Zylbert: Will Eduardo Rodriguez Thrive in First Playoff Start For Red Sox?

Zylbert: Will Eduardo Rodriguez Thrive in First Playoff Start For Red Sox? article feature image

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Eduardo Rodriguez

Betting Odds: Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 8:09 p.m. ET
  • Probable pitchers: Eduardo Rodriguez (13-5, 3.82 ERA) vs. Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66 ERA)
  • TV channel: FOX

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record

  • Regular Season: 102-73-4, +21.45 units
  • Postseason: 8-11-1, -4.95 units
  • Yesterday’s Result: Red Sox-Dodgers Over 7.5, Porcello vs. Buehler (loss)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

There was a whole assortment of records set in Friday night’s wild Game 3 of the World Series, a game that undoubtedly went into the books as an instant classic.

Two of those new benchmarks set — longest game and most players used in a World Series game — figure to factor considerably into Saturday’s Game 4. And that’s something we’ll try to capitalize on as it concerns the over/under.

One of the pitchers involved in the marathon (after pitching to just one battler) happens to be starting tonight for the Red Sox.

Rodriguez, who draws the nod after manager Alex Cora burned through initial Game 4 starter Nathan Eovaldi in extras, will be pitching in his eighth career playoff contest, but this will be his first career postseason start.

Since first arriving on the scene in 2015, Rodriguez doesn’t sport the most promising numbers at this juncture of the campaign, holding a 10.38 ERA during October baseball. But that came in a very minimal sample size of 4 1/3 innings. And as mentioned, that all came in relief.

Most of Rodriguez’s work in the big leagues has come as a starter, and in that role, he was actually very solid once again this year, going 12-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 23 starts. He also punched out 10 batters per nine innings.

Outside of one shaky outing against the Yankees, Rodriguez has been just fine this postseason. Additionally, one benefit of leaning on him here is that even if he gets pulled quickly, underrated southpaw Drew Pomeranz — an All-Star in 2016 — will be waiting in the wings.

Hill, meanwhile, will simply be looking to keep up his quality work in effort to even up the series. His last appearance came in Game 6 of the NLCS last Friday, when he chipped in a scoreless frame. In his two starts prior to that, he allowed only three runs in 9 1/3 total innings.

That’s just par for the course as it regards Hill’s track record in these momentous games. After all, in 10 career postseason starts, Hill has given up more than three runs only once. Although he hasn’t gone particularly deep in most of those assignments, that’s perfectly fine with a strong bullpen to deploy behind him.

Perhaps more important than anything, you have to realize what these players went through. Game 3 was one for the ages, and there’s no question that the players were significantly drained both physically and mentally — that’s only human nature after a seven-hour affair.

Add in the fact that it will be two left-handed arms kicking things off, and given both clubs fare worse against southpaws, this may be another game that drags on with a low score attached.

The line being as high as 8.5 is pretty friendly, too, for an under emanating in a pitcher’s park like Chavez Ravine.

Play: UNDER 8.5 (-105)