Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game One
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


The Astros put their star power and their depth on display in Game 1 of the ALCS, beating the Yankees 4-2Justin Verlander, the likely AL Cy Young winner, shook off a second-inning Harrison Bader home run to go six innings, allowing just the one run and striking out 11. His 215 career postseason strikeouts are most in MLB history.

  • Martin Maldonado doubled home Chas McCormick to tie things at one in the second, and Yuli Gurriel's sixth-inning solo shot gave Houston the lead. Two batters later, McCormick doubled the lead with his own solo home run.
  • Jeremy Peña homered in the seventh to give the Astros plenty of breathing room, which proved valuable when Anthony Rizzo hit a solo bomb in the eighth.
  • The Yankees struck out 17 times compared to the Astros' two. It's the largest difference ever in a postseason game.

Game 2 is tonight, with Luis Severino and Framber Valdez starting.


The Padres got up off the mat, dusted themselves off and played their best when the occasion called for it. After getting shut out in Game 1 and going down 4-0 early in Game 2 Wednesday, San Diego blasted its way past Philadelphia, 8-5, to knot the NLCS at one game apiece.

  • Brandon Drury and Josh Bell started the comeback with home runs on back-to-back pitches in the second inning.
  • The Padres then scored five runs in the fifth inning, tying their record for a postseason inning. Austin Nola (facing his brother, Aaron), Juan Soto, Drury and Bell all registered RBI hits.
  • Manny Machado crushed a solo home run in the seventh inning.
  • Blake Snell soldiered through five innings before San Diego's bullpen finished things off. The Padres' bullpen has a 2.05 ERA this postseason.

After using the long ball to close the gap, the Padres used small ball -- and their deep lineup -- to take control, writes MLB expert Mike Axisa.

  • Axisa: "Four of the first five hitters (Aaron) Nola faced in that fifth inning had hits, including (Austin) Nola and Soto in two-strike counts. That's why you gut the farm system to get the 23-year-old generational hitter, so he can help you slay the Dodgers dragon and also come up with clutch game-tying hits in the NLCS. ... The Padres went 6 for 9 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch in that five-run fifth inning, and three Phillies pitchers combined the throw 46 pitches."

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...


With the Phillies leading 4-0 through 1 1/2 innings and stud starter Aaron Nola on the mound, it would have been hard to blame Philadelphia faithful for looking ahead to a 2-0 NLDS lead and maybe -- just maybe -- thinking about a World Series trip upcoming.

Shortly thereafter, any such thoughts went up in smoke as quickly as the Phillies' lead.

  • Aaron Nola, who had not allowed an earned run in three straight starts going back to the regular season, gave up six in just 4 2/3 innings.
  • After five hits and four runs in the second inning alone, the Phillies managed just three hits and one run the rest of the way.
  • The Phillies entered Wednesday 27-2 all-time when leading a postseason game by at least four runs.

In the second inning, Philadelphia had a nearly 85 percent chance to win according to Baseball Savant. Instead of heading into the off day today with a 2-0 lead, the Phillies will have to settle for a split and avoid thinking too much about what could have been.

Not so honorable mentions

Prepare your couch and get your snacks: It's a Sports Equinox! 🏈 🏀 ⚾ 🏒


It's not a national holiday, but it should be. Today is a Sports Equinox, also known as the day where all four major North American sports leagues -- the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL -- are in action. It's just the 27th Sports Equinox ever, though it's the first of four this year: It'll happen again Oct. 23, 24 and 31.

Here's what's on tap:

  • NFL: Saints at Cardinals
  • NBA: Bucks at 76ers, Clippers at Lakers
  • MLB: ALCS Game 2: Yankees at Astros
  • NHL: 12 games

Of course, there's plenty more action across the country. We also have MLS playoff action, college football and, in golf, the BMW Ladies Championship and the CJ Cup.

Here are some more fun Sports Equinox facts from our Isabel Gonzalez:

  • The first Sports Equinox was recorded on Oct. 17, 1971 with 12 NFL games, three NBA games, six NHL games and one MLB game.
  • After the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily suspended sports, Sept. 10, 2020 included the NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS, tennis and NHL.
  • There were zero Sports Equinoxes from 1985-2001.

So enjoy tonight's action and remember, someone has to make it all fit into a newsletter tomorrow morning. 😉

Thursday Night Football Preview: Saints, Cardinals have big questions to answer 🏈


If you don't know what to make of either the Saints or the Cardinals, don't worry: You're not alone. Maybe we'll find out more tonight when they meet in Arizona, but given the craziness of this NFL season, who knows?

Let's start with the Saints (2-4), who haven't named a starting quarterback yet. Jameis Winston hasn't played since Week 3 but doesn't carry an injury designation this week while Andy Dalton has performed solidly in Winston's stead. Outside of quarterback, the Saints' injury list is a lengthy one.

No matter who's behind center, New Orleans' defense needs to turn things around, writes NFL expert Jared Dubin.

  • Dubin: "The New Orleans defense has not been as underwhelming as has the Arizona offense, but it's certainly not lived up to lofty expectations. ... Losing Marcus Williams on the back end didn't help, but this is also just an older unit now. Guys like Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis, Tyrann Mathieu and more are still quality starters, but not quite as good as they were in recent seasons. (And Mathieu has been flat-out not good at times this year.) That little bit of slip-up matters when the margin for error is as small as it is for the Saints at the moment."

As for the Cardinals (2-4), the biggest storyline is who's back: DeAndre Hopkins returns after a six-game suspension, and that should really help Kyler Murray. In his career, Murray's passer rating is more 13 points higher and his yards per attempt is more than a yard higher when Hopkins is on the field compared to when he isn't. We'll see how much and how well Hopkins plays in his first game in nearly 10 months, but his impact is certainly something to consider when placing your bets tonight, writes gambling guru Tyler Sullivan.

Takeaways as more NBA teams get season underway 🏀

New Orleans Pelicans v Brooklyn Nets
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Twenty-four NBA teams tipped off their season Wednesday night, and few did it as impressively as the New Orleans Pelicans. Zion Williamson and company went into Brooklyn and blew out the Nets, 130-108. Williamson scored 25 in his first game since the 2020-21 season, and Brandon Ingram had a team-high 28.

The Pelicans, just months removed from a playoff trip, rightfully have their eyes set on more thanks to Zion, writes NBA expert Brad Botkin.

  • Botkin: "Zion Williamson hit the ground running in his first game in over 18 months... Williamson is clearly in great shape, and he continues to have incredible feel for setting up defenders to get to his left hand, whether it be with his back to the basket or starting his downhill momentum a beat before the catch... The Pelicans look great."

For all of our takeaways, click here.

What we're watching Thursday 📺

🏀 Bucks at 76ers, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏈 Virginia at Georgia Tech, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
Yankees at Astros, 7:37 p.m. on TBS
🏈 Saints at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. on Prime Video
🏀 Clippers at Lakers, 10 p.m. on TNT