The Houston Astros emerged victorious in an epic Game 2 and now look to take a 2-1 lead when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers for Game 3 of the World Series on Friday. The teams combined for a World Series-record eight home runs on Wednesday, with George Springer’s two-run blast in the 11th inning being the biggest in the Astros’ come-from-behind 7-6 road win.
Houston carries the momentum home after the comeback triumph and has made the decision to close the roof on Minute Maid Park for Friday’s game, assuring that crowd noise will play a role in the festivities. “It’s quite an environment when we play under the roof,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said during his press conference on Thursday. “It was one of the loudest stadiums the last series; I expect it to be the same. We’re coming off one of the most epic baseball games in any of our careers, so that feels good. It will feel good right up to first pitch, and then it will be a new game.” The 4-hour, 19-minute Game 2 classic featured six homers in the final three innings as Los Angeles saw a chance for a 2-0 series advantage evaporate. “I think all year long we’ve done a nice job of recovering, turning the page, whether it’s a big win or tough loss,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “It’s a tough loss - just refocusing on the day at hand.”
TV: 8:09 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Yu Darvish (2-0, 1.59 ERA) vs. Astros RH Lance McCullers Jr. (0-0, 2.08)
Darvish has fanned 14 batters in 11 1/3 innings this postseason to improve to 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA in four career playoff starts. The 31-year-old from Japan fared well at Minute Maid Park during his tenure with Texas, going 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA and 0.74 WHIP in six career outings. “I feel like it doesn’t really matter,” Darvish said of his past success through his translator at his press conference on Thursday. “It’s better to know that I’ve pitched here before. But (Friday‘s) game, it could be totally different from my previous outings here.”
McCullers, who has posted a 2.33 ERA in four playoff appearances (two starts), is making his second start this postseason and has recorded 13 strikeouts in as many innings. The 24-year-old took a shutout into the seventh frame of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series before allowing a homer by New York Yankees rookie slugger Aaron Judge but has been mesmerizing hitters with a steady diet of curveballs. “I don’t view it as an off-speed pitch,” McCullers said at his press conference on Thursday. “I just view it as another one of my weapons that I can use to get people out.”
1. The Astros are 6-0 at home this postseason.
2. Springer went 3-for-5 in Game 2 after going 3-for-30 with 11 strikeouts over his previous eight contests.
3. Los Angeles 3B Justin Turner is just 1-for-9 through the first two games, with the hit being a two-run homer that won the series opener.
PREDICTION: Astros 8, Dodgers 6