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Championship Series Day 5 Preview

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ALCS Game 3 and NLCS Game 4

MLB: NLCS-Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers beat the Dodgers last night 4-0 in the day’s only action taking a 2-1 series lead into game 4 of the NLCS tonight. The ALCS now shifts to Houston with both the Red Sox and Astros owning one win apiece.

Red Sox @ Astros - 5:09 ET

The series is tied up, and looks to continue its promise of a hard fought series. Tonight’s game doesn’t have the marquee pitching matchup of the first 2 games, but still features a pair of starters that belong here.

Astros’ Starter

Former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel looks to give his team the 2-1 lead at home. The Astros’ lefty had a good start in game 3 of the ALDS against Cleveland, going 5 solid innings and allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. The offense piled on a lot of runs in that game and took the sweep, and I’m sure the Astros would love to give him as much support today as they did in that game.

On the season Keuchel was 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA, numbers that are well removed from his Cy Young season, but still very much acceptable for the middle of the rotation arm that he has become. He made an AL high 34 starts, and eclipsed the 200 inning plateau for the 3rd time in 5 years.

Keuchel played the Red Sox just once this year, and things didn’t go overly well for him. He fought his way through 6 innings, but did so allowing 5 runs on 9 hits and a pair of walks. JD Martinez took him deep as the Red Sox won that early September back and forth affair 6-5.

Red Sox Starter

The Red Sox will counter with mid-season acquisition Nathan Eovaldi. The 28 year old flamethrower was pretty great for Boston down the stretch, pitching to a 3.33 ERA over 54 innings, but putting up an even better 2.88 FIP. The big difference once he got to Boston was that he allowed a lot fewer home runs than what he was doing in Tampa Bay - in 57 innings for the Rays he allowed 11 home runs, while he allowed just 3 in his 54 innings with the Sox.

Eovaldi was fantastic his last time out in the ALDS against the Yankees, his first career postseason start. He went 7 innings, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits and no walks, and struck out 5. His awesome start gave the Red Sox the 2-1 series lead in the swing game of the series, and he’s looking to do that again.

Eovaldi made one start against the Astros this season, back in June when he was still a member of the Rays. He went 6 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and not issuing a walk. All 4 runs came on solo home runs - two for Altuve and one each to Springer and Bregman, as they went back-to-back-to-back in the 6th off a tiring Eovaldi, not that anyone remembers that.

Other Notes

The Red Sox bullpen continues to defy the critics, putting up a whole bunch of zeroes in their quest to get the ball to Kimbrel, who has allowed a run in all 3 of his saves this Postseason.

Steve Pearce was brought to Boston at least in part because of his ability to mash against lefties. However, in 24 PA against Keuchel, Pearce has just a pair of hits and a pair of walks, albeit one of the hits was a home run.

Brewers @ Dodgers - 9:09 ET

The Brewers beat the Dodger 4-0 on the back of a solid start from journeyman Jhoulys Chacin, and included a home run from the super light hitting Orlando Arcia. Sometimes baseball doesn’t make sense.

Today the Dodgers will try their hardest to not fall into a 3-1 hole, as the Brewers look to take the second of three games on hostile soil.

Dodgers’ Starter

Rich Hill gets the ball in game 4, just like he did in the NLDS against Atlanta. In that game, he fought through 4 hits and 5 walks over 4.1 innings to magically allow just 2 runs, and it was a good enough performance for the Dodgers to take the game and take the series over the Braves.

Allowing a bunch of walks randomly in a start this season isn’t a new phenomenon for Hill this year. He had 5 starts this season out of his 24 where he allowed 4+ walks, while he also had 7 starts each where he allowed 0 and 1 walk. So it appears that some days he has the control, and some days he does not. He’s obviously hoping for the former in this one.

Hill faced the Brewers twice this season, putting up a pair of pretty good starts. In the first one, he went 6 innings, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits and 4 walks, but also striking out 9. He wasn’t “effectively wild” the second time around, instead allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits and a walk, striking out just 4 in his 6 innings.

Brewers’ Starter

The Brewers are going with game 1 starter Gio Gonzalez, who was pulled after just 2 innings in that start. In that start, his only one this postseason. he allowed just a walk and a Manny Machado solo home run before being lifted for Brian Woodruff for the 3rd inning. I can’t imagine he’ll have such a short leash in this one, but I have yet to understand Craig Counsell’s pitching decisions, so I won’t even begin to speculate how long Gio will be in the game for.

Other Notes

Yasmani Grandal has had a very rough series, having a terrible time behind the plate in game 1, being benched for game 2, then coming back and having a terrible time behind the plate and at the plate in game 3. Martin has already noted that the decision to bench him for game 4 has been made.

Josh Hader got into yesterday’s game after Joakim Soria inexplicably came in and got an out before being pulled. Hader rarely pitches on back to back days, although he didn’t pitch a whole lot yesterday. If he gets into today’s game, I can’t imagine he’ll pitch tomorrow too.

Find the Link

Find the link between... I can’t find a link. If you can find a legitimate link between at least 2 of these starting pitchers, I’ll give you a point.