The starting lineups have been announced for Game 3 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park, where Houston is 6-0 this postseason. The Astros will look to join the 2008 champion Phillies as the only teams to start the postseason with seven straight home wins.With the series tied, 1-1,
The starting lineups have been announced for Game 3 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park, where Houston is 6-0 this postseason. The Astros will look to join the 2008 champion Phillies as the only teams to start the postseason with seven straight home wins.
With the series tied, 1-1, Friday's contest will be critical -- in the 58 previous such instances, the winner in Game 3 has gone on to win the title 37 times (nearly two-thirds). The Astros take a major edge within their home confines over the weekend, where they have outscored opponents by 24 runs (31-7) and compiled a collective 1.17 ERA. They also will get back designated hitter Evan Gattis.
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Friday offers the first righty-righty matchup among starters this World Series, between Yu Darvish and Lance McCullers, and the clubs have adjusted accordingly. Here is a look at the Game 3 lineups.
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The Dodgers will have a unique challenge against the breaking-ball specialist McCullers, who is making just his second start this postseason. McCullers was last on the mound in Saturday's ALCS-clinching win over the Yankees, in which he earned a four-inning save and threw 24 straight curveballs.
Nobody threw more curves in 2017 than McCullers (47.3 percent), yet nobody hit curveballs better than the Dodgers, who boasted an MLB-high .265 average against them during the regular season, per Statcast™.
In a late change, L.A. opted to swap its designated hitter, going from Enrique Hernandez to Joc Pederson. Hernandez was included despite his .159/.244/.255 regular-season line against righties in large part due to the drastic reverse splits McCullers has posted in his career, having surrendered a .744 OPS to righties compared to .635 against lefties. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted Thursday he was considering his DH with such reverse splits in mind, and he indicated he'd likely do so again for Game 4 against Charlie Morton.
Pederson, who was left off the NL Division Series roster but broke up Justin Verlander's no-hitter in the fifth inning of Game 2, is making his second straight start. John Forsythe returns after Chase Utley got the nod on Wednesday, and Austin Barnes will make his third start this series at catcher over Yasmani Grandal.
The Dodgers have scored eight of their nine runs this series via homer, with six long balls. And they combined with the Astros in Game 2 to set a World Series record with eight.
1. Chris Taylor, CF
- Corey Seager, SS
- Justin Turner, 3B
- Cody Bellinger, 1B
- Yasiel Puig, RF
- Logan Forsythe, 2B
- Austin Barnes, C
- Joc Pederson, DH
- Enrique Hernandez, LF
Yu Darvish, P
The Astros' success at home has been rooted in their remarkable offense, which looks to build off its proverbial awakening in Game 2. Among the standout home performances this postseason include Jose Altuve -- who has posted a .591/.640/1.273 slash line with five homers -- and Carlos Correa, who has posted a .391/.440/.783 line with seven RBIs.
"Each game is its own entity," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "I'd love for it to say it's going to spill over, and it might. We've gone on some incredible offensive explosions this season. We have the best offense team in the league for a reason. I think it can be that way. But it depends on how Darvish is pitching. It depends on how their bullpen comes in, do they execute pitches, and how disciplined can we stay."
Houston will also get back Gattis to add another power punch to the lower part of its lineup. He will bat seventh, while catcher Brian McCann has been moved down to ninth. Every other Astros starter from Games 1 and 2 remained in the lineup Friday.
Alex Bregman, despite being just 3-for-32 against righties this postseason, will stay in the two-hole after going 3-for-10 with a homer in the first two games. Marwin Gonzalez, the Astros' regular-season RBI leader (90) who had been hitting just .143 this postseason before his critical ninth-inning homer off Kenley Jansen, will bat eighth, providing pop at the bottom.
The Astros face a familiar foe in Yu Darvish, who in four-plus seasons with the intradivision Rangers, has made 14 career starts against them. He is 5-5 with a 3.44 ERA in those games, but he has been at his best at Minute Maid Park, where he is 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA in six career starts, including seven innings of one-hit, one-run ball there in June. Darvish has been red-hot in general of late, going 4-0 with a 0.88 ERA in his past five outings.
However, the Astros have been at their best against right-handed pitchers. Including the postseason, Houston is 84-40 in games started by righties and 25-24 against southpaws.
1. George Springer, CF
- Alex Bregman, 3B
- Jose Altuve, 2B
- Carlos Correa, SS
- Yuli Gurriel, 1B
- Josh Reddick, RF
- Evan Gattis, DH
- Marwin Gonzalez, LF
- Brian McCann, C
Lance McCullers Jr., P
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.