World Series Game 3 Preview

by Ben Burns

With the teams splitting the first two games at Houston, we're down to a "Best Of Five" World Series.  A pivotal Game 3 goes Friday, at Atlanta. It'll be the first time that two rookie starting pitchers oppose each other in the WS, since 2006. Let's take a closer look. 

Ian Anderson goes for the Braves. Having not reached enough innings last year, he's still technically a "rookie." However, he's already got plenty of postseason experience. In fact, this will already be his eighth career playoff start. He's 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA through the first seven, striking out 36 in 30 2/3 innings. This season, he was 9-5 with a 3.58 ERA.

Luis Garcia doesn't have the playoff numbers that Anderson does. However in Game 6 of the ALCS, when Houston needed him most, he bounced back with an absolutely dominant performance. In fact, he took a no-hitter into the 6th inning. It was the second most number of "no-hit" innings by a rookie, in playoff history. (Wacha had a no-hitter for 7 1/3 innings in the 2013 NLDS.) He was 11-8 with a 3.48 ERA on the season. 

Despite the Braves "having home field advantage," the Game 3 line is essentially a "pick'em." Perhaps, that's because playing at home hasn't been much of an advantage, in recent Fall Classics. Houston's Game 2 win was the first (victory) by a home team since Game 3 of the 2018 World Series. The Braves were 42-38 at home this season. The Astros were 44-37 on the road. 

The first two games have seen the final scores land right on, or near, the number. Game 1 saw eight runs scored. Game 2 saw the teams combine for nine. Fittingly, at most shops, the O/U line is 8.5 for Game 3. 

Last year, the Dodgers and Rays were tied 1-1. The Dodgers took Game 3 and went on to become champions. That game marked the 17th time in 40 years that the World Series was tied after two games. Including the Dodgers last year, 13 of the 17 Game 3 winners went on to win the series. While there were a few recent teams that did lose Game 3 and went on to win, that's still better than 76% over a 40-year span. Recall that the Astros were tied 1-1 in the 2017 WS. They won Game 3 and went on to win in seven. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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