October 28, 2017

WS4: Dodgers 6, Astros 2

Dodgers - 000 000 105 - 6  7  0
Astros  - 000 001 001 - 2  2  0
Alex Wood, pitching for only the second time in 32 days, did not allow a hit until the sixth inning. After the Astros took a 1-0 lead, Cody Bellinger - who had struck out four times in Game 3 - doubled and scored the tying run in the seventh and doubled home the go-ahead run in the ninth. Joc Pederson crushed a three-run homer later in the inning to put the game on ice, as the Dodgers tied the World series at two games apiece. Los Angeles, who knew it could not afford to fall behind 1-3 in the series, now may have the upper hand, with Clayton Kershaw pitching in Game 5.

Tonight's game was the 109th World Series game played by the Dodgers and none of their starting pitchers had ever begun a game with five no-hit innings. Wood issued two walks, including a pass to Carlos Correa to start the second, but a double play erased that baserunner. Charlie Morton allowed a single to Chris Taylor leading off the game before matching Wood pitch-for-pitch, needing only 50 pitches through five innings.

In the sixth, Morton hit Austin Barnes and gave up a one-out single to Enrique Hernandez. (A total of 95 minutes had passed between hits in the game.) Los Angeles had runners at first and third. Taylor chopped the ball towards third. Alex Bregman ran in, made a beautiful sweeping scoop of the ball on a short hop, and fired a low throw to Brian McCann. Barnes stopped running, with a vague idea of going back to third, but McCann easily tagged him. Then Morton got Corey Seager on a first-pitch fly to left.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Houston's George Springer belted a 3-1 pitch to left for a solo home run, ending the no-hit bid, the shutout, and Wood's outing (5.2-1-1-2-3, 84). Wood was the first pitcher since Jerry Koosman of the Mets to throw at least 5.2 no-hit innings in a World Series game. Koosman threw six no-hit innings in Game 2 of the 1969 World Series.

The Dodgers wasted no time in tying the game. Bellinger doubled to deep left-center, which forced Morton out of the game (6.1-3-1-0-7, 76). Will Harris got Yasiel Puig to fly to right, but Logan Forsythe lined a single to left-center and Seager scored.

Neither team put a man on base in the eighth. The Astros had Ken Giles on the mound in the top of the ninth. Seager grounded Giles's first pitch into the shift and past Jose Altuve into right field for a single. Giles fell behind Justin Turner 3-0 and Joe Musgrove began warming up in the Houston bullpen. Giles eventually walked Turner. Bellinger lined a 1-0 pitch into the gap in left-center and hustled his way to a double. Seager scored and Turner went to third.

LA's 2-1 lead was the first time in eight postseason home games that the Astros had trailed. Giles was done after only eight pitches, with Astros manager A.J. Hinch bringing in Musgrove. Charlie Culberson ran for Turner at third. Puig struck out and Forsythe was walked intentionally, loading the bases. (Is that ever a good idea?) Barnes flied to deep right, scoring Culberson. Pederson followed with a three-run dong.

Kenley Jansen was one out away from nailing down the first World Series one-hitter since 1995, but Bregman homered to left with two outs.

This was the first game in World Series history in which both starting pitchers allowed four or fewer baserunners.

Teams that have won Game 4 to tie any World Series have gone on to win the series 24 of 44 times. The 2013 Red Sox were one of those 24 teams.
Alex Wood / Charlie Morton

The Astros have won all seven home games during this postseason, outscoring their opponents 36-10. Opposing starters have a 7.43 ERA.

Through the first three games, the Astros have nearly twice as many hits as the Dodgers (29-15), but have scored only one more run (13-12).

Rather than have Clayton Kershaw pitch on three days rest, the Dodgers are giving the ball to lefty Alex Wood, who has pitched only once in the past 31 days. After his final regular season appearance on September 26, he went 4.2 innings in NLCS Game 4 on October 18, allowing three runs and four hits. When asked about the time off, Wood said:
[P]hysically it helps me feel a lot more ready, because you have so much time off, but at the same time, trying to stay sharp and stay on top of your game. We've tried to do our best with bullpens and live [sessions] and throwing flat grounds ... Really at this point it's more about kind of mental fortitude than anything.
Since MLB permanently went to the 2-3-2 format for the World Series in 1946, teams that have won Game 3 at home and taken a 2-1 lead have gone on to win the WS 11 of 16 times and eight of the past nine. (The one exception among those nine was the 2013 Red Sox. After falling behind 1-2 in the series, Boston won the next three games.)

I'm sticking with the Dodgers and Alex "No Relation" Wood in what feels like a must-win for Los Angeles. Dodgers 5-4.


allan said...

October 28 in Baseball History

1953 - Red Barber resigns from the Brooklyn Dodgers broadcast booth and takes a job with the rival New York Yankees. (That must have been huge news!)

1965 - Walter Barbare, an infielder who played for the 1918 Red Sox, dies at age 74.

1981 - The Dodgers complete a World Series comeback, defeating the Yankees, 9-2, in Game 6. The Dodgers had trailed two games to none before winning four straight games.

1989 - The Athletics sweep the Giants. Dave Stewart is named MVP after winning the first and third games of the series, which was interrupted by an earthquake.

2004 - While likely waking up seriously hungover from celebrating their team's first World Series title in 86 years the night before, Red Sox fans were still ridiculously happy.

2007 - The Red Sox win their second championship of the decade, with a sweep of the Rockies. (Colorado had won 21 of 22 games entering the series.)

2013 - The Red Sox take a 3-2 lead in the World Series with a win over the Cardinals. David Ortiz gets three hits to increase his batting average for the series to .733.

allan said...

"Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel has been suspended without pay for the first five games of the 2018 regular season by Major League Baseball, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Saturday afternoon before Game 4 of the World Series. Gurriel was seen making an inappropriate gesture toward Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish in the second inning of Houston's 5-3 win in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday."

This writer is gonna be yelled at for sure. He did not refer to the "A Number Of Games, Between Four And Seven, Formerly Known As The World Series" by its proper corporate name. Twice!

David Cho said...

Great call! A lot of Dodgers fans were calling for Kershaw to pitch tonight and skip Wood. What do they know?