The amazing thing about a series like this is how quickly it can be turned on its side. The Dodgers were a few Kenley Jansen pitches away from a 2-0 lead heading into Houston.
Now, they’re needing to steal a game in Houston to even get the series back home. Add in a racist gesture on the Astros bench, and yeah, business is certainly picking up in this series in more ways than one.
LHP Alex Wood (LAD) versus RHP Charlie Morton (HOU) — 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX
It’s just like the Dodgers drew it up when they acquired Yu Darvish and put Clayton Kershaw’s back, uh, back together, right? That their season would, in a lot of ways, come down to this—with Wood as their savior? So….not really.
And it’s still just the potential of a 3-1 deficit looming over the Dodgers here—not the end of the world, but clearly not ideal—with still another game left in Houston.
The war online about the Dodgers trusting too much in “analytics”—the nebulous, fake news version spouted by aged columnists and Twitter trolls alike—won’t be flipped in this one. At least not in any meaningful sense. Wood’s good, but he threw 100 pitches exactly once all season—on July 21 against the lousy Atlanta Braves. A game in which he threw exactly 100 and got lit up (nine earned runs in 4.2 innings). So the odds of Wood pitching past the fifth inning—let alone maybe even into it—are not terribly high.
It’s hard to imagine anything different from Morton, a fun revival story in his own right who now throws gas but only threw 146.2 innings during the regular season. Is it really a revival when you’re better than ever at 33? Oh wait, that might drive another suspicious narrative. Sorry, trying to delete…..
Morton has pitched through five innings once in three postseason starts. And it was last time out in a terrific Game 7 performance against the Yankees. This flies in the face of the narrative of Dave Roberts pulling Rich Hill too early in Game 2, since Morton had thrown five shutout innings with two hits and five strikeouts. In lieu of building a bridge to a Kenley Jansen of his own, A.J. Hinch turned it over to Lance McCullers Jr., who in some ways helped validate the idea that he’d be absolutely bonkers out of the bullpen if this whole starting thing doesn’t work out.
Here’s the gist: It’s the playoffs. Hell, now it’s the World Series. As a manager, you do whatever the f*** you think will help you win. Case closed. End of story.