We picked up another win last night, but it sure wasn’t easy! We backed Rich Hill and the Los Angeles Dodgers at home in what I saw as a must-win game for LA. I expected Hill to pitch well and had no idea what to expect out of Gio Gonzalez as the Brewers have turned him into an opener of sorts in his last few outings. So, I laid a little wood and backed the home team.
Rich Hill did pitch well, he lasted only five innings but gave up just one run on only three hits. And he was much better than his counterpart for the Brewers, Gio Gonzalez. We knew the Brewers were going to be keeping a close eye on Gio, but I was fairly surprised to see him get pulled after just one inning of work. I get it, he did struggled in the first, but in a game where Milwaukee badly needed to rest their bullpen, they did just the opposite.
In fact, between both teams combined, they used sixteen pitchers in this one. In a series where the bullpens have been abused by both teams, you have to wonder what arms will be available tonight as they play their third game in three nights. This game to a climatic finish as Cody Bellinger singled in Manny Machado in the bottom of the thirteenth inning to walk the game off to give LA the win. The Dodgers had to win last night, and they got the job done.
The teams match up again tonight in Los Angels with the series now tied up at two games apiece. The Dodgers will turn to their best starter, Clayton Kershaw (9-5 2.73 ERA) and for the Brewers, it is Wade Miley (5-2 2.57 ERA). The Dodgers are big -171 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 PM PST from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
What a huge game we have in store for us today! The series is tied up, and both pitchers are sending their best starter to the mound. Last night’s game was intense late into the night, and the teams will have to turn around and play an early game today, and the atmosphere is going to be wild in the City of Angels.
I don’t have to remind you again about how Clayton Kershaw has struggled in the playoffs do I? Kershaw’s career ERA in the NLCS is 5.24 in eight starts. There is just something about pitching late in the season that makes Kershaw struggle. We saw that in game one when I faded him and cashed a ticket as he got hammered for five runs in three innings of work and the Dodgers lost the game. But for some reason, I feel like he is going to exercise those demons and pitch well today.
And to be completely honest I don’t know why I feel that way. All the data tells me that Kershaw will pitch poorly tonight. His history in the playoffs, his history against the Brewers, how he pitched in his last start. But I am going on record and saying that I think Kershaw figures it out tonight and goes seven-plus innings. The Cubs never won a World Series until they did, the Red Sox never won a World Series until they did, and Kershaw never pitched great in the playoffs, until he does tonight.
Another guy that I expect to pitch well is the Brewers Wade Miley. Miley has been pitching his brains out all season long and has been the most reliable starter for the Brewers down the stretch. Miley missed much of the season with an injury and used the time off to really retool his approach, and he has been all the better for it. He started just sixteen games this season for the Brewers but had the lowest ERA of his career by a wide margin and looks like a new man out there on the mound for Milwaukee.
In the playoffs all Miley has done is start two games and produce an ERA of 0.00! In a combined ten and a third innings of work, he has yet to allow a run on five hits. Against the Dodgers, in game two of the series, he threw five and two-thirds shutout innings. As unlikely as it may have sounded coming into this season, Wade Miley has been elite.
So, where do we go in this game? The Dodgers are once again laughably over-priced, as they have been the entire series. You are rarely, if ever, going to get a fair line on the Dodgers as they are just too popular, and this game is no different. Based on the recent results from Miley and Kershaw, this number should be no higher that Dodgers -140, max. Yet here we are with the Dodgers as big favorites again.
But as you saw above, I expect big things from Kershaw, so I am not really comfortable looking to fade him as I did in game one. But I am also confident in Wade Miley’s ability to shut the Dodgers down. So, when I glance at the game total of seven runs, I start to think of going under.
This is the playoffs, games are generally lower scoring, and the last three games of this series have gone under. With Miley and Kershaw both expected to pitch well, I feel like this is another low scoring game. Even though the Brewers bullpen has been used a bunch in this series and struggled in games one and two, they have been on point in games three and four. In a combined eleven and two-thirds innings of work in games three and four the Milwaukee bullpen has allowed just one run, that is some nasty stuff.
In the regular season, I hate to take the under on such a low number, but this is playoff baseball and runs are always hard to come by. And we are even getting a discount on the juice on the under as it stands right now. Give me the under seven runs tonight in game three at -105!