first_imgRelated Articles Whicker: Dodgers follow Yu Darvish into Game 3 oblivion GAME FOURFor only the second time this postseason, left-hander Alex Wood is scheduled to pitch. He will face an Astros lineup that led the majors in nearly every significant statistical category and features a string of right-handed hitters that can ruin a left-handed pitcher’s day.“They obviously have a great lineup,” Wood said of his Game 4 assignment. “I think you see a trend with these teams going far in the playoffs – the Cubs, ourselves, the Astros. (There are) a lot of similarities, in kind of the culture and identity of their offense. A lot of plate discipline, get on base. It’s a challenge, but I’m excited for it.”Wood has pitched just once since Sept. 26 – his 4-2/3 innings in Game 4 of the NLCS 10 days ago, when he allowed three solo home runs and struck out seven.“It has its pluses and minuses,” Wood said of the down time. “Physically, it helps me feel a lot more ready, because you have so much time off. But at the same time trying to stay sharp and stay on top of your game. … I don’t think there’s any right answer. So we’ve tried to do our best with bullpens and lives (simulated games) and throwing flat grounds try to stay mentally locked in.“I didn’t feel too rusty my start against Chicago. Really at this point it’s more about kind of mental fortitude more than anything. It’s how focused can you stay and how mentally prepared can you be, and then it comes down to execution. From those aspects I feel confident and I’m ready to go tomorrow.”GAMESMANSHIPBefore Game 1 at Dodger Stadium, Astros manager A.J. Hinch accused the Dodgers of “gamesmanship” in overstaying their scheduled batting practice time, cutting into the Astros’ time. The Dodgers also played light rock and an assortment of mellow music during the Astros’ workout times (a trick the Cubs used on the Dodgers at Wrigley Field during the NLCS).Hinch promised retaliation when the series moved to Houston – and there was no music playing at Minute Maid Park for the Dodgers’ workout Thursday night. The Dodgers brought a small speaker out from the locker room and set it up near the batting cage instead.Was this the retaliation Hinch vowed?“Really that was more said in jest than there was going to be some sort of conspiracy against the Dodgers,” Hinch said with a smile Friday. “I heard they had a quiet workout last night with no music, which I did not set up, but I fully approve of.” Dodgers can’t overcome rough start, lose Game 3 to Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Photos: Dodgers vs. Astros in World Series Game 3 from Houston WATCH: Relive the best Dodgers 2017 World Series moments HOUSTON — Dave Roberts thought about his starting lineup for Game 3, the first in this World Series that would feature a DH.And then he thought about it again.The Dodgers manager originally had Joc Pederson in left field against Houston Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. and Kiké Hernández at DH. In the last 90 minutes before game time, Roberts decided to switch the two, moving Pederson to DH and putting Hernández in left field.“It just gives us a little more versatility if Kiké needs to move around the diamond,” Roberts said by way of explanation. Whicker: Cody Bellinger’s mini-slump typifies Dodgers’ frustration Dodgers’ Dave Roberts a ‘pillar’ as baseball tries to rebuild African Americans’ interest Astros’ Yuli Gurriel apologizes for racist gesture after homer off Dodgers’ Yu Darvish The switch made sense on a lot of levels. Hernández was more likely to change positions in a double switch, something that would cost the Dodgers the DH if he started in that position. He also has more familiarity with the outfield at Minute Maid Park – which Roberts described as “a little quirky” even after the elimination of Tal’s Hill in center field. Hernández played eight games in left field for the Astros in 2014 and another 11 in center field before he was traded to the Miami Marlins.Hernández and Logan Forsythe each got rare starts against a right-handed pitcher. During his career, McCullers has been “a reverse-splits guy” – he is more effective against lefties (a .232 average and .635 OPS) than righties (a .253 average and .744 OPS).In Hernández’s case, Roberts said he had earned a start with the quality of his at-bats during the postseason – which included three hits in five at-bats against right-handed pitchers before Game 3.“It’s not even the results. It’s the at-bat quality,” Roberts said. “He’s staying in the strike zone. He’s using the whole field. And now the history of this guy is righties hit him better. And it’s not the slider, it’s the curveball. I think that gives Kiké a better chance as well.”Hernández’s difficulties against right-handed pitching are driven by his inability to recognize and hit the slider, Roberts indicated. McCullers relies much more on his curveball. Video: Is Astros’ Yuli Gurriel making racist gesture about Dodgers’ Yu Darvish? last_img read more