'll keep it close and cover the spread. Pick: Vikings 27, Falcons 26  
  • Chiefs vs. Bills (+3.5): Buffalo looked horrible against Tennessee and they've got a short week of prep before facing the defending champs. Doesn't matter, though, because Prisco is siding with Josh Allen and the Bills... not just with the spread, but straight up. Pick: Bills 33, Chiefs 31   
He's got picks for the entire week's slate so check out the rest right here. All I want is for him to have ONE tough week so that I can dribble through his legs dunk all over him. Is that too much to ask???
📝 Odds & Ends
  • Brian Cashman is still defending the Yankees' (very dumb) pitching strategy during the ALDS
  • New Orleans was originally set to be the home of the Super Bowl in 2024 but now Vegas may swoop in to take the hosting honors thanks to a Mardi Gras scheduling conflict
  • The Knicks may be interested in trading for Russell Westbrook if the Rockets are willing to deal him
📺 What to watch tonight
⚾ Astros vs. Rays, 5:07 p.m. | HOU +136 | TV: TBS
⚾ Dodgers vs. Braves, 8:08 p.m. | ATL +196 | TV: FOX  
📝 Top scores from last night
🏈 Coastal Carolina 30, Louisiana 27
Coastal moved to 4-0 and earned the program's first win over a top 25 team by defeating No. 23 Louisiana. 
💵 Winning Wagers: CCU +261, Under (58.5)
Dodgers 15, Braves 3
The Dodgers set a franchise record for most runs scored in a playoff game. All 15 came in the first three innings, including 11 in the first frame. 
💵 Winning Wagers: LAD -193, Over (9.5) 
⚾ Astros 4, Rays 3
George Springer had three hits, including a home run.
💵 Winning Wagers: HOU +271, Under (8.5)
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