LEADING OFF: Rays' Snell, Astros' Valdez meet in ALCS opener

A look at what's happening around the majors today:
Houston and Tampa Bay open their AL Championship Series in San Diego. Astros left-hander Framber Valdez takes on the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, Blake Snell. The Rays seek revenge after Houston defeated them in five AL Division Series games last year.
The Astros are in the ALCS for the fourth time in a row and are looking for a third trip to the World Series in that time span. After 29:31 in the regular season, Houston is 5-1 in the playoffs after eliminating AL West Champion Oakland in four games at the ALDS at Dodger Stadium.
The Rays are looking to make their second World Series after losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. They kept their distance against the Yankees in their ALDS and scored a 2-1 victory in Mike Brosseau's dramatic home game in the eighth inning of Aroldis Chapman on Friday night.
In a season that has gone extraordinarily well for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a late problem that has emerged is cause for great concern: Can they still count on Kenley Jansen as their next one?
This has become an uncomfortable question for manager Dave Roberts and the Dodgers as they prepare for another NL Championship Series. Especially with something that seems to be wrong with the Reliever who has been the obvious answer for so long when it comes to finishing playoff games.
"I'm very sensitive to what he's accomplished on the baseball field as a closer and more consistent All-Star, but we also need to look in real time and do what's best for the Dodgers," said Roberts The Manager wasn't ready to make a final statement on Jansen's role.
The best-of-seven NLCS against the Atlanta Braves begins on Monday evening.
Another early off-season
After their 11th straight season without a World Series, the Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman face a number of important decisions.
DJ LeMahieu, the batting master of the big league, is qualified for the free agency together with the pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton. New York has a $ 17 million option on pitcher J.A. Fortunately, the team made sure there was no guarantee and a $ 10 million option for 37-year-old outfielder Brett Gardner, the final link with the 2009 Yankees champions.
Giancarlo Stanton is expected to keep the remaining $ 218 million and seven guaranteed seasons on his contract rather than signing out, and Reliever Zack Britton is likely to remain under either player or club options.
"We'll get there. I know. And it'll be even cuter," said Aaron Boone after his third unfulfilled season when the manager ended with a 2-1 loss to the Rays in AL Division Series Game 5 on Friday.
New York is expected to exercise Boone's option or give him a new contract in 2021.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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