Dodgers Will Ride Momentum to Series-Evening Game 4 Win Against Boston

Rainman M.

Friday, October 26, 2018 12:04 PM UTC

Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 12:04 PM UTC

After an 18-inning marathon last night and this morning, the Dodgers host Boston for Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday at 8:09 ET on FOX. The Dodgers can even this series.  A beneficial pitching match-up and history both speak in their favor.

Game 4: Boston at Los Angeles DodgersSaturday, 8:09 ET (FOX)Free MLB Pick: Dodgers MLBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Ageless wonder Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66 ERA) is just the man who L.A. wants to help them stay alive in the series. In 44 postseason innings, the 38 year-old's ERA is 3.27. The Dodgers have won the last seven games in which he’s started, yielding +7 units.

Hill relies primarily on a fastball-curveball combo. Both pitches compose 97 percent of his arsenal. Even though he relies so heavily on both pitches, he’s still successful because of how effective they are. His fastball yields a .215 opposing BA. The curveball is Hill’s most famous pitch. It's so hard to hit mostly because of its movement. It has extreme arm-side movement and very strong negative vertical movement so that it’s both elusive and tricky. Even though he throws a higher rate of balls with it, he still often induces the batter to swing because the batter thinks that he sees a hittable pitch. But, the movement surprises him and he only makes soft contact with this pitch and usually grounds out if he doesn’t strike out. Hill concentrates its location low in the zone, pinpointing it with 12.5 percent frequency in the lowest-left corner of the zone. Yet he commands his curve so well that he can also often elevate it, which is rare and which helps him stay unpredictable.

Boston’s lineup has had tremendous success, but mostly against right-handed pitching. It’s yielding 30 fewer units against southpaws than right-handed pitchers. Boston matches up poorly with Hill. It ranks 26th in slugging against Hill’s primary pitches, the fastball and curveball, from lefties, although they haven’t faced a curveball like Hill’s. Don’t expect much from superstar Mookie Betts, who, after going 0-for-7, last night, is 4-for-31 (.129) in road playoff games.

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It was initially planned that Nathan Eovaldi would start for Boston. But because he pitched six innings last night, he won’t be available. Not only did Boston employ their Game 4 starter, they used up literally their entire bullpen with the exception of Drew Pomeranz. The Red Sox will pay for conforming to baseball’s modern tendency of pulling starting pitchers out earlier and relying more on the bullpen. Rick Porcello threw only 4.2 innings. Between him and Eovaldi, seven different pitchers threw 6.1 innings. Most significantly, its four best pitchers in terms of postseason ERA saw meaningful action. Heath Hembree threw 25 pitches, Matt Barnes threw 23, Ryan Brasier threw 18, and Joe Kelly threw 12. Besides Eovaldi, those are Boston’s only pitchers who hold a sub-three postseason ERA.

I speculate that Drew Pomeranz will start Game 4. Pomeranz has over 100 career starts. He is fresh. In fact, he has literally seen zero postseason action since he was a late add to Boston’s postseason roster. He hasn’t pitched since September 30, so he could be rusty. At any event, Boston will rely on his freshness because they desperately need him to give them many innings and to help their gassed bullpen recover. Depending on Pomeranz, though, is not something that any team ever wants to do. His 2-6 regular season record and 6.20 ERA indicate how awful he is. Playoff-caliber lineups regularly decimated him even after he was demoted to the bullpen. In his last multi-inning outing against the Yanks, he conceded an earned run in 2.1 innings. Against Cleveland, he yielded two earned runs in 0.2 innings. Against Atlanta, he yielded five runs in 0.1 innings. The list continues into August and so forth. Also, he lacks postseason experience.

If Pomeranz struggles, Boston will likely lean on Eduardo Rodriguez, who is relatively fresh and has good endurance. His postseason ERA is 6.75 so far. Like Pomeranz, he was demoted to the bullpen because he is too bad to be a starter. In September, he had three multi-inning outings against playoff teams. The Yankees knocked him for eight runs in combined 5.2 innings. Houston also produced five runs in 3.1 innings against him. In 53 career at-bats, L.A. hitters have an .830 OPS (on-base plus slugging; average is .720) against him. Brian Dozier has two homers in four at-bats. Even though L.A.’s bullpen saw plenty usage, not only is its pen in better shape, but it gets to lean on Rich Hill while Boston will depend on a pair of demoted southpaws.

History speaks for L.A. Recently, there have been two World Series games that, like the Dodgers-Red Sox game last night, set a record for longest World Series game. Those two games were Kansas City vs the Mets in 2015 and White Sox vs Houston in 2005. In both cases, the team that won the marathon also won the following game.

So, L.A. get a huge advantage in starting pitching with Rich Hill against somebody from Boston who isn’t nearly as good as Eovaldi and it has a fresher bullpen that threw 2.1 fewer innings last night and won’t have to pitch much because of Hill. Plus, L.A. has history in its side. L.A. is the side that you should choose for your MLB Picks.

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