MLB Tuesday Takeaways: Astros on verge of ALCS; sparks fly as Braves blast Marlins

7:33 PM ET

MLB InsidersESPN

It’s another busy day in the MLB playoffs, with all four division series in action — two series openers in the National League and two Game 2s in the American League.

Here are the stars, turning points and takeaways from each of Tuesday’s games as they conclude.

Key links: Ranking the remaining teams | Guide to bubble ballparks | Schedule, bracket

Jump to … HOU-OAK | MIA-ATL

Houston Astros 5, Oakland A’s 2

2 Related

What it means: Here’s a statement that’s sure to enrage, oh, 99% of America: The Astros are one win from the American League Championship Series. Now here’s something that should scare what remains of the postseason field: The Astros’ offense looks locked in, and in Framber Valdez, who provided seven innings of two-run ball on another homer-happy afternoon from Dodger Stadium, they have what appears to be the equivalent of a top-of-the-rotation starter.

George Springer homered twice and has six hits in nine at-bats in this series, igniting an offense that is more closely resembling recent history. But it’s the Astros’ pitching that has been particularly impressive. One of the major keys to

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