On Tuesday night, the wheels were set in motion for a potentially disastrous scenario to play out for the Astros at Dodger Stadium. How will they respond? Let’s take a look!
RHP Justin Verlander (HOU) versus LHP Rich Hill (LAD) — 8:09 p.m. ET, FOX
Playoff issues be darned, it’s not terribly surprising that Clayton Kershaw diced up the Astros on Tuesday night. What’s problematic, however, is this: if for some reason they drop the first two games in Los Angeles before heading back to Houston, that means they’ll be down 2-0 with Dallas Keuchel and Verlander burnt. The Astros are already behind the 8-ball with a bullpen that posted a 4.27 ERA this season. But the added wrinkle of having to rely on guys like Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton to save their season is….not ideal.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The man they sent for to save them from this situation is Verlander—and he’s been unreal this October. Through four appearances this postseason—three starts—he’s got a 1.46 ERA (four earned runs in 24.2 innings) with 24 strikeouts and just six walks. He’s not a sure thing in October—who is, really?—but he’s the closest thing we’ll see to one pitching in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. On his side is the fact that the Astros haven’t lost a game he’s appeared in yet. That even goes back to the regular season.
After Kershaw was dazzling in Game 1, the Dodgers will turn to his left-handed counterpart in Hill, who has been fine, but not amazing this October. He’s thrown just nine innings through two starts—which isn’t all that surprising since he’s not one to always work deep into games—but has a 3.00 ERA, .188 BAA, 1.11 WHIP and 12-4 K/BB over that stretch.
The Astros have crushed lefties this year (120 wRC+). So there isn’t really much they’ll fear in terms of opposing pitchers. With that said, this 1-0 deficit feels more like 2-0 or more with what looms in Houston. But we’ve been wrong before.
Game 1 lived up to the hype, though. Right?