Lo Duca’s Red Sox-Dodgers Preview: Who Has Edge After Game 3 Marathon?
Jayne Camin-Oncea, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Rich HIll
Betting odds: Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers
- Red Sox moneyline: +135 (Eduardo Rodriguez)
- Dodgers moneyline: -155 (Rich Hill)
- Over/Under: 8.5 (-110/-110)
- First pitch: 8:09 p.m. ET
- Channel: FOX
>> All odds as of 4 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets
We’re not in the business of looking back but Friday night’s marathon Game 3 obviously will play a pretty big role in Game 4.
Let’s start with the Red Sox. Manager Alex Cora took a few risks hunting for the 3-0 series lead and it’s hard to fault him for going for it. He emptied his bullpen, most notably calling on Nathan Eovaldi — who was supposed to start Game 4 — to throw six innings (97 pitches) in relief after he pitched in Games 1 and 2.
Cora also used closer Craig Kimbrel and middle relievers Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier and Heath Hembree for at least an inning. Kimbrel, Hembree and Barnes each threw more than 20 pitches while Kelly (12 pitches), Brasier (18) and starter David Price (13) should be relatively fresh.
The only pitchers Cora didn’t use were Drew Pomeranz, who warmed up a little bit, and Chris Sale, who will start Game 5.
Pomeranz was rumored to be the starter for Game 4, but the Sox have opted for Eduardo Rodriguez, another southpaw, instead.
The Dodgers’ bullpen is also depleted. An 18-inning game will do that. Walker Buehler gave Dave Roberts seven scoreless innings before Kenley Jansen surrendered the lead on a solo homer in the eighth.
Jansen and Pedro Baez each tossed two innings, so Roberts’ two best relievers are gassed. The Dodgers also used relievers Kenta Maeda for 36 pitches, Dylan Floro for 29, Scott Alexander for 19, Alex Wood for 15, Julio Urias for 11 and Ryan Madson for two.
Both of these ‘pens are absolutely exhausted, but there’s a slight edge with the Dodgers because Rich Hill — the presumed starter — should give them more length than Rodriguez gives Boston.
There is a chance that Rodriguez, who has made six relief appearances this postseason and hasn’t completed more than two innings since Sept. 20 (his last start), serves as an “opener” and doesn’t go more than an inning.
The Dodgers can have success against the 25-year-old lefty. Rodriguez has struggled with his slider lately and Los Angeles had a .280 wOBA against sliders this season — the seventh-best mark in the MLB.
Outside of Rodriguez, I expect Pomeranz to feature pretty heavily in this game and that could spell trouble for Boston.
Pomeranz hasn’t pitched since Sept. 30 — a one-inning relief appearance against the Yankees — and hasn’t logged more than five innings since May 8. The 29-year-old was added to the World Series roster to give Cora another left-hander for matchup purposes, but here he is starting a pivotal Game 4.
After Pomeranz, I’d imagine Cora will be fine handing the ball off to Price, Kelly, Brasier, Barnes and Kimbrel to piece together the game.
This would be Hill’s first appearance of the World Series and he should benefit from Chris Fairchild’s big strike zone. If Hill can get the high strike called, he should be pretty effective.
The Red Sox had to get creative with their lineup in Game 3 because of the National League rules. Cora elected to keep Jackie Bradley Jr. in the lineup with J.D. Martinez getting a rare start in left field and Andrew Benintendi coming off the bench.
No matter what Cora elects to do with his lineup in Game 4, it will weaken his lineup at least a little bit.
There’s a big pitching edge with Los Angeles on Saturday night and it’s enough for me to lay the juice with the Dodgers.
The Bet: Dodgers -155