Harry How/Getty Images
Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET
The early innings of Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night in Los Angeles saw both the Red Sox’s and Dodgers’ starters throwing effectively, creating the first pichers’ duel of this World Series.
Los Angeles’ Walker Buehler in particular has looked powerful, throwing dozens of pitches faster than 98 mph, coolly catching Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley stealing and allowing just two hits and no walks through six innings. Early pitch counts looked ugly for the 24-year-old, but with 93 so far, he’ll likely go into the seventh.
Boston’s Rick Porcello did give the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson something to swing at in the third inning, and the outfielder got it just over the right field wall for a 1-0 lead. It’s his fourth home run in his six career World Series starts.
Joc Pederson with his 4th home run in 6 career World Series starts.
Those 4 World Series HR are tied for 3rd-most in @Dodgers history.
The only players with more are Duke Snider (11) and Gil Hodges (5). pic.twitter.com/B7Qy5s9b5O
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 27, 2018
Pederson hit 25 home runs in the regular season, but was one of four left-handed power hitters who spent the early innings of Games 1 and 2 on the bench for Los Angeles, as manager Dave Roberts played the percentages against left-handed Boston starters.
Boston’s bullpen, which threw three lockdown innings to choke the life out of the Dodgers in Game 2, has gotten got through the sixth inning unscathed.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will have a couple of advantages in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night. To take the title from the Boston Red Sox, they’ll need to find a whole lot more.
The series shifts to pleasantly warm Los Angeles after two games in Boston’s chill — weather that Dodgers reliever Ryan Madson suggested was partly to blame for his poor performance in both games.
And they’ll face right-handed Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello, which means matchup-happy Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will insert the team’s top four home run hitters — back into the starting lineup after they started Games 1 and 2 in the dugout. Los Angeles member station KPCC noted that five of the Dodgers’ six losses in the postseason have come against left-handed starting pitchers.
16 of the last 17 teams – including 10 straight – went on to win the World Series after taking a 2-0 series lead.
The last team to blow a 2-0 series lead was the 1996 Braves against the Yankees. pic.twitter.com/s0Otl2CgwG
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 26, 2018
But the Dodgers also return to Los Angeles already down 2-0 in the series, a deficit that ESPN reports no team has recovered from since the New York Yankees came back against the Atlanta Braves in 1996.
And as WBUR’s Shira Springer noted to NPR’s Newscast, the Red Sox haven’t lost a single road game yet this postseason.
Sports analyst Mike Pesca tells Here & Now that Boston has dominated the strategy of the series:
“Their manager, Alex Cora, has made all the right choices … every thing, every move, every pitcher he brought in has worked.”
His move to start Friday’s game is to put designated hitter J.D. Martinez in left field, moving Andrew Benintendi to the bench. With the series moving to the National League’s home turf, no designated hitters will be used.
Game 3 starts at 8 p.m. ET, and will air on Fox.