Darvish left spinning as Dodgers fall into Series deficit
October 28, 2017
HOUSTON (AP) Pitching in his World Series debut, Yu Darvish kept turning his head as balls clanked off the outfield wall or soared over it.
Darvish had never pitched fewer than three innings in 135 previous big league outings. On baseball’s biggest stage, he got just five outs and left with a four-run deficit in Friday’s night’s 5-3 loss to Houston, which put the Dodgers in a 2-1 World Series hole.
If Los Angeles is to win the World Series, the Dodgers will have to do it at home for the first time since 1963 – and with a bullpen that has covered 13 1/3 innings over the past two games.
Ahead of his start, Darvish joked he should receive a gracious greeting because he wore a ”Houston Strong” T-shirt last month to raise money for hurricane relief.
”Maybe I can use a ball that doesn’t have much pop in it,” he said through a translator.
Houston had enough pop to keep the ornamental train above Minute Maid Park’s left-field wall sounding its whistle often early in Friday’s game.
Darvish threw 49 pitches and had just one swing and miss – by Carlos Correa on a 98 mph fastball in the first inning. There was also a missed bunt attempt by Marwin Gonzalez before his run-scoring single in the second.
The 31-year-old Japanese right-hander seemed amped up. His fastball averaged 94.7 mph during the season, according to Brooks Baseball, but with higher velocity against the Astros, his slider flattened.
Acquired from Texas at the July 31 trade deadline, Darvish had been 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in a pair of postseason starts, winning Game 3s against Arizona in the Division Series and the Cubs in the League Championship Series.
But he seemed out of sort right from the start against Houston, falling behind leadoff hitter George Springer 3-1 and allowing an RBI double.
Yuli Gurriel drove a slider into the left field Crawford Boxes opening the second, and Josh Reddick doubled to left for his first extra-base hit in 49 plate appearances this postseason – the third extra-base hit off Darvish among the Astros’ first six batters.
Evan Gattis walked and, after a visit to the mound by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, Gonzalez hit a 373-foot single off the left-field wall for a 2-0 lead.
Brian McCann lined an RBI single into right and Alex Bregman hit a sacrifice fly with one out, and Darvish was done for the day, skirting the edge of the World Series logo as he walked to the third-base dugout.
Yasiel Puig also had a bad day. With Los Angeles trailing 4-1 in the fourth, he singled down the third-base line, ran past first, slowed to almost a stop, then noticed the ball was bounding off the low wall. He then started for second and was thrown out by Gonzalez.
Reliever Tony Watson added his own errant moment, throwing Gattis’ chopper past first baseman Cody Bellinger in the fifth, allowing Reddick to score from first base on what was ruled an infield hit and a two-base error.
After a strong start by Clayton Kershaw in the opener and a good-but-abbreviated one from Rich Hill in Game 2, the Dodgers have failed to retire the side in order for 14 consecutive innings. The bullpen stretched a scoreless streak to 28 innings during Game 2 on Wednesday night before blowing a save and losing in 11 innings.
Preview: Dodgers (104-58) at Astros (101-61)
Venue: Minute Maid Park
Date: October 28, 2017 8:20 PM EDT
HOUSTON — After burning through eight relief pitchers in Game 2 and sending five more to the mound on Friday night at Minute Maid Park in Game 3 of the World Series, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts faced the inevitable questions regarding the state of his bullpen after a 5-3 loss dropped the Dodgers into a 2-1 hole against the Houston Astros.
With left-hander Alex Wood scheduled to get the start on Saturday, the concerns are valid. Wood has made just one start this postseason, allowing three runs and four hits with seven strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of Game 4 in the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers dropped that game 3-2, their lone loss of that series.
Excluding right-hander Kenta Maeda, who worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 3, Roberts declared each member of his bullpen available for action in what will be a pivotal Game 4.
“Well, we just had an off-day yesterday,” Roberts said. “And when your starter (right-hander Yu Darvish) goes five outs, you’ve got to find a way to cover some innings. Everyone tomorrow is available, outside of Kenta. And Alex is going to have to go deep.
“But I think, like I said, everyone is available, and we’ve got Kersh (ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw) going Game 5. They’ll be available. They’ll be fine.”
Wood will face a pressure-packed outing but is equipped for the challenge. He paced the majors in winning percentage after finishing 16-3 with a career-best 2.72 ERA in 27 appearances (25 starts). His 3.3 WAR represented the second-best mark of his career, trailing the 3.7 WAR he produced with the Atlanta Braves while finishing 11-11 with a 2.78 ERA in 2014.
Relative postseason inexperience aside, Wood gets the ball with the Dodgers on the brink of a daunting deficit should they lose, yet buoyed by the opportunity to start instead of relieve.
“I feel fortunate that I’m finally getting to start in the postseason,” Wood said. “My three previous postseason experiences have all been out of the bullpen. So really my first start against the Cubs in the postseason, I felt way more comfortable, not really much nerves. Just seemed like another game with a little bit of higher expectations for yourself and a little bit more pressure.
“But I felt really comfortable in Chicago. If you can feel comfortable there, you can feel comfortable anywhere. So I’m really excited about the opportunity tomorrow.”
For the second time this postseason, Astros manager A.J. Hinch parlayed a tandem outing to positive results, riding right-handers Lance McCullers and Brad Peacock to victory in Game 3 after doing the same with Charlie Morton and McCullers in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. Morton gets his first World Series start on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
With Peacock, who made 21 starts for the Astros during the regular season, covering the final 3 2/3 innings with hitless relief, Hinch was able to avoid dipping into his beleaguered corps of full-time relievers. The possibility exists for Hinch to execute the same gambit Saturday, with right-hander Collin McHugh poised to finish what the Astros hope is a strong start by Morton.
Despite the obvious call to allow Peacock to continue his stellar pitching, Hinch was asked if his shaky bullpen, and a presumed lack of confidence in it, played a role in his decision. With the Astros one win from taking a stranglehold on the series, he was adamant that his bullpen arms are capable of playing a role in a Game 4 triumph.
“It’s about getting 27 outs,” Hinch said. “At this point, if they didn’t see Peacock pitching well, then they should watch the game, too. I love our bullpen, and our bullpen is going to get outs, but this is a race to 27 outs with a lead. When a guy is doing his job, there’s only so much explanation I need to give.”
Column: There’s so much to like about the Houston Astros
October 28, 2017
HOUSTON (AP) There’s so much to like about the Houston Astros.
We’re not talking about how they’ve buoyed the spirits of a hurricane-ravaged city, though that certainly adds to the appeal now that they’re just two wins away from their first World Series championship.
And we’re certainly not overlooking the racist nonsense from first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who pulled on the corners of his eyes after homering against Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish during Houston’s 5-3 victory Friday night.
But this is about a team that not so long ago endured three straight 100-loss seasons, the result of its very conscious decision to strip down to nothing at the big league level, take a lot of lumps, and stay true to a painful but necessary course to rebuild the franchise totally from scratch.
If they ever make a movie about this team, it should be called ”All The Right Moves (Mostly), Part II.”
They built around an undersized second baseman, Jose Altuve, who’ll likely be the AL’s Most Valuable Player. They stuck with once-struggling sinkerballer Dallas Keuchel, who won the Cy Young Award two years ago and went 14-5 this season. They drafted shortstop Carlos Correa and third baseman Alex Bregman, who now comprise a dynamic left side of the infield. They drafted Lance McCullers Jr. and traded for Brad Peacock, who got the win and the save in Game 3. They plucked Gurriel out of Cuba, signed outfielder Josh Reddick, traded for designated hitter Evan Gattis, and picked up veteran catcher Brian McCann for peanuts coming into this season.
Then, just before the deadline for postseason eligibility, Houston acquired ace pitcher Justin Verlander to bolster its October hopes.
How’s that working out?
Verlander was 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in his last five starts of the regular season, and he’s won four more games in the postseason .
”I’m pretty proud of these guys,” said Peacock, who pitched 3 2-3 hitless innings for the save. ”It’s a special team, a special lineup, a special group of guys. I’m just glad to be part of it.”
It wasn’t a special team back in 2012, when I sat down with Jeff Luhnow in his office at the Astros’ then-spring training stadium in Kissimmee, Florida, not long after he was hired as general manager.
Disney World was right up the road, but it sounded as though Luhnow was selling an even bigger fantasy .
The Astros were coming off a 106-loss season.
Things would get even worse before they got better.
Luhnow knew this.
He also knew it was the best way forward.
”We want to shake the system, shock the system, to change that mentality,” Luhnow told me that day. ”If we change that mentality, the results will eventually track your mentality. We have to figure out a way, and we’re already doing it, to make everybody expect that we’re gonna win every game, we’re gonna win every series. Eventually, when you start to do that, it builds on itself.”
With a roster that looked more like an expansion team, the Astros went 55-107 in Luhnow’s first season.
In 2013, they fell to 51-111 – the worst record in franchise history.
Now, here they are, just four years later, leading the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers two games to one in the World Series.
What makes this even more appealing is the Dodgers have baseball’s biggest payroll, well past the $200 million mark, while the Astros went into the season ranked 19th at a relatively paltry $122 million.
No GM gets `em all right.
Certainly, Luhnow has a few clunkers he’d like to have back.
Heading into the 2014 season, Luhnow decided to cut outfielder J.D. Martinez, who started out as one of the cornerstones of the rebuilding effort but didn’t develop as the Astros were expecting. He wound up in Detroit, where he hit 38 homers with 102 RBIs and made the All-Star Game in 2015. This season, splitting time between with the Tigers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, he hit 45 homers with 104 RBIs in just 119 games.
Houston also had a chance to draft Kris Bryant with the top overall pick in 2013. Luhnow used that selection on pitcher Mark Appel, who never made it to the big leagues and is no longer with the Astros. Bryant was taken No. 2 by the Chicago Cubs and led their run to a World Series championship last season.
But the Astros certainly have more hits than misses.
Again, I’m reminded of that conversation with Luhnow in the early days of what became a remarkable rebuilding job.
He brought up the 1991 Astros, a team that finished 65-97 but laid a foundation for the future with burgeoning young stars such as Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Luis Gonzalez and Curt Schilling.
”A lot of those players maybe weren’t well known at that point, but they became well known,” Luhnow said. ”It’s fun to watch guys go from virtually unknown to household names. We have those same kind of players in our organization, like Jose Altuve. He’s a great story. He’ll always be the underdog because of his size. But if he has success this year, people will be saying they know who plays second base for the Houston Astros as opposed to, `Who are those guys?”’
Yep, we know who they are now.
A team that’s two wins away from a much-deserved championship.
[B]Los Angeles @ Houston[/B]
Astros are 7-0 at home in playoffs, outscoring opponents 36-10. Dodgers are 8-3 in the playoffs, 3-2 on the road. Since 1903, the Game 3 winner is 72-40 in that World Series.
Wood is 2-3, 4.28 in his last six starts; over is 5-2 in his last seven outings. Dodgers lost three of his last four road starts. Wood didn’t pitch against Houston this year; he is 0-1, 5.25 in five career playoff games (one start).
Morton pitched five great innings in Game 7 of the last series; he is 4-1, 3.73 in his last six starts. Under is 5-1 in his last six starts. Morton didn’t pitch against the Dodgers this season; he is 1-2, 5.30 in four career playoff starts.
[B]LA DODGERS @ HOUSTON[/B]
LA Dodgers is 14-4 SU in its last 18 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of LA Dodgers’s last 8 games when playing on the road against Houston
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against LA Dodgers
Saturday, October 28[/B]
[B]LA DODGERS (112 – 61) at HOUSTON (110 – 66) – 8:05 PM [/B]
ALEX WOOD (L) vs. CHARLIE MORTON (R)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.
Head-to-Head Series History
HOUSTON is 2-1 (+1.0 Units) against LA DODGERS this season
1 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=+0.0 Units)
ALEX WOOD vs. HOUSTON since 1997
WOOD is 1-0 when starting against HOUSTON with an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.571.
His team’s record is 1-0 (+1.0 units) in these starts. The OVER is 0-1. (-1.0 units)
CHARLIE MORTON vs. LA DODGERS since 1997
MORTON is 0-1 when starting against LA DODGERS with an ERA of 6.55 and a WHIP of 1.909.
His team’s record is 1-1 (+0.1 units) in these starts. The OVER is 1-1. (+0.0 units)
[SIZE=4][COLOR=”#A52A2A”][B]World Series Game 4 betting preview and odds: Dodgers at Astros[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]
[B]Los Angeles Dodgers at Houston Astros (-130, 8)[/B]
[I]Astros lead the series 2-1[/I]
The Houston Astros are two wins away from winning the first World Series title in franchise history and they look to take another step when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers in Saturday’s Game 4. Houston has won the past two games to take a 2-1 lead in the series and emerged victorious in Friday’s game 5-3 when it received 3 2/3 innings of hitless relief from Brad Peacock.
Yuli Gurriel’s homer to open a four-run Astros’ second inning was the lone blast on Friday after the teams combined for a record eight homers in Wednesday’s epic Game 2. Houston is 7-0 at home in the postseason and thriving in front of a raucous atmosphere so the pressure is squarely on the Dodgers to win at least one game and get the series back to Los Angeles. “Obviously this crowd is into it, very educated, very enthusiastic,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters after Game 3. “They’ve got some confidence over there, that team. … But honestly, I don’t think we see it as pressure, just go out and play a good clean game.” National League Championship Series co-MVPs Justin Turner (2-for-13, one homer) and Chris Taylor (1-for-9, one homer) are struggling for Los Angeles, while Astros star Jose Altuve (3-for-15, one homer) is also having a quiet series.
TV:[/B] 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX
LINE HISTORY:[/B] The Astros opened Game 4 as -115 home chalk and money coming in on the home team has pushed that line up as high as -132 where it currently sits. The total hit the betting board at 8 and has yet to move off the opening number.
PITCHING MATCHUP:[/B] Dodgers LH Alex Wood (0-1, 5.79 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (1-1, 6.23)
Wood is making just his second start of the postseason as he gave up three runs (all on solo homers) and four hits while striking out seven over 4 2/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. The 26-year-old is pitching for just the second time in 31 days and he is aware Roberts has been quick to pull starting pitchers this postseason. “We don’t have the longest leash,” Wood told reporters at his Friday press conference, “so if anything, it kind of holds us to a higher standard, like you need to go out and shut it down and put up zeroes, and not give up any runs and then you can stay in longer.”
Morton hasn’t pitched more than five innings in any of his three postseason starts while striking out 14 in 13 innings. The Astros took a flyer on the 33-year-old after he pitched in just four games for Philadelphia last season and the investment paid off as Morton won a career-high 14 games and now gets to make his first World Series start. “It’s an honor,” Morton said at his Friday press conference. “Most people don’t get a chance to play in the postseason, let alone in a Championship Series or the World Series. I’m going to try to enjoy it, but at the same time I’ve got a job to do.”
* Astros are 4-1 in their last 5 playoff games.
* Under is 7-1 in Woods last 8 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 5-1 in Mortons last 6 starts overall.
* Under is 5-1-1 in the last 7 meetings.
* Dodgers are 0-5 in the last 5 meetings in Houston.
CONSENSUS:[/B] The public is siding with the home chalk Chiefs at a rate of 55 percent and the Over is picking up 65 percent of the totals wagers. View full consensus data here.
* Houston RF Josh Reddick is 4-for-11 with a walk and three runs scored in the World Series after going 1-for-25 in the American League Championship Series.
* Los Angeles 1B Cody Bellinger fanned in all four at-bats on Friday and is hitless in 11 at-bats (seven strikeouts) in the series.
Six most popular picks for Week 8 in the Westgate Super Contest:
6) Dallas Cowboys, -2 (745)
5) Los Angeles Chargers, +7 (746)
4) Atlanta Falcons, -4.5 (766)
3) Seattle Seahawks, -5.5 (797)
2) New Orleans Saints, -9 (801)
1) Carolina Panthers, -2 (745)
Season record of top 6 picks: 15-27
[SIZE=”4″][COLOR=”#A52A2A”][B]Armadillo: Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……. [/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]
13) Ohio State 39, Penn State 38— Nittany Lions led 35-20 with 12:00 left, 38-27 with 5:00 left, but Buckeyes drove 76-58 yards on their last two drives to win the game. Barrett was 33-39/328 with four TD passes for Ohio State— he was 13-13 with three TD’s in the 4th quarter.
12) Georgia 42, Florida 7— Further proof the world is going crazy: Gators went 19-8 the last two years; they’re 3-4 this year and now they want to fire the coach? Why? One bad year and they show you the door?
Our society is getting so incredibly soft now; people can’t deal with their teams losing, which may be part of why the NFL’s popularity slips in areas during a bad year. Fewer people stick with their teams thru thick and thin. We’re becoming a nation of front-runners.
“We’re with you win or tie, and we’re not that crazy about tie.”
11) Iowa State 14, TCU 7— Cyclones have had one winning season since 2006; the last seven years, Iowa State was 28-58— they’re 6-2 now, after their starting QB left the team for unstated “medical” reasons. Their starting QB the last two years is now their starting middle linebacker. Your 2017 National Coach of the Year? Iowa State’s Matt Campbell.
10) Boston College 35, Florida State 3— Seminoles are 2-5 and appear to have packed it in for the season. Must be fun to be a Miami Hurricanes fan right now, with Gators/Seminoles having such dreadful seasons.
9) Wake Forest 42, Louisville 32— Demon Deacons scored 40+ in an ACC game for first time since 2010. QB John Wolford was 28-34/461 passing against a struggling Louisville defense.
8) Arkansas 38, Ole Miss 37— Razorbacks trailed 31-7 with 3:00 left in first half. Two bad teams playing an exciting game. Arkansas scored a defensive TD with 6:01 left when they were down 35-27, not the best Ole Miss moment of the day.
7) Harvard 25, Dartmouth 22— When Harvard recovered a fumbled punt, a Dartmouth assistant coach punched the window of the press box so hard that he shattered it— security removed him from the stadium.
Dartmouth led 14-0 when they fumbled the punt, which turned out to be a costly play.
6) MLB suspended Yuli Gurriel for the first five games of 2018 for his actions during Game 2 of the World Series, instead of for the rest of the World Series. Some people complained that some immediate action should’ve been taken, because in today’s world, somebody is always complaining about something. Oy
Gurriel loses $382,716 with the 5-game suspension, which isn’t nothing; if he gets fined for his 2017 salary instead (doubtful) it would’ve been $444,444.44. His base salary for next year is $2M less than this year.
5) Upsets of the Week:
UNLV (+21) 26, Fresno State 16
Florida International (+16) 41, Marshall 30
Houston (+10.5) 28, South Florida 24
Air Force (+10) 45, Colorado State 28
Texas State (+8) 27, Coastal Carolina 7
Iowa State (+6.5) 14, TCU 7
4) Northwestern 39, Michigan State 31 (OT)— Game was 17-all after regulation; Wildcats win in OT for second week in row, are now 5-3, and on their way to being pummeled by a better team in some obscure bowl game that I’ll watch because I’m an idiot.
Northwestern is 3-10 all-time in bowl games, but they have won two of their last three bowls.
3) Kentucky 29, Tennessee 26— Vols caught a Hail Mary on last play of the game, but the guy got tackled on the 3-yard line— this is Wildcats 2nd win in their last 33 games with Tennessee, the other win coming in 2011. It was also the 2nd time in last 21 meetings that Kentucky was the favorite— Vols covered the 5-point spread.
2) Nebraska 25, Purdue 24— Cornhuskers drove 70 yards in 8 plays in 1:08, scoring winning TD on a 13-yard pass with 0:14 left. Purdue led 25-12 with 12:00 left in the game.
1) USC 48, Arizona State 17– Trojans bounce back from last week’s loss at Notre Dame with a big conference win here. USC plays Arizona next week, and can pretty much clinch the Pac-12 South then.
Sunday, October 29[/B]
[B]LA DODGERS (113 – 61) at HOUSTON (110 – 67) – 8:15 PM [/B]
CLAYTON KERSHAW (L) vs. DALLAS KEUCHEL (L)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.
Head-to-Head Series History
LA DODGERS is 2-2 (+0.0 Units) against HOUSTON this season
1 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=+0.0 Units)
CLAYTON KERSHAW vs. HOUSTON since 1997
KERSHAW is 4-2 when starting against HOUSTON with an ERA of 2.25 and a WHIP of 0.950.
His team’s record is 5-4 (-1.4 units) in these starts. The OVER is 4-5. (-1.2 units)
DALLAS KEUCHEL vs. LA DODGERS since 1997
KEUCHEL is 0-1 when starting against LA DODGERS with an ERA of 4.05 and a WHIP of 1.049.
His team’s record is 0-1 (-1.0 units) in these starts. The UNDER is 1-0. (+1.0 units)
Sunday, October 29[/B]
[B]Los Angeles @ Houston[/B]
Astros are 7-1 at home in playoffs, outscoring opponents 37-16. Dodgers are 9-3 in the playoffs, 4-2 on the road. Since 1903, the Game 3 winner is 72-40 in that World Series.
Kershaw is 3-0, 2.96 in his last four starts; under is 10-4 in his last 14 starts. Dodgers are 12-2 in his road starts this year. Kershaw allowed one run in seven IP in Game 1 of this series- he is 7-7, 4.21 in 22 career playoff games (18 starts).
Keuchel is 0-2, 5.56 in his last two starts; his last three starts stayed under. Houston is 8-5 in his home starts this season. Keuchel allowed three runs in 6.2 IP in Game 1 of this series- he is 4-2, 2.84 in seven career playoff games (6 starts).
[B]LA DODGERS @ HOUSTON[/B]
LA Dodgers is 15-4 SU in its last 19 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of LA Dodgers’s last 8 games when playing on the road against Houston
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against LA Dodgers
Houston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing LA Dodgers
— World Series has been tied 2-2 42 times; the Game 5 winner won 28 of those 42 World Series.
— Knicks 116, Denver 110— Porzingis had 38, Knicks are fun to watch. I wonder why?
— Celtics 108, Spurs 94— San Antonio lost its last three games.
— Warriors 141, Clippers 113— Game was 74-57 at half; Clippers had been #1 in defense.
— Chiefs 29, Broncos 19— Broncos are now 0-3 on the road; their QB’s are substandard.
— Happy birthday to former LSU hoop coach Dale Brown, who turns 82 today.
Armadillo: Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……
13) New England traded backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers last night for a 2nd-round pick next April, but the 49ers’ 2nd-round pick figures to be the 33rd pick, pretty much a first round pick. Patriots don’t have a backup QB on their roster right now; would they be the team that signs Colin Kaepernick?
12) Following Twitter during the baseball game Sunday night was funny; people are so fickle, they overreact quickly and in a 13-12, 10-inning game, there is a lot to comment on.
11) One thing the great baseball game obscured was a pretty good football game in Detroit; Lions were putrid in red zone, scoring 9 points on five drives. Steelers’ JoJo Schuster-Smith caught a 97-yard touchdown pass, right after the Lions were stuffed on a goal-line stand by Pittsburgh.
10) Astros’ payroll this year is $124,343,900, broken down this way:
— Justin Verlander makes $28M a year, but he was only in Houston for a month, so his money isn’t included in the $124M figure you see up above.
— Other four starting pitchers made a combined $17,239,500 this season.
— Catcher Brian McCann makes $17M, DH Carlos Beltran makes $16M
— Yuli Gurriel, Josh Reddick made a combined $27.4M this season.
— Altuve/Springer/Correa/Bregman earned a combined $9.661,900 this season.
At some point, Astros have to shed some of these hitters and add pitching, or else we’re in for an endless stream of 13-12 playoff games. Gurriel/Reddick’s contracts seem excessive, Altuve is going to break the bank when he hits free agency (his agent is Scott Boras)
Seems logical that out of Correa/Springer/Bregman, two of them will wind up elsewhere.
Verlander is on the books for 2018 and 2019, both at $28M a season.
9) Detroit Lions gained 482 yards Sunday night but didn’t score a TD; only 1994 Bengals (496 yards vs Seattle) and ’86 49ers (501 yards vs Washington) gained more yards without scoring a touchdown.
8) Washington Nationals named Dave Martinez manager; he has been Joe Maddon’s right-hand man for several years……….Phillies named Gabe Kapler skipper- both guys are first-time major leaguer managers.
7) ESPN’s Mike Breen also does play-by-play for the Knicks on MSG Network; he is the best at what he does because he is fair and smart.
Monday night, Knicks’ Doug McDermott took a 3-pointer in transition with 0:06.9 left in first quarter; he made it, but Denver came down an hit a 3-pointer of their own at the buzzer to end the quarter. Breen simply said: “That is why coaches like to hold the ball to take the last shot of a quarter, so the other team can’t score.”
6) Boston Celtics got an $8.4M salary cap exemption because of Gordon Hayward’s injury; they have to use it by March 10.
5) College basketball starts next week; Missouri Valley Conference is going downhill, with both Creighton/Wichita State jumping ship in recent years. Missouri State/Illinois State are expected to be the Valley’s frontrunners this winter.
4) Houston Texans traded disgruntled LT Duane Brown to Seattle, for CB Jerome Lane, a 5th round pick next year and a 2nd round draft pick in 2019.
3) You wonder why baseball teams coddle pitchers? Because they only last so long— look at the career of Fernando Valenzuela— from age 19-25, Valenzuela was 99-68, with an ERA of 2.94- he threw 257+ innings five years in a row. He was box office gold, for sure.
From age 26-36, he went 74-85, with an ERA of 4.55, bouncing around between five teams. You only have so many pitches in your arm. Valenzuela threw 149 pitches in a playoff game when he was 20. If that happened today (it wouldn’t), heads would roll.
2) Ticket brokers apparently own 15,000 tickets to both Games 6-7 of the World Series; should Houston win Game 6, those brokers would lose out of a potential $20M in profits with no Game 7 to benefit from.
1) RIP Lewis D’Antoni, 103, who passed away this weekend; the father of Rockets coach Mike and Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni, Lewis D’Antoni was a coach himself— I saw him interviewed in the stands at a Marshall game a couple years ago, when he was 101. Lot of energy even then; he lived a full life. RIP, sir.
[B]HOUSTON (111 – 67) at LA DODGERS (113 – 62) – 8:15 PM [/B]
JUSTIN VERLANDER (R) vs. RICH HILL (L)
Top Trends for this game.
HOUSTON is 53-53 (-17.1 Units) against the money line against left-handed starters over the last 2 seasons.
VERLANDER is 64-77 (-25.1 Units) against the money line in road games in night games since 1997. (Team’s Record)
HOUSTON is 111-67 (+15.8 Units) against the money line in all games this season.
HOUSTON is 28-18 (+8.8 Units) against the money line on the road when the money line is +125 to -125 this season.
HOUSTON is 55-33 (+13.0 Units) against the money line in road games this season.
HOUSTON is 45-20 (+21.2 Units) against the money line in an inter-league game over the last 3 seasons.
HOUSTON is 39-23 (+10.2 Units) against the money line in road games in night games this season.
HOUSTON is 42-27 (+10.1 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
VERLANDER is 35-12 (+19.1 Units) against the money line in an inter-league game since 1997. (Team’s Record)
VERLANDER is 13-5 (+8.3 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season. (Team’s Record)
LA DODGERS are 106-125 (-35.7 Units) against the money line in an inter-league game since 1997.
LA DODGERS are 149-108 (-13.6 Units) against the money line in night games over the last 2 seasons.
LA DODGERS are 33-27 (-14.9 Units) against the money line after a loss this season.
Head-to-Head Series History
HOUSTON is 3-2 (+1.1 Units) against LA DODGERS this season
2 of 3 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=+1.0 Units)
JUSTIN VERLANDER vs. LA DODGERS since 1997
VERLANDER is 2-0 when starting against LA DODGERS with an ERA of 4.05 and a WHIP of 0.700.
His team’s record is 3-0 (+3.3 units) in these starts. The OVER is 2-1. (+1.0 units)
RICH HILL vs. HOUSTON since 1997
HILL is 2-1 when starting against HOUSTON with an ERA of 2.85 and a WHIP of 1.098.
His team’s record is 3-4 (-2.5 units) in these starts. The UNDER is 5-2. (+2.6 units)
Tuesday, October 31[/B]
[B]Houston @ Los Angeles[/B]
Astros are 2-5 on road in playoffs, outscored by opponents 42-21. Under is 7-5-1 in their last 13 games. Dodgers are 9-4 in the playoffs, 5-2 at home. Since 1903, the Game 5 winner when series was tied 2-2 is 28-14 in that World Series.
Verlander is 8-0, 1.45 in one starts for the Astros; he also won a game in relief. Four of his last five starts went over the total. Houston is 4-0 in his road starts. He is 1-0, 2.57 in two starts against the Dodgers this season and is 11-5 with a 3.28 RA in 21 career playoff games (20 starts).
Hill is 3-2, 2.14 in his last eight starts, 0-0, 2.77 in three playoff starts this month (13 IP total in 3 games). Three of his last four starts went over. Dodgers are 10-7 in his home starts; he is 1-2, 3.72 in seven career playoff starts, 0-0, 2.25 in one starts against the Astros this season.
[B]HOUSTON @ LA DODGERS[/B]
Houston is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games
Houston is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games
LA Dodgers is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games at home
LA Dodgers is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games when playing at home against Houston
[SIZE=4][COLOR=”#A52A2A”][B]World Series Game 6 betting preview and odds: Astros at Dodgers[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]
[I]Justin Verlander received a no-decision in Game 2 and has never won a World Series game, going 0-3 with a 6.43 in four career starts with the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros.[/I]
[B]Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers (-115, 7.5)[/B]
[I]Astros lead series 3-2[/I]
Justin Verlander was acquired to bolster Houston’s starting pitching for a postseason run and the veteran right-hander has a chance to pitch the Astros to their first World Series title when he faces the host Los Angeles Dodgers in Tuesday’s Game 6. Verlander received a no-decision in Game 2 and has never won a World Series game, going 0-3 with a 6.43 in four career starts with the Detroit Tigers and Houston.
The 34-year-old Verlander has more than does his job since joining the Astros – he is 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 10 total appearances (nine starts) – but fully understands one more big outing is needed. “These games are what it’s all about,” Verlander told reporters Monday. “These are the moments that you want to be a part of as a baseball player. It’s everything you could ask for.” Houston is in position to clinch after Sunday’s 13-12, 10-inning victory, the second wild game of a World Series featuring a record 22 homers. “Obviously, we want to be the last team standing on the field, win the last game of the season, that’s the goal,” Los Angeles third baseman Justin Turner said at a press conference. “But you have literally the two best teams in baseball are going at it. It’s the clash of the titans right now, and I don’t think there’s a single moment of this season that will be unforgettable.”
TV:[/B] 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX
LINE HISTORY:[/B] The moneyline for this critical Game 6 opened with the Dodgers as faily large home favorites at -125. Since opening last night the betting public has been on Verlander and the Astros, forcing books to drop the Dodgers down to the current number of -115. The total hit the betting boards at 7.5 and has yet to move.
It should be another near perfect evening in Los Angeles.
PITCHING MATCHUP:[/B] Astros RH Justin Verlander (4-0, 2.05 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Rich Hill (0-0, 2.77)
Verlander gave up just two hits in his Game 2 outing at Dodger Stadium but both were homers (to Joc Pederson and Corey Seager) as he gave up three runs in six innings. Not having a World Series win might be the lone thing missing from a stellar career resume that includes 11 career postseason victories. “As soon as the postseason starts, you’re living or dying on every single pitch, and your whole team is living or dying on every single pitch,” Verlander said. “It changes everything.”
Hill was the recipient of a quick hook from manager Dave Roberts despite giving up one run and three hits and striking out seven in four innings in Game 2. Roberts hinted that Hill will have a longer leash in Game 6 and the 37-year-old proclaims himself ready for the task. “It’s something that all of us have been preparing our entire careers for,” Hill told reporters. “Going out there in Game 6 and having the ability to be in that position, and go out there and leave everything on the field, is just an amazing thought.”
UMPIRE REPORT: Dan Iassogna[/B]
Dan Iassogna gets the home plate assignment Tuesday night for Game 6. During the 2017 season, home teams are an astronomical 21-7 (including one playoff game) which equates to a home winning percentage of 75 percent. In games in which the home team is -101 to -120 they went a perfect 6-0 with Iassogna calling balls and strikes.
* Astros are 9-0 in Verlander’s nine starts since joining the team.
* Dodgers are 5-1 in their last 6 playoff home games.
* Dodgers are 5-1 in Hill’s last 6 starts.
* Over is 6-1 in Astro’s last 7 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
* Astros are 2-7 in the last 9 meetings in Los Angeles.
CONSENSUS:[/B] The public is siding with the red-hot Verlander in Game 6, with 51 percent of wagers on the Astros. With another hot pitcher on the mound, bettors like the Under here with 51 percent of the totals wagers picking below the posted number.
WALK OFF NOTES:[/B]
* Dodgers’ 1B Cody Bellinger is on a 4-for-7 roll with one homer, one triple and two doubles after opening the World Series with 13 hitless at-bats. Astros’ OF George Springer reached base five times (three walks, one single, one homer) in Game 5 and has gone deep three times in the series.
World Series Game 6 (FOX, 8:05 p.m. ET)
Astros lead series 3-2
There is no question that this 2017 World Series will go down as one of the best matchups ever regardless of who ends up winning it all as the drama in every game so far has been through the roof. Many thought the Astros and Dodgers couldn’t be able to top the wild Game 2 they had with five extra innings HR’s, but Game 5 definitely topped it with all the twists and turns it had.
Houston’s 13-12 victory will go down as one of the best World Series games ever for those who love to see offensive baseball – whether the balls are juiced or not – and now Houston gets a chance to close things out in Game 6 with their prized stud 11th hour acquisition Justin Verlander on the hill.
Will Houston win the franchise’s first ever championship or will these L.A Dodgers force a Game 7?
Sportsbetting.ag Odds: Houston (+105), L.A Dodgers (-115); Total set at 8
After suffering the loss in a historic Game 5, Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig made it known to reporters that he was guaranteeing there would be a Game 7 in this series. Whether or not that ends up being the case, you’ve got to admire Puig’s brash confidence minutes after losing a wild Game 5, but with Verlander on the hill it will be tough.
With how dominant Justin Verlander has been in the postseason, he and the Astros definitely deserve to be laying a few cents here, but the Dodgers as a small home favorite in the ultimate “must win” spot will surely get support.
Yet, I’m not looking to make a play on the ML for Game 6 as there is no question it could go either way. If you have series futures bets pending from any other point in this series, stepping out and hedging your wagers is an option depending on who you’ve got already in your pocket. Personally, I liked and took Houston before the World Series began and while the hedging is available too me here, I’m going to let it ride for at least Game 6 and reassess should Puig’s claim come true and we get a Game 7.
What I am looking to make a play on for Game 6 is on the total. The last thing everyone remembers about this series is how many HR balls we had in Game 5 – and the entire series quite frankly – and with both bullpens overexposed and taxed, expecting a lot of runs will be a common refrain here.
However, with Verlander and Rich Hill – who many debated was pulled way too early in Game 2 – on the hill, and both bullpens needing some rest, I expect both of these starters to live up to their managers wishes and pitch deep into the game. Nothing more needs to be said about how good Verlander has been, but after Dodgers manager Dave Roberts took some heat for pulling Hill early in Game 2 to try and let his bullpen bring the game home, I don’t think Roberts will make the same mistake again here, especially after basically his entire bullpen was used on Sunday night.
Secondly, no matter who was going to be on the rubber for this one, I’d have a tough time believing both offenses will shoot off as many fireworks as they did in Game 5. For one, it’s a potential elimination game with a world championship on the line, and the series shifts back to pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium with last week’s heat wave now moved on.
The pressure of the moment, the likelihood of some major offensive regression after Game 5, and the fact that we’ve got pitchers hitting in the order again all are boons to an ‘under’ play here.
Houston is on a 0-3-1 O/U run after scoring 5+ runs in their last outing and 8-19-3 O/U when facing a team that put up 5+ in their previous game. L.A has a 0-3-2 O/U run going in these playoffs following a day off and 1-4-1 O/U after scoring 5+ runs themselves last time out.
With umpire Dan Iassongna calling balls and strikes for this critical game,and his 1-3 O/U record in interleague affairs this year, and his 80-102-10 O/U mark behind the dish over the past five years, look for this game to be another instant classic for the 2017 World Series with the pitchers taking center stage and mowing down these flaming hot offenses with relative ease.
Dodgers rally past Astros, force Game 7
October 31, 2017
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Latest on Game 6 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers (all times local):
Chris Taylor, Corey Seager and the Los Angeles Dodgers sent this twist-and-turn World Series to Game 7, rallying against Justin Verlander to beat the Houston Astros 3-1 Tuesday night.
A comeback win in Game 6 on Halloween night gave fans at Dodger Stadium and beyond a true treat: A year after the Cubs beat Cleveland in a Game 7 thriller, the baseball season is going the distance.
Yu Darvish will start for Los Angeles. Astros manager A.J. Hinch didn’t announce a starter before Game 6, wanting to see how things went. It will be Charlie Morton or Lance McCullers Jr., most likely.
Verlander dominated for five innings, but the Dodgers got him in the sixth. Chris Taylor hit a tying double and Corey Seager had a sacrifice fly for a 2-1 lead.
Joc Pederson hit his third Series homer in the seventh for insurance and took an animated trot around the bases. George Springer hit his fourth Series for Houston.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are three outs away from beating Justin Verlander and forcing a decisive seventh game in the World Series.
Los Angeles is taking a 3-1 lead into the ninth inning after Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went against his pregame instinct and brought in closer Kenley Jansen in the eighth inning.
The Dodgers’ usually dominant closer had struggled in similar situations in Game 2 and again in Game 5. Roberts claimed that he hoped to limit Jansen to three outs in this game.
But Jansen mowed down the Astros’ 4-5-6 hitters with seven pitches in the eighth, pushing the Dodgers three outs closer to the 41st Game 7 in World Series history.
Charlie Culberson got a leadoff single in the eighth for Los Angeles to extend his improbable postseason run after spending most of the season in the minors, but Francisco Liriano struck out Cody Bellinger to strand two Dodgers.
Joc Pederson hit a solo homer in the seventh, extending the Dodgers’ lead to 3-1.
He connected on a 1-2 pitch from Joe Musgrove that landed in the left-field pavilion.
Kenta Maeda escaped a jam against the Astros in the top of the inning.
Tony Watson gave up a leadoff walk to Josh Reddick. Maeda came on and induced a fielder’s choice grounder by pinch-hitter Evan Gattis.
George Springer singled when the ball eluded shortstop Corey Seager’s diving backhand stab, putting runners on first and second. Alex Bregman flied out to center before Maeda got Jose Altuve on a groundout to third to end the threat.
Chris Taylor looped an RBI double to key a two-run rally against Justin Verlander in the sixth inning that’s put the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of the Houston Astros 2-1.
Verlander was in complete control until the sudden burst. The Astros ace had allowed just one single and struck out eight in five innings before Los Angeles broke through.
Austin Barnes singled to open the sixth, Chase Utley was hit by a pitch, Taylor went the opposite way for his tying hit and Corey Seager delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Dodger Stadium was going wild, with fans hoping to extend this World Series to Game 7. Not everyone was screaming with every pitch – looming in the Dodgers bullpen was ace Clayton Kershaw, loosening up just in case.
The Houston Astros have chased Dodgers starter Rich Hill in the fifth inning, and Hill wasn’t happy about it.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts again used an early hook on a starter, pulling Hill with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. Hill had given up Brian McCann’s leadoff single and Marwin Gonzalez’s ensuing double, but then struck out Josh Reddick and Justin Verlander to get to the brink of escaping the jam.
Instead, Roberts ordered an intentional walk for George Springer and then came out to pull Hill, who appeared to turn his back on the manager. Hill then went to the dugout and furiously swatted cups off the Dodgers’ cooler, sending them flying.
But reliever Brandon Morrow, pitching for the sixth time in eight days, calmly ended the rally with a groundout from Alex Bregman. Morrow has appeared in all but one of the Dodgers’ 14 postseason games, and he was battered in Game 5 in Houston.
Verlander doesn’t appear to need much run support, however. He retired the Dodgers in order again in the fifth, giving him five innings of one-hit ball. Houston still leads 1-0.
Justin Verlander has seven strikeouts through four innings and the Astros lead the Dodgers 1-0 in Game 6.
The right-hander has retired eight consecutive batters since Yasiel Puig’s single in the second.
Verlander retired the Dodgers’ top three hitters in the fourth as a light drizzle fell. Corey Seager flied out to left before Verlander recorded back-to-back strikeouts of Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger.
Dodgers starter Rich Hill retired the side in the top of the inning.
George Springer has homered again, connecting for a solo drive that’s given the Houston Astros a 1-0 lead after three innings.
The shot was his fourth Springer Dinger of this Series. He went the opposite way with two outs in the third off Dodgers lefty Rich Hill.
Justin Verlander is looking sharp for the Astros. Showing off a mix of heat and hooks, he’s allowed a mere single and struck out five.
Dodgers fans have told Yuli Gurriel just what they think of him during Game 6 of the World Series.
Dodger Stadium ferociously booed the Houston first baseman during pregame introductions, and it got much louder during his first at-bat in the second inning. Dodgers starter Rich Hill even stepped off the rubber before his first pitch to Gurriel, allowing the booing to increase.
The choruses of boos only changed into a raucous cheer when Gurriel fouled out.
Dodgers fans clearly were disgusted by Gurriel’s behavior during Game 3 in Houston. While speaking with teammates, the Cuban made a blatantly racist gesture and used an offensive Spanish term to refer to Los Angeles starter Yu Darvish, who is Japanese.
Gurriel apologized in a statement afterward, but wasn’t suspended by MLB until 2018.
The Dodgers also got their first hit off Justin Verlander in the second inning when Yasiel Puig singled to center. The score stayed 0-0, but the Dodgers got Verlander to throw 23 pitches in the inning.
Game 6 of the World Series is scoreless after the first inning at Dodger Stadium, with fastballing Justin Verlander and curveballing Rich Hill in control.
It was 67 degrees for the first pitch, way down from the 103 heat for the opener last week. It was cloudy, too, with the San Gabriel Mountains far behind the center field wall completely covered.
The fans were loud from the start. There were a few Halloween costumes in the crowd, not a lot. Most people in the park are hoping to see the home team dress up as champions after Game 7.
The Dodgers brought out the star power before Game 6 of the World Series.
Throwing out the ceremonial first balls were longtime manager Tommy Lasorda and former ace Orel Hershiser. The 90-year-old Lasorda, a lefty who pitched for Brooklyn, underhanded his toss home. Lasorda was the skipper and Hershiser was the ace when the Dodgers won their last championship in 1988.
Waving big blue flags on top of the Dodgers’ dugout were Ashton Kutcher and wife Mila Kunis. On top of the Astros’ first base dugout were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Rob Lowe.
There has been a moment of silence at Dodger Stadium for victims of the attack in New York that killed at least eight and seriously injured 11.
The Houston Astros, Dodgers and the sellout crowd stood before Game 6 of the World Series.
A man in a rented pickup truck drove into pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial earlier in the day.
What a difference a week makes in the weather at the World Series.
The temperature for first pitch on Tuesday night was forecast to be 67 degrees. That’s 36 degrees cooler than last Tuesday when the mercury hit 103 for Game 1 in Los Angeles.
Skies were overcast and drizzle began falling about 1 1/2 hours before Game 6. Earlier in the day, light rain fell on Dodger Stadium and the grounds crew had the tarp covering the infield.
A day before playing for a championship, a few of the Houston Astros went to see a team of champions.
Catcher Brian McCann bought a luxury suite at the Staples Center and took some Astros to see Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. Curry scored 31 points to lead the Warriors to a 141-113 romp.
”These guys all create that chemistry among themselves. And I’ve seen more guys, that’s different, going out on the road, to dinners, to the games these guys play behind the scenes. So it doesn’t surprise me at all with what McCann has brought, specifically in those type of things,” manager A.J. Hinch said.
Yuli Gurriel wanted to apologize in person. Yu Darvish said it wasn’t necessary.
Major League Baseball suspended the Astros’ Gurriel last Saturday, a day after he made a racist gesture toward the Dodgers’ Darvish, a Japanese right-hander, during Game 3.
Darvish said before Game 6 on Tuesday that Gurriel contacted the Dodgers about meeting with him to apologize, but Darvish declined because he said he wasn’t that mad at Gurriel.
The pitcher says he found out about the Cuba-born Gurriel pulling on the corners of his eyes after homering off Darvish when a Dodgers employee informed him in the dugout last Friday. Darvish says initially he didn’t think it was going to be a big deal, but then he realized it was after the game. Gurriel also used a derogatory Spanish term in reference to Darvish.
Darvish says that he gets why baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t impose Gurriel’s suspension until the start of next season. But Darvish says he can’t really judge whether five games is too much or too little.
Darvish would start Wednesday if the Dodgers can force a seventh and deciding game.
Justin Turner is back at third base and hitting third in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting lineup for Game 6 of the World Series, while the Astros juggled the bottom of their lineup.
Turner served as designated hitter in Game 5 after taking a grounder off a knee during Game 4.
Center fielder Chris Taylor leads off Tuesday night for the Dodgers, followed by shortstop Corey Seager, Turner, first baseman Cody Bellinger, right fielder Yasiel Puig, left fielder Joc Pederson, second baseman Logan Forsythe and catcher Austin Barnes. Left-hander Rich Hill starts.
Pederson had been the DH in the first two games in Houston before being dropped in Game 5. Kike Hernandez and Charlie Culberson are dropped.
Center fielder George Springer tops the Astros’ order, followed by third baseman Alex Bregman, second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, catcher Brian McCann, left fielder Marwin Gonzalez and right fielder Josh Reddick. Right-hander Justin Verlander is on the mound. McCann moves from last to sixth in the lineup and Reddick drops from sixth to last. Evan Gattis, who DH’d in the last game, drops out.
The Astros won 13-12 in 10 innings Sunday night take a 3-2 Series lead.