LOS ANGELES — Dodgers slugger Max Muncy made it a series with his 18th-inning walk-off homer in Game 3, and the gamesmanship was quickly cranked up, as neither manager would commit to naming a starting pitcher for Game 4 on Saturday night.
The Dodgers have the previously announced Rich Hill ready to go on sufficient rest. The only other alternative would be Clayton Kershaw on short rest after a poor start, which seems suboptimal, especially with Los Angeles needing Kershaw to start Game 5 on Sunday on regular rest.
All manager Alex Cora would say was that the Red Sox would start a lefty, with Eduardo Rodriguez and Chris Sale on short rest the logical candidates, as the only other left-hander, Drew Pomeranz, hasn’t pitched in nearly a month.
What might the starting lineups look like?
Red Sox: The top four spots in the lineup went 0-for-28 in Game 3, which could compel Cora to put Andrew Benintendi back in there for this one. That could mean that Jackie Bradley Jr. won’t start. But Boston will have to check in with J.D. Martinez, who played nine innings in the outfield in Game 3 on a sore right ankle.
1. Mookie Betts, CF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. Steve Pearce, 1B
4. J.D. Martinez, RF
5. Xander Bogaerts, SS
6. Rafael Devers, 3B
7. Ian Kinsler, 2B
8. Christian Vazquez, C
9. Eduardo Rodriguez, P
Dodgers: David Freese didn’t appear in Game 3 until the 14th inning, but that won’t happen in Game 4 with Cora saying he’ll start a left-handed pitcher. Freese’s bat fits best wedged between Justin Turner and Manny Machado, but don’t forget he homered and doubled when L.A. manager Dave Roberts hit him leadoff against Milwaukee lefty Wade Miley in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series:
1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Justin Turner, 3B
3. David Freese, 1B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Matt Kemp, RF
6. Enrique Hernandez, CF
7. Chris Taylor, LF
8. Austin Barnes, C
9. Rich Hill, P
Who are the starting pitchers?
Red Sox: That’s the big mystery. Cora said pitchers were lining up outside his office to volunteer to start, but he left it as TBD following Game 3. It will be one of three lefties — Rodriguez, Sale or Pomeranz. Rodriguez is the safest choice, having faced just one batter in Game 3. Sale would have to make the start on three days’ rest, which would be a gamble considering the left shoulder issues he had in the second half of the season.
Dodgers: It’s TBD for now, but if it turns out to be HIll, he last pitched during a one-inning relief outing in Game 6 of the NLCS on Oct. 19. He allowed one run in five innings of his Game 4 start on Oct. 16. Hill has shown improvement since adopting a full windup at the suggestion of Chase Utley, who noticed Hill was tipping his pitches with his previous mechanics.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Red Sox: Though it was an 18-inning game, Cora didn’t tax any of his key relievers, with the exception of Nathan Eovaldi. Craig Kimbrel got four outs. Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly and Ryan Brasier recorded three each. David Price recorded two outs, and it will be interesting if Cora asks him to pitch in relief on back-to-back days.
Dodgers: It’s complicated. Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez and Kenta Maeda pitched two innings each in the Game 3 marathon, Dylan Floro went 1 2/3 frames. Julio Urias pitched one inning when Roberts said he didn’t want to use him. Alex Wood will be the long man after throwing only one inning.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Red Sox: Eovaldi and Rick Porcello.
Dodgers: Urias, one year removed from shoulder surgery, is probably unavailable.
Any injuries of note?
Red Sox: Eduardo Nunez keeps hobbling along, but manages to keep getting up. Martinez seemed to emerge from Game 3 no worse for the wear.
Dodgers: None known.
Who is hot and who is not?
Red Sox: Aside from Bradley (2-for-5), nobody swung the bat all that well for the Red Sox in Game 3. Benintendi will try to continue the momentum he generated in Boston when he went 4-for-8 with a crucial walk. Betts (0-for-7) and Bogaerts (0-for-8) were ice cold in Game 3.
Dodgers: Los Angeles raised its team average from .175 to .177, so hot is a relative term. Barnes, Dozier and Taylor are a combined 0-for-20. Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger and Hernandez have one hit each in a total of 29 at-bats, but Pederson’s was a home run.
Anything else fans might want to know?
The is the fifth consecutive World Series that has been 2-1 after three games. Of the 89 times a series has been 2-1, the team leading has won the series 58 times (65.2 percent), but only twice in the past five times.