Wow. Last night is what baseball is all about. Game three of the 2018 World Series will forever go down as an all-time classic game between two proud and storied franchises. The game lasted a World Series record eighteen innings and ended on a Max Muncy walk-off home run. You know all those Kirk Gibson highlights that have never stopped getting shown? You can add last night’s blast off the bat of Muncy to your forever highlight reel.
All three of these games have been tightly contested and last night was as tight as you can possibly be. Both starting pitchers pitched very well, especially Walker Buehler, who pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits along the way. The game hit extra innings tied at one run each, and that is when things really got interesting.
The Red Sox took the lead in the top of the thirteenth inning on an Eduardo Nunez infield single and a throwing error from Scott Alexander. But the Dodgers managed to answer right back when they tied the game back up in the bottom half of the frame on an earlier similar play with a Yasiel Puig infield single and an Ian Kinsler throwing error. The game remained scoreless until the game-ending Muncy bomb in the 18th.
The repercussions of this game were felt well after the game ended as the Red Sox completed emptied their bench. Every positional player available played in the game as well as their entire bullpen, and two of their starters. Boston used previously named game four starter, Nathan Eovaldi, for six innings and even used game two starter David Price for two-thirds of an inning. This left Boston with nobody to start tonight in a big game four tonight.
After both teams held back from announcing their starting pitchers for the night and much of the morning, our game four starters were finally just announced. The Red Sox will start Drew Pomeranz (2-6 6.08 ERA), and the Dodgers will go with Rich Hill (11-5 3.66 ERA). Pomeranz was not expected to start in this series and has not thrown a pitch yet in this postseason. The Dodgers are -160 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:09 PM PST from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The Red Sox went all in last night. They did everything they could to steal game three, and with it, likely put the series away. And by doing so, they basically gave up any shot of having a realistic chance to win tonight in game four. The bullpen is exhausted, and they used up their starter for today’s game, leaving them with having to start Drew Pomeranz.
Pomeranz has yet to pitch in this postseason and hasn’t started a game since August. Pomeranz was used mostly out of the bullpen in the second half of the year for Boston and was not effective as he had a sky-high ERA of 6.08 on the season. He was particularly bad in September where he had an ERA of over eleven runs in seven relief appearances. The Red Sox are likely to keep him on a tight leash, but after emptying out the ‘pen last night, there aren’t a lot of long inning options to go to if he struggles early.
The Dodgers start Rich Hill tonight, looking to even the series up. Hill was always going to be the game four starter as he was listed to start this game earlier in the week, and did not pitch yesterday. But when Boston decided not to announce their starter for game four, the Dodgers pulled Hill’s name as well in a bit of posturing and one-upmanship. But Hill is rested and ready to go tonight in a huge game four.
Hill has been decent in this postseason, working both as a starter and reliever. In three appearances he is 0-0 with a 2.61 ERA. In his last start against Milwaukee in the NLCS, he pitched five strong innings and allowed just one run on only three hits. The Dodgers have a lot more flexibility in this game as they didn’t use up their bullpen nearly as much as the Red Sox did and they have Kenta Maeda and Alex Wood to use in long relief if things turn sour for Hill.
This is the World Series, and nobody ever tanks a game. But if the Red Sox get down early in this game, they should strongly consider holding back some. They went hard after the win last night, and it really set the rest of this series on a different trajectory as they now have to scramble for starters the rest of the way out. If they are in a similar position tonight, they would be stupid to try it again.
I think the Dodgers light up Pomeranz and like I said above, if the Red Sox get down early they should just leave Pomeranz out to dry and get hammered and rest up their bullpen. They can ill afford to go to David Price or Chris Sale and screw up their rotation further. They still have home field advantage no matter what happens in LA, and they need to play like it, and I think they will.
The price is steep, but after the heartbreaker last night, I am not sure how the Red Sox are going to pick themselves up off of the mat so quickly for tonight’s game. I think the Dodgers win and win fairly easy. So, I will lay more wood than I generally like to, and back the Dodgers at home in game four. Give me the Los Angeles Dodgers as home favorites at -160!