Scout’s Eye: Unexpected Duel From Two Unlikely Pitchers

Is this a crazy series or what? Game 4 matched up the number four starters for both teams in what was not supposed to be a pitcher’s duel. I guess Houston”s Charlie Morton and Dodgers’ Alex Wood didn’t get the official World Series program that listed them at the bottom of the rotation of their respective clubs. Both of these “back end of the rotation” guys pitched their hearts out and looked like number one starters in game four of the series last night.

Wood was mowing down the Astros and carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning when he served up a monster home run to George Springer off of a low, 82 mph knuckle curve. It was no surprise that after giving up only that one hit and one run, he was sent to the glue factory of unappreciated Dodger starting pitchers. After all, this is how it’s done in Disneyland. Oh pardon me, I meant to say Dodger land.
L.A. got more than they expected from Wood who last pitched on October 18th in game 4 of the NLCS in Chicago. He did what he was supposed to do, get outs. Then like a miracle from heaven, for the first time since game one, the Dodger bullpen came in and held the lead. This time a ninth inning home run by Alex Bregman, off of closer Kenley Jansen, for only the second Astro hit of the game would mean nothing. By the way, Bregman is looking more and more like Graig Nettles on the hot corner in this series.

Morton continued his scoreless innings streak in the post season that goes back to game 7 of the ALCS where he shutout the Yankees for five innings. He extended that streak through six and a third innings last night. After giving up a one out double to Cody Bellinger (who was 0 for 13 before that hit) he was removed after giving up only three hits in a scoreless game. Last night was about to be the opposite of game three for the home team as the bullpen imploded. A hard line drive single by Logan Forsythe drove in Bellinger with the tying run and Morton could only look out from the dugout and shake his head in disbelief.

It stayed tied until the top of the ninth when the onslaught began with a leadoff single to Corey Seager, a walk to Justin Turner followed by Bellinger’s second double scoring Seager with the go ahead run. All off of closer Ken Giles who has been a big disappointment in this World Series. The hit parade continued with a sacrifice fly that scored pinch runner Charlie Culberson and then the final nail in the coffin came when Joc Pederson belted a 95 mph fastball off of Joe Musgrove into the right center field seats, for a three run home run and a 6 to 1 Dodger lead going to the bottom of the ninth.

Let me run this down for you. Morton throws 6.1 innings of three hit ball with no walks and 7 strikeouts and turns over a one run lead to his bullpen who eventually give up five runs in one inning. Maybe they should have let Morton go a little longer into the game. Sometimes it’s like managers have to change trains at Jamaica to get to Penn Station to finish games today. The other night A.J.Hinch looked like Casey Stengel and last night he looked like Peanuts’ Charlie Brown. With both bullpens being either lights out or total disasters, the starters cannot be feeling too confident when they give the pen the ball.

So now we are all tied up at two games apiece with first game starters Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw facing off in a pivotal game five tonight. Whoever wins will be only one win from a Championship in what has become a classic between these evenly matched clubs.

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