Today's Lineup: Aaron Altherr in clean-up spot; J.P. Crawford moves to 2-hole


Today's Lineup: Aaron Altherr in clean-up spot; J.P. Crawford moves to 2-hole

Before Rhys Hoskins burst onto the scene and started smashing baseballs over fences at an astronomical rate, Aaron Altherr was the Phillies' most consistent hitter this season.

This afternoon, in the series finale against the Athletics at Citizens Bank Park, Altherr slides back into the clean-up spot for just the third time this season.

Altherr, who didn't start in last night's rain-soaked victory but did come in at the start of the eighth inning as a defensive replacement, is batting .278 on the season with 16 homers and 51 RBIs. In his seven plate appearances from the clean-up spot this season, Altherr has two homers and five RBIs. He'll start in center today.

Hoskins, who's called the clean-up spot home in recent weeks, slides up to third in order today. Hoskins, who's batting .298 with 18 homers and 39 RBIs in 36 games this season, has been held hitless so far in this series by Oakland pitching. He's reached base just once in the last two games as he was intentionally walked last night. He'll start in left field this afternoon.

J.P. Crawford moves up into the two-hole for the first time today for manager Pete Mackanin. It's a big move up the lineup for Crawford, who has yet to bat above seventh in the order. And the move is deserved for Crawford, who came through with two hits and two RBIs last night. He's now riding a six-game hitting streak and has hit .381 with three doubles in that span. He's hit safely in eight of his 11 games with the Phils. He'll start at short today as Freddy Galvis gets the day off.

Both teams' full lineups can be found below:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. J.P. Crawford, SS
3. Rhys Hoskins, LF
4. Aaron Altherr, CF
5. Nick Williams, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Tommy Joseph, 1B
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Henderson Alvarez, SP

1. Marcus Semien, SS
2. Matt Joyce, LF
3. Chad Pinder, RF
4. Matt Olson, 1B
5. Matt Chapman, 3B
6. Mark Canha, CF
7. Joey Wendle, 2B
8. Josh Phegley, C
9. Sean Manaea, SP

MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

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MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (see full recap).

Tanaka, Yankees blank Astros to take ALCS lead
NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and level the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Yankees trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored on Gary Sanchez's go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees have rallied from a second straight 0-2 series deficit -- they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth, and New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday and rematch of the opener, won by the Astros 2-1 (see full recap).

Dodgers on brink of World Series after shutout
CHICAGO -- Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles set a franchise record with its sixth consecutive playoff win. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip -- on a long foul ball in the first inning.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd NL pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since their last championship in 1988. Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

Los Angeles was eliminated by Chicago in the NLCS last year, but this is a different group of Dodgers. The lineup is patient and pesky and the pitching staff is much deeper, especially since Darvish was acquired in a trade with Texas in the final minutes before the July 31 deadline (see full recap).