I gave you two bets on game three of this series yesterday and picked up a split. I liked the over in the game, as both of these teams have very powerful offenses and I wasn’t all that confident in the abilities of Nathan Eovaldi and Dallas Keuchel. And I expected the Astros to find a way to win this game on their home field.
The overcame in fairly easily as the teams hit the board early with three runs in the first inning and the game sailed over in the eighth inning when Boston exploded for a five-spot in the top of the frame. But the Astros let us down as their bullpen surrendered six runs in five innings of work.
The win was an enormous one for the Red Sox as they now once again take back home field advantage from Houston after dropping game one in Boston. In a series that has been high scoring and back and forth I am pumped up for game four tonight!
Starting for the Astros is Charlie Morton (15-3 3.11 ERA), and for the Red Sox, it is Rick Porcello (17-7 4.28 ERA). The Astros are -146 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half. First pitch is scheduled for 5:39 PM PST from Minute Maid Park in Houston.
What a huge win last night for the Boston Red Sox. In what is quickly becoming a very hard to predict series, the Red Sox picked up a big upset win. The road team is now 2-1 in this series, and the Red Sox have regained home-field advantage. The Red Sox will send out Rick Porcello to get the start here in game four, a guy that while he had a very productive season, has been relegated to the bullpen for much of the playoffs as two of his three playoff appearances in this postseason have been in relief.
Porcello had a solid season this year as he won seventeen games despite a fairly high ERA of 4.28. Having the best offense in baseball backing him up helped Porcello win a lot of games that he probably shouldn’t have this year. Porcello has pitched well in the playoffs this season though, as he has made three appearances and has an ERA of just 1.35 to show for it. He pitched one inning in relief just three days ago in this series against Houston and did not allow a run.
For the Astros, they will start Charlie Morton. Morton had a fantastic season as he went 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA. But he came down with a sore shoulder in last September and was basically shut down by Houston. In his last two starts of the season he pitched just a combined four innings of work. Houston has rested Morton since the final day of the regular season as he has yet to appear in the playoffs, so he comes into this game with a full two weeks of rest.
There is a fine line in baseball between being rested and getting rusty. You have to wonder which side of that line Morton will be on tonight. And that is assuming he is healthy, which at this point seems to be a mighty big assumption. If Morton is fully healthy and pitches at his best, he is clearly the better side of this starting pitching matchup. He had over 200 K’s on the season as was one of the more consistent pitchers in the American League this year. But if he is hurt or rusty after the long layoff, it is hard telling what we should expect from him tonight.
Both of these starting pitchers give me a reason not to like them. This recent trend of using starters out of the bullpen and bullpen guys to start games and long relief guys to pitch one inning while closers pitch two or more has really shaken up the baseball world. And I for one don’t like it. I think for certain teams it makes sense. Teams like the Tampa Bay Rays and Milwaukee Brewers where their bullpens are the strongest parts of their teams.
But for the Red Sox who had a strong rotation all season long to experiment like they have this postseason is surprising. Having Porcello going back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation scares me. He isn’t on normal rest, and he isn’t on his normal routine. Throw in the fact that Houston had one of the best offenses in the majors this year and it wouldn’t shock me to see him get roughed up a bit in this one.
And when you look at Charlie Morton, he is hard to trust as well. The guy hasn’t pitched in weeks, and when he did, he was clearly banged up and not himself. This guy hasn’t pitched a full start since September 15th, that is over a month ago! To expect him to step right into this game in the middle of an intense series and be at his sharpest is sure asking a lot.
In a game where both starters could very well be compromised, there is one thing we can count on, and that is that these two lineups are two of the best in all of baseball. All season long, both of these teams could hit the ball. And we have seen that in this series as each of the first three games have gone over the game total and the teams are averaging more than a combined ten runs a game.
I expect more of the same in this game. We saw last night that even if both starters pitch well, and only one team is swing the bats well, that the game can still go over. In all three of the games of this series, one of the teams has scored at least seven runs. I don’t care if it is Porcello or Morton that struggle, or even if it is the bullpens that get beat up, I just think runs are going on the board today. So, I will take the over eight and a half runs in this one and actually even pick up a little dog money at +105!