The Houston Astros are two wins away from winning the first World Series title in franchise history and they look to take another step when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers in Saturday’s Game 4. Houston has won the past two games to take a 2-1 lead in the series and emerged victorious in Friday’s game 5-3 when it received 3 2/3 innings of hitless relief from Brad Peacock.
Yuli Gurriel’s homer to open a four-run Astros’ second inning was the lone blast on Friday after the teams combined for a record eight homers in Wednesday’s epic Game 2. Houston is 7-0 at home in the postseason and thriving in front of a raucous atmosphere so the pressure is squarely on the Dodgers to win at least one game and get the series back to Los Angeles. “Obviously this crowd is into it, very educated, very enthusiastic,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters after Game 3. “They’ve got some confidence over there, that team. ... But honestly, I don’t think we see it as pressure, just go out and play a good clean game.” National League Championship Series co-MVPs Justin Turner (2-for-13, one homer) and Chris Taylor (1-for-9, one homer) are struggling for Los Angeles, while Astros star Jose Altuve (3-for-15, one homer) is also having a quiet series.
TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Alex Wood (0-1, 5.79 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (1-1, 6.23)
Wood is making just his second start of the postseason as he gave up three runs (all on solo homers) and four hits while striking out seven over 4 2/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. The 26-year-old is pitching for just the second time in 31 days and he is aware Roberts has been quick to pull starting pitchers this postseason. “We don’t have the longest leash,” Wood told reporters at his Friday press conference, “so if anything, it kind of holds us to a higher standard, like you need to go out and shut it down and put up zeroes, and not give up any runs and then you can stay in longer.”
Morton hasn’t pitched more than five innings in any of his three postseason starts while striking out 14 in 13 innings. The Astros took a flyer on the 33-year-old after he pitched in just four games for Philadelphia last season and the investment paid off as Morton won a career-high 14 games and now gets to make his first World Series start. “It’s an honor,” Morton said at his Friday press conference. “Most people don’t get a chance to play in the postseason, let alone in a Championship Series or the World Series. I’m going to try to enjoy it, but at the same time I’ve got a job to do.”
1. The Astros have outscored opponents 36-10 at home in the postseason.
2. Houston RF Josh Reddick is 4-for-11 with a walk and three runs scored in the World Series after going 1-for-25 in the American League Championship Series.
3. Los Angeles 1B Cody Bellinger fanned in all four at-bats on Friday and is hitless in 11 at-bats (seven strikeouts) in the series.
PREDICTION: Astros 4, Dodgers 3