In a strange way, game three of the World Series was where dreams and nightmares collided. Max Muncy lived the dream; a walk-off home run putting his team back in a position to tie the series up. Dave Roberts lived the nightmare. His team got the win but now he has to worry about who can pitch and who cannot in game four which will play roughly 17 hours after game three concluded. Despite the inconvenience, Roberts has an opportunity to capitalize on the longest game in postseason history.
For a while, it looked like the Dodgers would take home the victory in what was a pitchers duel. Walker Buehler became the third pitcher in World Series history to throw seven shutout innings with two or fewer hits allowed and Joc Pederson provided the one run it looked like the team needed to squeak away with the victory.
Buehler got pulled, Jansen came into the game in the eighth inning and gave up what felt like a summary for his entire season: a game-tying home run.
With the game tied at one apiece, the Dodgers and the Red Sox headed to extra innings where they would stay for another nine innings. Boston got a run in the 13th but the Dodgers quickly answered with savvy base running and some good luck. With the contest tied yet again, the two squads proceeded.
Innings 14, 15, 16 and 17 were silent. Nathan Eovaldi played the part of the hero, having thrown in every game of the Series and last night getting up to 97 pitched. Max Muncy hit a ball about three outside of the pole in right field, a shot that would have ended the game but struck out on the next pitch.
The Dodgers used every pitcher from the pen and finally, in the 18th innings, Muncy redeemed himself with a game-winning solo homer.
The series is now 2-1 Sox. The Dodgers have work to do but, after dueling for 18, they may have the advantage to tie the series up in game four.
The Red Sox will almost undoubtedly throw a bullpen game. At the time of writing this article, both teams have TBD’s starting. But, should the Red Sox run with the bullpen game, the Dodgers will need to capitalize.
Boston’s bullpen consists of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Nate Eovaldi, Heath Hembree, Joe Kelly, Craig Kimbrel and Drew Pomeranz. Outside of Pomeranz, the entire bullpen is right-handed, a strength of Los Angeles.
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Also, factor in that Nathan Eovaldi will not play in the game after throwing in the last three. Unless he magically gets ready pitch within the same 24-hour span, the Dodgers have eliminated the Sox most consistent reliever. Kimbrel, Hembree, Brasier and Kelly have all be shaky lately anyway and you have to assume the Pomeranz, a former starter, will not be in the pen for game four.
Now, let’s jump to the other dugout. The Dodgers got burnt out last night. Every pitcher in the bullpen played and outside of Ryan Madson and Julio Urias, everyone threw at least 15 pitches. Alex Wood threw 15 on the dot but for someone who is not used to pitching back-to-back days, he may be unavailable. Urias will be a big question mark in game four as well as the young lefty should probably not be over-exerted, a concern many fans had when he was added to the NLCS roster.
So, with the pitching depleted, what is the strategy to get a win? Offense, offense, offense.
The Dodgers must jump on the Sox early. Max Muncy is heating up and Puig is already hot, the two of them kill right-handed pitching and that’s what they will see on Saturday night. Get to the bullpen and the Dodgers will hit the reset button on a series that has seen them get dominated in almost every game.
Saturday is not a sure-fire win. But, with momentum swinging towards the Dodgers and the Red Sox inconsistent right-handed bullpen taking the mound, there may be a reason to pick the Dodgers to win back-to-back games at home.