Game Three: Yu Darvish (2-0, 1.59 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (1-1, 6.23 ERA)
Once the first two games of the series are over this is where the Dodgers deep rotation will factor in. The Astros will encounter a familiar enemy when Yu Darvish toes the rubber for the Dodgers. Darvish faced the Astros twice this season going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA. Darvish has made some adjustments since he came over to the Dodgers so it will be interesting to see how those tweaks pay off. This post-season Darvish has been as good as advertised going 2-0 with victories over the Diamondbacks and Cubs.
Charlie Morton is expected to get the ball for game three. However, the Astros could start McCullers game three and Morton game four. Morton has seen the Dodgers a few times since he had National League stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies most recently. Morton is a guy that features a very heavy sinker with lots of movement, and he can get it up there at 96 miles per hour with movement. Although he pitched five good innings in game seven of the ALCS, his prior two starts were mixed results. His first start against the Yankees he was blasted for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. The Dodgers will need to use their tendency to work the count and make Morton throw strikes.
Hitters to watch
George Springer – Springer has had success against Darvish as he has homered off him twice in only eighteen at bats. He has struck out five times so as his book says, Springer is hit or miss against Darvish but has had success when he connects.
Chase Utley – It will be interesting to see if Utley gets a start when Morton is on the mound. Utley has a .500 average against Morton with four RBI’s. I expect Utley to get the nod against Morton.
As the series shifts to Houston, that is when the focus will be shifted to the back of the Astros rotation. The Dodgers have four strong starters while the Astros are very top heavy. Morton and McCullers are certainly capable of beating the Dodgers, but it is a big step down from Keuchel and Verlander. The Dodgers have a big advantage in game three with former ace Yu Darvish on the mound.