Playoffs Daily: Astros, A's, Yankees, Rays ready to get cranking again

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MLB InsidersESPN

The MLB playoffs made it through the wildness of the wild-card series, whittling the field to a more conventional eight teams for the division series. Everything won’t be the same as it ever was, however, as all the games will be played at neutral sites and there will be no off days, placing a premium on quality pitching depth.

The action gets started Monday with the American League matchups: Astros-A’s at Los Angeles and Yankees-Rays at San Diego. Here’s what you need to know entering Round 2.

Key links: Preview | Predictions | Schedule, bracket | Playoff Baseball Classic

What’s on tap

All times Eastern; all series best-of-five played at neutral sites

Game 1: No. 6 Houston Astros (Lance McCullers Jr.) at No. 2 Oakland Athletics (Chris Bassitt), at Los Angeles, 4 p.m.

Two teams that have resided at the top of the AL West for most of the past half-decade. Two teams with bad blood that boiled over most recently on Aug. 9, with a heated confrontation between A’s center fielder Ramon Laureano and Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron. Mike Fiers, the man who blew the lid on Houston’s

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