BOSTON (AP) — Games averaged 3 hours Kenley Jansen Jersey , 35½ minutes during the playoffs, up 6 minutes from the 2017 postseason and more than a half-hour longer than this year’s regular season.Strikeouts have topped hits in seven of eight postseason matchups. Starting pitchers usually don’t finish the fifth inning and use of relievers is up markedly in an era when “bullpenning” has become a verb.Have the changes brought about by analytics made baseball less appealing to casual fans?“There’s certainly something to be said for that, because ball in play, double plays, defense, that’s always exciting,” Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said ahead of Tuesday night’s World Series opener against Boston. “I know our series there was a lot of strikeouts, but there was the strategy part of it — I think that that’s very exciting for a baseball purist that loves to see what managers think and how you can kind of match up against the opposition.”Boston’s 8-4 win in Game 1 took 3:52, ended at 12:03 a.m. and included 10 relief pitchers and six pinch hitters. The teams combined for 24 strikeouts and 19 hits.Postseason games through the League Championship Series averaged a record 18.8 strikeouts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, up from 18.4 last year and 18.0 in 2016. There were 526 whiffs and 416 hits in the first 28 postseason games, including 161 strikeouts and 110 hits in the Dodgers’ win over Milwaukee in the NL Championship Series.Boston’s Division Series victory over the New York Yankees was the only one with more hits than strikeouts: 67 to 60.While viewers hope for action, managers and many players are caught up in the tactical chess match between dugouts prepped by front office analytics teams.“It’s more interesting. It is,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “There’s so much information now that you can actually exploit weaknesses on the team, not only rely on the starters or your usual setup guy or your closer. Somebody the last few years figured out that there’s a lot of off days in the playoffs, that you can actually use your starters as relievers or you can go with your relievers for multiple innings, and it’s fun. It’s fun as a baseball fan.”Computer analysis helps teams arrange defensive shifts that take away hits and concludes starting pitchers’ effectiveness often drops the third time through the batting order. Innovative use of relief pitchers by Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Cleveland’s Terry Francona during the 2016 postseason caught the attention of the rest of the industry.“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. They started bringing (Aroldis) Chapman and (Andrew) Miller in for two http://www.dodgersfanproshop.com/authentic-corey-seager-jersey , three innings at time. Now every team that has a dominant reliever or two dominant relievers, their design,” Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello said. “Find ways to get those guys in the game in the highest-leverage situations, because those are your best arms.”Starting pitchers averaged 5 1/3 innings and 83 pitches in the 2016 postseason, according to Sports Info Solutions. That dropped to 4.7 innings and 80 pitches last year, and 4.5 innings and 73 pitches this year going into the Series.Teams had combined for an average of 8.8 relief pitchers per game this postseason, up from 7.2 last year. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Red Sox pitchers Chris Sale, Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi all have made relief appearances between starts.Could starting pitchers join dinosaurs in extinction?“You’re still going to need to get innings from your starters,” Kershaw said. “Over the course of 162 games you’re going to need guys to pitch six or seven innings.”Oakland pulled Liam Hendriks after one inning and 25 pitches in the AL wild-card game against the Yankees. Wade Miley left after one batter and five pitches in Game 5 of the NLCS against Kershaw and the Dodgers.Both moves were pre-planned.Kershaw, who earned $30.4 million this year, wonders whether the lower salaries of relievers have an impact on how rosters are being stocked.“I think it’s a very cost-effective thing to do, obviously, to bullpen and have a deep bullpen, because starting pitchers are more expensive,” he said. “I think us as an organization, us as a union, will definitely have to take a closer look at that Enrique Hernandez Jersey , if that’s the way the game is going. Because I think everybody should be compensated according to what they are worth in the game, so if the bullpen is going to have more value, they’re going to have to pay them more.”Boston pitcher David Price maintains the need for success prevails over aesthetics.“If I’m a fan of a team, I want us to have the best chance to win,” he said. “If that means taking the starter out to bring in a reliever for a better matchup, I want our guys to have the best chance to win.”Cora likes the thrill of inserting starters as relievers. Velocity was up about 2 mph for Porcello and Eovaldi in their bullpen outings, with Eovaldi averaging 101 mph as he got four outs in the pennant clincher against Houston.“I know I can air it out,” Eovaldi said.Cora still marveled over Eovaldi’s strikeout of Alex Bregman, who swung under a 101.6 mph pitch.“That was cool,” he said. The American League bracket was finalized Wednesday after the New York Yankees advanced from the AL Wild Card Gameat the Oakland Athletics' expense to secure a divisional-series matchup with the Boston Red Sox. The National League, meanwhile, is ready for the first day of Division Series play Thursday.With the 2016 World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs,knocked out in 13 innings on Tuesday night, the Colorado Rockieswill go up against the Milwaukee Brewers. A powerhouse matchup between the NL East and NL West titleholders will take place Thursday night, with the Atlanta Braves looking for redemption after their 2013 NLDS loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.Here is how to watch the first full day of postseason play and a short preview and prediction for each of the matchups.Rockies vs. BrewersWhen: Thursday, Oct. 4 at 5:07 p.m. ETTelevision: Fox Sports 1Live Stream: Fox Sports Go Braves vs. Dodgers When: Thursday http://www.dodgersfanproshop.com/authentic-manny-machado-jersey , Oct. 4 at 8:37 p.m. ETTelevision: MLB NetworkLive Stream: MLB.tvRockies vs. Brewers PreviewAfter an exciting finish to the NL Wild CardGame on Tuesday night, when the Rockies' Tony Wolters had a two-out RBI single to beat the Cubs, Colorado advanced to the Division Series for the first time since 2009.MLB Stat of the Day MLBStatoftheDayBring on the 13th!We have now entered the longest winner-take-all #postseason game in MLB history. dl8uLEABxHThe Milwaukee Brewers, who clinched their division and will have home-field advantage through the NLCS, will feature in the Division Series for the first time since 2011.Two younger offensive heavy hitters will face off in Thursday's first matchup.Former Miami Marlin Christian Yelichwas the overall batting leader for the Brewers through the regular season. With a batting average of .326 and 36 home runs, Yelich also leads the team with 110 RBI.With the centerfielder on a hot streak during the final months of the season鈥攑utting up at least 10 home runs in August and September鈥攈e will likely make a big impact in this series.MLB MLBCHRISTIAN YELICH IS UNREAL! #SeptemberBaseball vTnIoYqkcGOn the other hand, we have Nolan Arenado who mimics Yelich in many ways, with 38 home runs, 110 RBI and a .297 batting average. The only area Yelich has him definitively beat is on-base percentage and hits, with five more triples as well.Antonio Senzatela will take the mound for the Rockies in the first game of the Division Series. The right-handed pitcher has a 4.38 ERA and 69 strikeouts, giving up 10 home runs on the season. He went 6-6 on 13 regular-season starts this year.With the Rockies exhausting their lineup in their win against the Cubs, paired with Yelich's incredible offensive performance and potential NL MVP season, it seems like the Brewers will take Game 1. Braves vs. Dodgers PreviewThe Dodgers are no strangers to the MLB playoffs. L.A. clinched its sixth National League West title in a row this year and will be facing NL East counterparts the Atlanta Braves. The last time the Braves were in the postseason, they lost the 2013 NL Division Series against the Dodgers.MLB Stat of the Day MLBStatoftheDayThe Dodgers are the 3rd team in the Divisional era to win 6 STRAIGHT division titles 鈥he previous two (Braves 鈥?1-鈥?5, Yankees 鈥?8-鈥?6) won a World Series during their run. Ce9DWM2fPnThe 2013 NLDS saw a stellar performance by Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw,who struck out 12 people in seven innings of Game 1. However, Los Angeles has chosen not to start its ace pitcher in Game 1 Logan Forsythe Jersey , instead choosingHyun-Jin Ryufor Game 1 and opting to start Kershaw on Friday.Los Angeles Dodgers DodgersHyun-Jin Ryu will start Game 1 of the NLDS against the Braves on Thursday. Clayton Kershaw will start Game 2 on Friday. xrYFkRJjCCRyu has an ERA of 1.97 and has 89 strikeouts on 15 starts this season, with a 7-3 record. Kershaw, on the other hand, is a veteran pitcher with 155 strikeouts this season, an ERA of 2.73 and 9 wins to 5 losses.The Braves will be countering with pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, according to MLB.com's Playoff Picture. Foltynewicz holds many of the top stats among the Braves bullpen, with 202 strikeouts on the season鈥攖he most on the team by 40.On the offensive side, Atlanta has Freddie Freeman, who has 44 doubles on the season and 98 RBI. Along with Ronald Acuna Jr., who is leading the team in home runs, the Braves offense has outscored their opponents in almost every category.FOX Sports: Braves FOXSportsBravesWho is the most important player for the Braves in the NLDS?Zach_Dillard: Mike Foltynewiczcoryjmccartney: Freddie Freeman#ChopcastLIVE 2izaNpSgOhThe Dodgers are boasting a level offense, with four players leading the team offensively and six players having at least 60 RBI. Max Muncy tops the team with a whopping 35 home runs, and Matt Kemp follows with 85 RBI and .290 batting average.The Atlanta-Los Angeles matchup has the potential to be a showdown. The Dodgers want to keep their winning streak alive, and the Braves want redemption for the 2013 NLDS. However, with a stacked offense and an intimidating bullpen, L.A. is likely to take both Game 1 and the series.All stats courtesy of MLB.com and ESPN.