Last night we went through a roller coaster of emotions trying to bet game four of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. First off, both teams decided not to name a starter, and even though no starter was named for most of the morning, the books were still taking action, something they very rarely do. Then Boston named Drew Pomeranz the starter and LA responded by naming Rich Hill their starter.
I was shocked to see Boston make the move to Pomeranz as the guy hadn’t started a game since August, had an ERA of over eleven runs in September while working out of the bullpen, and hadn’t thrown a pitch yet in the playoffs. I saw this as a sign that the Red Sox might be tanking the game a bit and looking to rest of for the rest of the series. So, I jumped on LA thinking Boston was taking this one easy with Pomeranz on the mound.
And in what has become the trend of the playoffs this year, Boston made the last-minute switch and started Eduardo Rodriguez instead. Rodriguez is no Chris Sale, and he wasn’t scheduled to start in this series either, but he was certainly a major upgrade over Drew Pomeranz. As I always do, I listed my starting pitchers, and my bet was refunded as Pomeranz didn’t start.
And when the Dodgers jumped out to a 4-0 lead I was sure upset that the Red Sox tricked me out of my winning bet. But when Boston made a monumental comeback to win the game 9-6, I was happy to get my bet back at the end of the game.
Starting tonight for Boston is David Price (2-1 11.57 ERA), and for the Dodgers, it is Clayton Kershaw (2-2 6.92 ERA). The Dodgers are -143 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST from Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
The win could not have been bigger for Boston, as they now have a chance to close out the series tonight in game five. But in a bit more trickery, the Red Sox are going with David Price to try and close out the series tonight, rather than Chris Sale, the game one starter for Boston. This one is another head-scratcher for me. The Red Sox named Sale the starter last night, and now it is listed as Price. You have to wonder who will actually take the mound tonight for Boston?
Price has pitched really well in his last two starts and has picked up his first two postseason wins after starting his career 0-9 in the postseason as a starter. Price started game two in Boston and pitched six innings, allowed just two runs on only three hits and picked up the win for his efforts. He was also used out of the bullpen in the marathon game four that lasted eighteen innings as he pitched two-thirds of an inning but struggled a bit as he gave up a hit and a walk in limited action.
If Price actually starts, and at this point that is a mighty big IF, it will be hard to know what to expect out of him. He had a long history of blowing it in the playoffs and was terrible in his first several appearances in this postseason but has seemingly turned things around in his last two starts. My only guess is that now that the Red Sox only need to win one game at home they are holding Sale back to start game six in Boston.
The Dodgers are going with the guy we all expected them to in Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw is another guy whose his postseason struggles have been well documented. Kershaw might be the best pitcher of his generation, yet in the playoffs, he always seems to get hammered. This year has been a bit different though as he has shown flashes of the real Kershaw at times. Against the Brewers he started a must-win game five and threw seven innings of brilliant work allowing one run on three hits.
And against the Braves in the NLDS, he threw eight shutout innings and gave up just two hits. He also came in the ninth inning of game seven of the NLCS out of the bullpen as a closer to seal the NL pennant for Los Angeles. But in his other two appearances in this postseason? Kershaw’s demons reared their nasty heads. In those two games, he threw a combined seven innings and allowed ten earned runs.
That includes his last start in this series against Boston where he got hammered for five runs in just four innings of work. In that game, he gave up seven hits and walked three. And when the manager came to pull him out of the game, he was steaming mad. So, which Kershaw will we see tonight? The one that is the best pitcher in the majors? Or the one that has an ERA of double-digits in this postseason?
I have been burned by Clayton Kershaw in the playoffs too many times to remember. And I will take a shot at the flames again tonight. I just can’t see Kershaw not finding something special tonight. At home in the playoffs this year he has thrown a total of fifteen innings and has allowed one earned run. He has been terrible on the road but elite at home. And with the series on the line tonight, I expect them to pitch Kershaw until the wheels fall off.
Make sure to list Price as your starter though as the Red Sox could pull another switch at the last second and having to face Chris Sale is a lot different than facing David Price. Give me the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight as home favorites at -143 in a must-win game five!