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Game 4 Uncertain For Boston After Previous Night’s Marathon

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Can E-Rod, Cora and the Sox bounce back after a crushing Game 3 loss? (NESN)

Anyone who attended Game 3 of the 2018 World Series on Friday night certainly got their money’s worth. The Dodgers and visiting Red Sox took the field at Dodger Stadium at 5:10 PM PT and didn’t return to their respective clubhouses until almost eight hours later. The Chavez Ravine Marathon (as it will surely become known) ended at 12:30 on Saturday morning when Dodgers’ 1B Max Muncy hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 18th off Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi, who was working his sixth inning of relief.

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The longest game in MLB postseason history in terms of time at 7:20 couldn’t have ended better for Los Angeles, who risked falling in the hole 3-0, and it couldn’t have ended worse for Boston. The Red Sox had the game won in the 13th when they clawed their way to a 2-1 lead thanks to Brock Holt’s hustle and some poor defensive positioning by LA. Eovaldi forced Yasiel Puig to ground to Ian Kinsler at second for the final out, but Kinsler lost his footing and his throw was about four feet to left of 1B Steve Pearce, allowing Muncy to score to knot it at 2-2.

Kinsler struggled mightily in the game, as he was also thrown out at the plate by Cody Bellinger on a sacrifice fly attempt in the 10th and was nearly picked off twice that same inning on top of going 0-3.  He blamed himself for the loss multiple times after the game ended, but he was hardly the only one at fault on Boston’s side. Boston’s MLB.com reporter Ian Browne reminded us after the game that the top four of the Red Sox order, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland and JD Martinez, went a combined 0-28 with nine strikeouts and nine runners left on. Boston’s MVP of the night was unquestionably Eovaldi, who hurled six gallant relief innings despite pitching in Game 2 and received only one run of support. His performance was acclaimed by the baseball community on Twitter after the game.

 

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Muncy’s walk-off shot tagged Eovaldi with the loss despite his brilliant effort. (Boston Herald)

As one could expect, Game 4 has already created a plethora of intrigue and the first pitch isn’t for another three hours still. Neither manager has named their starter for tonight yet as both teams had to use nine pitchers in Game 3. It was more extreme on Boston’s side as Alex Cora had used every available pitcher on his World Series roster except for Drew Pomeranz by the time it was over. Eovaldi was slated for the Game 4 start, but after 97 pitches in relief, he likely won’t be available again until Game 6 if there even is one.

Browne quotes Cora as saying that a southpaw will be on the hill for Boston tonight, and this was correct. The Red Sox announced that Eduardo Rodriguez will make the first World Series start of his career, and it’s safe to assume that Boston is praying that the Venezuelan can give his team a quality start and eat as many innings as he can. E-Rod did appear in Game 3 but threw only six pitches.

If not, Pomeranz is Cora’s only other option, and that may scare many fans as the big man struggled all year after an elbow injury and hasn’t appeared at all since September 30. Because he called on so many last night, including Game 2 starter David Price for two-thirds of an inning, Cora may have no choice but to call on Pomeranz at some point unless he wants to risk using ace Chris Sale on short rest and eliminate him from Game 5. Expect to see Big Smooth in the action tonight.

The most likely starter for Dave Roberts’ Dodgers is also a lefty, 38-year-old LHP Rich Hill, who hasn’t appeared yet in the Fall Classic. This would make for another decision for Cora. Right-handed hitting 3B Eduardo Nunez has struggled with knee issues all year long but has played very well this postseason despite it. However, Nunez was in obvious pain last night and appeared to be struggling  mightily at points. Putting 22-year-old Rafael Devers at third tonight would give Nunez a chance to recover but would also put another lefty batter in the lineup, which could work to LA’s advantage.

It was rumored in the buildup to the series that Boston was considering putting Betts at his natural position of second base in order to keep Martinez in the lineup without sending Jackie Bradley Jr or Andrew Benintendi to the dugout. The latter got the night off in Game 3 and Kinsler’s train wreck of a game made it easy to say that the decision backfired.  It appears as if the 36-year-old will be in the lineup tonight, but Nunez and Holt could fill in if his struggles continue.

The action starts at 8:10 ET once again on Fox, don’t miss what is sure to be a pivotal contest!

American League

Rangers Sign Rafael Montero

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The Texas Rangers have agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with right handed pitcher Rafael Montero, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant.

Montero is still working back from Tommy John surgery, and was once a top prospect in the New York Mets organization , but struggled transitioning to the major league level, putting together a woeful 5.38 ERA over 192 1/3 innings pitched.

 

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American League

Astros Sign Robinson Chirinos to One-Year Deal

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The Houston Astros are signing free agent catcher Robinson Chirinos to a one-year deal with $5.75 million, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Chirinos had a career year in 2017 while playing for the Texas Rangers, but had a dramatic dip in production during the 2018 season and was no brought back by the team. Chirinos isn’t considered a defensive stud behind the plate either, and will join Max Stassi in the Astros catching rotation.

 

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American League

Angels Announce Coaching Staff

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The Los Angeles Angels have announced the coaching staff for brand new manager Brad Ausmus.

Pitching coach Doug White, hitting coach Jeremy Reed, and assistant hitting coach Shawn Wooten have already been announced as additions to Ausmus’ staff.

Long-time MLB infielder Mike Gallego will work with infielders and coach third base. Jose Molina, the former big league catcher, will work with catchers. Additionally, Jesus Feliciano will be slated to work with the outfielders and former slugger Paul Sorrento will join the hitting coaches team.

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