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Dodgers Vs. Astros: What To Expect From Yu Darvish and Lance McCullers Jr.

Oct 17, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (21) is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after being relieved in the 7th inning against the Chicago Cubs during game three of the 2017 NLCS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers look to regroup, and bounce back, after a tough loss in Game 2 against the Houston Astros. The 2017 World Series is currently tied at 1-1, and the next three games will take place in Houston at Minute Maid Park.

Dave Roberts will turn to Yu Darvish tonight to start Game 3, and it’s a decision that he’s certainly comfortable with. Darvish has performed well during this years’ postseason, and has won both games that he started on the road. The Astros may feel like they’re used to seeing his face, but Darvish has been on a roll lately (2-0, 1.59 ERA, 14 strikeouts).

Minute Maid Park has been one of the most hostile environments for road teams during the postseason, but Darvish is very familiar with the setting, after spending the beginning of his career playing for the Texas Rangers. Darvish went 1-1 against the Astros this season, but he’s faired particularly well against them at Minute Maid Park. He’s picked up a win there this year, allowing just one run in seven innings of work. In his career, the ace is 4-1 in Houston with a 2.16 ERA.

Jose Altuve is the only Astros batter that has tallied more than one hit against Darvish, and Carlos Correa is the only one that hit a home run off of him (both in 2017). Also, Marwin Gonzalez spoiled his potential no-hitter in the bottom of the 9th during a 2013 game in Houston. George Springer, and Alex Bregman, have emerged during the postseason, so Darvish will need to find a way to use his famous 5-pitch arsenal against all these lethal right-handers.

Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr., also has his hands full tonight.

The Dodgers offense has down what it needed to do, in order to be successful during the first two games of the World Series. Despite losing that heartbreaker in Game 2, the batting order was able to create 2-run leads after the 6th innings of both games against Houston aces Dallas Kuechel and Justin Verlander. Both of those starters pitched well, but had a tough time against this Dodgers unit that relentlessly works the count against any pitcher they face.

McCullers Jr. is notorious for throwing a nasty array of knuckle-curve/curveballs, and threw 24 straight against the New York Yankees in his ALCS Game 7 relief appearance.

The 24 year old starter throws a lot of high heat, and incorporates a splash of the fastballs to keep batters honest. In 13 innings of work this postseason (one start and two relief appearances), McCullers Jr. has given up three runs on six hits. During the regular season at Minute Maid Park, he held batters to a .222 batting average in 50.1 innings pitched. He can be dangerous, but these Dodgers hitters have been one of the best hitting teams in the league because they’ve been able to work the count, and take advantage of pitching mistakes.

Both of these starters have waited their whole lives to take the mound in the World Series, and they’ll be tested against powerful batting orders, in an electrifying environment, during a must-win moment. We’ll see if Yu can do it, or if McCullers Jr. culminates a win tonight.

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Written by Kendall Lewis

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