The World Series is dead even at one to one, meaning we’ll at least get five games. I predicted seven games for this series, and so far, the prediction looks solid. The Dodgers have plenty of power in their lineup, but the Rays always seem to find ways to win, whether that’s solid pitching, solid fielding, or timely hitting.
After a day off from baseball, both bullpens are rejuvenated. However, these teams are sending out ace pitchers that can both pitch five innings or more without interruption.
Walker Buehler will get the start for the Dodgers. He went 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA in the regular season. However, during the postseason he has been the best pitcher for the Dodgers. In four starts, he’s got an ERA of 1.89 and has limited his last three starts to just two runs in 15 innings.
Buehler had struggled with his command early in the postseason, but in his last start against the Braves, he walked no batters in six innings. In that start, he still allowed seven hits but struck out six using 89 pitches.
Before that start, Buehler had walked 11 batters in 13 innings. Of course, throughout the postseason, he’s been able to limit damage and pitch around runners on base. But every pitcher would rather not have to worry about runners on base.
In every start, he’s allowed plenty of runners on base. During his first start, he allowed three hits and two walks for five total base runners in four innings. In the second start, he allowed six base runners between four walks and two hits in four innings. In his third start, Buehler allowed eight base runners in five innings with five walks and three hits.
Lastly, he allowed seven runners in six innings in his final NLCS start. Buehler has allowed 26 fly balls to 17 ground balls. His strikeout numbers are high with 29 in 19 innings, and he’s going up against a team that strikes out over 26 percent of the time against righties.
Plus, while he’s allowing fly balls, only two have actually left the yard. This season, Buehler was dominant early in starts and struggled the third time around orders. It’s a small sample size, but Buehler had a .103 average against when facing an order for the first time. His second time around the order, he had a .212 average, but the third time around the order he had a .400 average.
On the flip side, Charlie Morton will get the start for the Rays in the third game of the World Series. Morton had a shaky regular season where he went 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA in nine starts.
That hasn’t been the case in the postseason. In three starts, Morton is 3-0 with a .57 ERA. He’s allowed just four walks in 15.2 innings and one earned run (two runs) off 11 hits. Morton has also struck out 17 and induced nearly 50 percent of ground balls.
Morton had a 3.18 ERA on the road this season and pitched much better away from home. He held batters to a .227 average on the road in 17 innings, allowing six runs on 15 hits.
The one glaring issue this season was how he fared against right-handed pitching. Righties hit .304 against Morton this season in 92 at-bats. Lefties and righties both had an on-base percentage of over .330 and a slugging percentage over .400.
But in the postseason, he’s been a different pitcher. During the regular season, he struggled as he went deeper into the game. Walks went down but hits went up for Morton. His strikeouts also took a dip as he went deeper into games this season.