Championship Week: Day Three, Dodgers Down Early, The Astros vs. The Sun
By Andrew Santangelo (@Aj_Santangelo)
The Dodgers and Braves get the first slate of games today starting early evening. The first pitch is set for 5:05CT on Fox Sports 1. This series will continue to take place at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Game 2 is set after the Braves stole game 1, plating four in the ninth inning thanks to home runs from Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies. Braves’ pitching continues to dominate as a whole group. They will carry a postseason best 0.93 through six games. Dodgers come in with the second-best out of remaining teams with a 2.50 ERA as a collective team.
After the expected starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been scratched due to back spasms, the NL West champions will turn to rookie Tony Gonsolin who will make his postseason debut after a very successful regular season of 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA. The Dodgers offense will regroup after being held to one run in game one of the NLCS. As a team, the Dodgers, not where they want to be offensively; hitting only .237 with only three home runs does not bode well against the Braves pitching staff. After hitting an MLB best 118 regular-season home runs, that is a major drop off.
The Dodger offense will have their hands full as the Braves will send their rookie right-hander to the mound who has posted a 2-0 record with a 0.00ERA bringing in an 11 2/3 scoreless inning streak through his first two games. The NL East champions will look to carry that four-run ninth inning momentum into Tuesday evening’s game. Braves still have yet to lose this postseason, a perfect 6-0 record on the line once again.
The advantage in Game 2: Braves have a slight advantage here in the starting pitching end of things. Both these teams continue to battle. Dodgers will prevail, however, and avoid going down 0-2. Mookie Betts will provide in that leadoff spot hitting his first postseason home run on Tuesday, backed up by a strong performance from Gonsolin and company. Dodgers win 5-3.
Astros vs. Rays:
This has been an odd series so far to date. Rays have escaped the first two games with a 2-1 victory along with a 4-2 win Monday. Tuesday evening will bring an experienced Houston team leaving to avoid going down 3 games to zero. While the Houston offense has only provided three runs due to Rays pitching escaping jam after jam. The Astro offense has provided 19 hits in the last two games. Rays are getting out hit 19-10, but their offense has been better in the situational offense, while their pitching has been forcing Houston to hit into a double play after a double play.
It is only a matter of time before Houston’s powerful offense will strike and come through, but it is a matter if their pitching can hold the Rays as well. The AL West champions will throw Jose Urquidy, who has posted a 5.19ERA through two postseason starts after a successful regular season. He has yet to make it outside of the fifth inning. The Astros offense has a postseason best .280 average to go with 15 home runs.
The AL East Champions will counter with the southpaw Ryan Yarbrough who will make his second postseason appearance but his first start. He has a 3.60 ERA in the postseason after a 1-4 3.56ERA in the regular season. Rays have been the better situational hitting team with the mix of the long ball and the ability to drive in runs. Rays have hit an MLB best 17 home runs this postseason, while their average only sits at .207 but again, more credit to their ability for situational hitting.
Game 3 Outcome: This feels like the Astros offensive coming out party game. They have been striking hit after hit and have unable to produce runs. With the Rays lefty on the mound against a strong right-handed lineup, this seems to be one of the higher scoring games. Astros take advantage of this finally and win game three 9-6.
For a full series, breakdown live, or on the podcast, check out the baseball show on Tuesday at 5:15 and Friday this week as well, with Jose Bouquett and Andrew Santangelo!