Four ingredients to the Los Angeles Dodgers success in game six of the 2017 World Series against the Houston Astros.
Take Advantage of Home Field Advantage
Home crowd, fans cheering, and comforts of the City of Angels. Important, but necessary are the unfriendly hitter confines of Dodger Stadium. Rich Hill shines at home and is the game six starting pitcher for the Dodgers. Justin Verlander will counter—so Dodger hitters will have their hands full. During the regular season at Dodger Stadium, Hill had a 2.77 earned run average with 93 strikeouts in 78 innings pitched. In the League Championship Series and the World Series, Hill has a 1.80 (Championship Series) and 2.25 (World Series) earned run average in the two games he has started at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers Need to Score Early
The Dodgers will have the home crowd on their side, but momentum is everything in baseball. Take game two, the loss and bullpen usage led to the game three loss. Cause and effect. The Dodgers will need to bounce back from a game five extra inning loss. The Astros having a tired bullpen because of a less than four inning start from Dallas Keuchel in game five is a huge benefit to the Dodgers, so getting to Verlander early will be very important to the Dodgers success in game six.
Rich Hill Pitching At Least Five Scoreless Innings
Giving the bullpen rest in game six will give Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts options in game seven (should the Dodgers win game six). Rich Hill giving the Dodgers five+ innings will make it so the bullpen is well rested (after a day off Monday) and ready to close in on the franchise’s first World Series Championship since 1988.
However, as Dave Roberts has said and demonstrated this postseason, you do not have the long view in the playoffs because you are playing to win now. Watch for Roberts to have a quick hook if Hill struggles with a rested bullpen ready to hit its stride. On the other hand, Roberts might be wise to let Hill weather an early storm because his bullpen needs the rest after sunday’s 10-inning game.
Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen Pitching Like All-Stars
As much as the Dodgers bullpen was their Achilles heel in the 2016 League Championship loss to the Chicago Cubs, the Dodgers 2017 bullpen is their bread and butter. Before Sunday night’s game five loss (both pitchers being extremely tired) Morrow and Jansen have impressed all season long and have shown their strength in the playoffs: Morrow’s earned run average in the 2017 postseason, 1.46 in 12.1 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts and one walk; Jansen’s earned run average in the 2017 postseason, 1.50 in 12.0 innings pitched with 15 strikeouts and one walk.
The Dodgers need to play like the the 104 win team, not the 16 losses in 17 games team to have a shot at World Series glory in 2017. What are your predictions for Game 6 of the World Series? Let us know in the comments below!