They say a series doesn’t really start until the road team wins a game and heading into game three of the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers wish that this series hadn’t started as they find themselves down two games to none. The Red Sox took care of business at home and head to LA to try and put the series away for good.
Game two saw David Price pitch well again, and he picked up just his second ever career postseason win as a starter. Price came into this postseason with a career 0-9 record as a starter in the playoffs but has now won two consecutive starts, a great sign for Boston as they will look to get at least one more start out of him in this series. Price pitched six innings and allowed two runs on just three hits in the win.
The game was a hotly contested one with the Dodgers leading 2-1 heading into the fifth inning. The Red Sox used a huge two-out rally to post a three-spot on the board in the bottom of the fifth, and the Boston bullpen slammed the door shut with three innings of shutout ball, and Boston took a commanding lead in the series. The Dodgers are in a true must-win situation tonight if they don’t want to finish up as runners up again for the second consecutive season.
Taking the mound for the Dodgers tonight in rookie Walker Buehler (0-1 5.40 ERA) and for the Red Sox, it is Rick Porcello (1-0 4.22 ERA). The Dodgers are big -155 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:09 PM PST from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
It seems that this postseason, the Dodgers are putting an awful lot of faith in rookie Walker Buehler. Buehler pitched the one-game playoff to decide the division title against the Colorado Rockies. Then they had him start against both the Braves and the Brewers before asking him to take the mound, on the road, in game seven against Milwaukee. They have put an enormous amount of faith in the young man.
I wouldn’t say they have gotten burnt, the Dodgers went 2-2 in those four games and they won both of the must-win games. But I am certain that Buehler hasn’t pitched as well as they were hoping he would this postseason. His official playoff stat line, that doesn’t include game 163 against Colorado as technically that was a regular season game, is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA. His struggles haven’t scared the Dodgers off of starting him again tonight in what is essentially another must-win game. Will Buehler be able to hold back the best offense in baseball tonight at home?
Rick Porcello has been used very strangely this postseason. For my money, Porcello was the second-best pitcher in this Boston rotation coming into the playoffs behind only Chris Sale. Yet for some reason, they have elevated both David Price and Nathan Eovaldi above him. Porcello has actually worked out of the bullpen for much of the postseason as he has four appearances, two of them out of the bullpen.
The Red Sox did let him start one game against the Astros, his last appearance, and he got roughed up for four runs, all earned, in just four innings of work. As has been the case much of the season, this mighty Boston lineup bailed him out and won the game in a slugfest. Having Porcello going back and forth between the bullpen and rotation doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, and if his last start was any indication, he doesn’t like it either.
So, who is going to win this game tonight? Boston has pretty much rolled through this postseason and every time they played a big game where the other team had to win, they slammed the door shut. And make no mistake, the Dodgers must win this game. You just aren’t ever coming back from down three games to none against this Boston team. So, it was a little surprising to me that the Dodgers decided to go with Buehler in this one, with so much on the line.
On the season, Buehler was much better at home than on the road, but with guys like Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda available, I am not sure I would go with Buehler in his spot. Maybe they are going to just keep him on a super short leash as they did in game seven against Milwaukee where he threw just 73 pitches? His struggles this postseason has mostly been in the sixth inning or later, so that would make some sense.
But I just don’t see him shutting this Red Sox team down. They are just too good, and he is just too inexperienced. But when I look over at who the Red Sox are starting in Rick Porcello, I am not really confident in him either. Porcello spent most of the season being average and winning a bunch of games with lots of run support. That strategy tends to not works as well in the playoffs, although the Red Sox have won every game that Porcello has appeared in this postseason.
So, in a spot where both starters are question marks, and neither seems to be worthy of backing with confidence, I will look at the game total. During the regular season, a game total of seven and a half is reserved for the best of the best pitching matchups. In the playoffs, runs are much harder to come by, so those numbers tighten up, but I feel like this number is just too low. Boston has proven they can score that many runs on their own and Porcello is bound to give up a run or two as well. So, I will stay away from picking a side and take the over in what I expect to be a 5-4 type of game. Give me the over seven and a half runs tonight in game three from LA!