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Data: FanGraphs; Table: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Eight teams remain in the World Series hunt. With the division series underway, here's one stat about each matchup.

  • Rays vs. Red Sox: These are the only teams left whose starters were outside the top seven in regular-season ERA (Rays: 4.08, t-13th; Red Sox: 4.49, 17th).
  • Astros vs. White Sox: This is the first playoff series ever between managers over 70 (Dusty Baker is 72, Tony La Russa is 76).
  • Giants vs. Dodgers: The season series couldn't have been closer, with the Giants winning, 10-9, but getting outscored, 80-78.
  • Brewers vs. Braves: Milwaukee's dominant starting trio (Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta) will try to quiet the second infield in MLB history to have all hit 25+ HR (Freeman, Albies, Swanson, Riley).

📆 Today's slate: White Sox at Astros (up 1-0), 2pm ET; Braves at Brewers, 4:30pm; Red Sox at Rays (up 1-0), 7pm; Dodgers at Giants, 9:30pm

Go deeper: Why each team will (and won't) win the World Series (The Ringer)

Go deeper

How to fake it: White Sox playoff edition

Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Cincinnati Reds on September 29, 2021 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Ron Vesely/Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox play the Houston Astros at 3:07 pm today in Game 1 of the American League Division Series (ALDS).

Why it matters: The White Sox won the AL Central for the first time since 2008 and will now represent Chicago in the MLB playoffs.

You may find yourself at the office water cooler today or at a party over the weekend watching these games. If you haven't been keeping up with the Sox or are a Cubs fan in need of a postseason fix, we've got some easy ways to help you fake it.

  • This White Sox team is the swaggiest in baseball. From Tim Anderson bat flips to Eloy Jimenez mugging for the camera, they are the most joyful team in the sport. So an easy, "Gosh, they are just so much fun to watch!" will go a long way.
  • "They must be happy in Cuba right now" would also be a great ice-breaker. That’s because the White Sox have several Cuban-born players, including José Abreu, Luis Robert and Yoán Moncada.
  • The Astros are baseball's villains after being caught in a cheating scandal that involved pounding on a trash can in the dugout to signal pitches to teammates. So when the Astros come up to bat? Slam on a garbage can near you and expect huge laughs.

Finally: If all else fails, just make reference to the 2005 World Series Championship. Better yet, go online and buy a Joe Crede #24 jersey. That might even get you invited to a playoff game.

What's next: The White Sox play the Astros at 3:07pm today in Houston.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

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