The Rockies denied us all one final four-game day of 2018, so this three-game day will just have to do. Can the Cleveland show stave off cancellation by the impatient and overly talented Astros? Will the Dodgers mute the chop once and for all? Can Boston and New York finish their game in under four hours? Find out today, same... at bat time... same... at bat channel... no, no, that’s totally wrong. All three games are spread out across multiple channels at various times.
No lineups because I’m writing this the night before.
CLEVELAND vs. HOUSTON - GAME 3
Houston leads 2-0
First pitch 10:30am Pacific
Watch it on TBS
Mike Clevinger (13-8, 3.52 FIP) vs. Dallas Keuchel (12-11, 3.69 FIP)
If you hadn’t heard, Mike Clevinger’s nickname is Sunshine, in reference to the long surfer-haired quarterback from REMEMBER THE TITANS.
Anyway, let’s compare Dallas Keuchel’s age-25 season (2013) to 25-year old Andrew Suarez’s 2018:
Keuchel: 153.2 IP | 184 H | 20 HR | 52 BB | 123 K | 4.25 FIP | 3.0 BB/9 | 7.2 K/9 | 78 ERA+
Suarez: 160.1 IP | 163 H | 23 HR | 45 BB | 130 K | 4.30 FIP | 2.5 BB/9 | 7.3 K/9 | 86 ERA+
Keuchel is about three inches taller than Suarez, but Suarez throws harder overall than Keuchel. Dallas is a command guy who spots with this fastball to setup his changeup, sinker, and slider, and he has command of all his pitches practically at all times. Suarez has demonstrated that he will lose at least one of his pitches for a few innings in every start.
I’m not saying the Giants already have Dallas Keuchel on their roster, but if the new GM goes out and signs Dallas Keuchel in free agency, it had better be because the new GM has traded Andrew Suarez for a left fielder who can draw walks and hit doubles.
ATLANTA vs. LOS ANGELES - GAME 4
Los Angeles leads 2-1
First pitch: 1:30pm Pacific
Watch it on FS1
Rich Hill (11-5, 3.97 FIP) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (13-10, 3.37 FIP)
This is supposed to be a start on short rest for Foltynewicz, as he started game one of this series Thursday night in Los Angeles. But! You may remember that he last just two innings and threw 50 mostly poor pitches. It’s possible that pitching with a little less rest than usual will make him less susceptible to nerves — I notice I’m always a bit less stressed when I’m a bit more tired. Then again, I’m not a major league baseball player performing in front of a national television audience. Maybe Foltynewicz will be that stressful tired where he snaps at everybody and is quick to assume he’s been slighted. I get that way sometimes, too. Not only when I’m tired, though — often when I’m hungry, too.
Oh, but this series is about the Dodgers and the Braves and not me. Analysis? The Braves’ lineup was better all year against left-handed pitching, but Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw handled them very easily in games one and two. Is this a rule of three situation where the pattern must repeat or is this the rule of three situation where the third time subverts the setup? In this case, the setup is that the Dodgers’ lefties actually dominate a lineup that’s ordinarily strong against lefties.
If the Braves somehow force a game five, the Dodgers will probably still be fine, but even The Greatest Team Of All Time Built By the Smartest Front Office of All Time can be susceptible to bad luck in a single game.
NEW YORK vs. BOSTON - GAME 3
Series tied 1-1
First pitch: 4:40pm Pacific
Watch it on TBS
Nathan Eovaldi (6-7, 3.60 FIP) v. Luis Severino (19-8, 2.95 FIP)
Eovaldi v Severino was that famous Supreme Court case that decided whether or not former NBA coach Phil Jackson’s belief that Game 3 was the most important game of any series was true or total bunk.
Meanwhile, after missing all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery, Eovaldi pitched 50+ innings of slightly below league average ball (98 ERA+) with the Rays before being traded to the Red Sox, where he’s since pitched well above league average (132 ERA+) in a 50+ innings sample.
He’s a free agent after the World Series and turns 29 in February. He averages 97 mph with his fastball. He also throws a sinker, cutter, splitter, curve, and slider. I mention all this because he’ll be an interesting arm to consider. He’s not quite a Jeff Samardzija 2.0 in that he’s already had his big arm injury and he’d be two years younger if the Giants were to sign him to a deal. I’m not saying the Giants will sign him this winter, I’m just saying let’s see how he does against the Yankees lineup... in case the Giants sign him.