2017 World Series Game 3 Recap: Letting the Peacock Fly

The Astros got a quality relief outing from Brad Peacock and continued their dominance at home in the postseason with a Game 3 win over the Dodgers.

At a certain point, you've just gotta let a Peacock fly.

Last night, the Houston Astros rode a big second inning, a solid start from Lance McCullers, and outstanding relief work by Brad Peacock to win Game 3 of the World Series, 5-3, over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their victory was pivotal in that the winner of Game 3 in a series tied 1-1 has gone on to win the World Series 68.9% of the time (62-28). And since moving to the 2-3-2 format in 1946, teams taking Game 3 at home after being tied 1-1 have won 11 of 16 times and 8 out of the last 9 World Series.

The Astros jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning off Yu Darvish, who had been red-hot coming into Game 3 with a 0.88 ERA in his previous five starts. However, he just didn't have it last night. Darvish lasted 1.2 innings and gave up four runs on six hits with one walk and, most surprisingly, no strikeouts.

It was the shortest start (by far) of his Major League career, with his previous shortest being a three-inning effort against the San Diego Padres in September.

Yulieski Gurriel, who faces a possible suspension for appearing to mock Darvish in the dugout during the game, got the Astros off on the right foot with this laser blast to left field in the 2nd inning.

Gurriel's 17 hits this postseason are the most ever by a Cuban born player in the playoffs, breaking a tie with Bert Campaneris.

The Astros tacked on three more in the inning and forced the Dodgers to once again go to their bullpen sooner than they'd hoped. In Game 2, manager Dave Roberts pulled starter Rich Hill after four innings despite Hill having given up just one run on three hits and three walks and seven strikeouts. As a result, the Dodgers have used 17 pitchers over the last 20 innings of this World Series, and they will need Game 4 starter Alex Wood to help save a bullpen that, until the 8th inning of Game 2, had run up a 27-inning consecutive scoreless streak.

That may be a lot to ask, as Wood has pitched just once in the postseason, a Game 4 National League Championship Series appearance in which he lasted just 4.2 innings in the Dodgers' lone loss to the Chicago Cubs.

McCullers was good last night, going 5.1 innings and giving up three runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts before turning the ball over to Brad Peacock, who was outstanding in relief. Peacock finished off the final 3.1 innings by allowing no hits and just a single walk with four strikeouts. It was the first hitless save of three or more innings in the postseason since the save became an official statistic in 1969, and he joined Madison Bumgarner as the only pitchers to record an 11-out save in the World Series since 1981.

Coming into the World Series, the biggest advantage the Dodgers had over the Astros was in the bullpen, and even after three games, L.A.'s relievers have a better ERA (1.84) than Houston's (4.50). But the workload of the Dodgers' bullpen in last two games may be diminishing that advantage, and Astros manager A.J. Hinch was able to allow an effective Peacock to finish off things last night rather than bringing in closer Ken Giles, who has struggled this October (8.22 ERA in 6 appearances).

And now, it's on to Game 4, with the Astros looking to extend their postseason home winning streak. Last night, they won their first home World Series game in the 56-year history of the franchise, and they joined the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies as the only teams to win their first seven home games in a single postseason. Charlie Morton will take the hill with an opportunity to seize a stranglehold on the series. Morton is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 5 walks in the playoffs this year.

As you would expect, our metrics say the advantage has now switched to Houston as we give the Astros a 66.97% chance to win the series.