Against the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series, which starts Tuesday in Los Angeles, the Astros will start Dallas Keuchel in Game 1 and Justin Verlander in Game 2. That, in turn, would allow Houston's tandem aces to start Games 5 and 6 (if necessary) on full rest. As for the other three potential games in this series, it's uncertain.
One intriguing possibility is for A.J. Hinch to approach Games 3 and 7 of the World Series as he did Game 7 of the ALCS -- i.e., use Charlie Morton and Lance McCullersas "piggyback" starters. That's in essence using two starters in one game, planned ahead of time, for a handful of innings each rather than trying to get six or seven frames out of one of them. Against the Yankees in the ALCS finale, Morton and McCullers, leaning heavily on the curveballs, combined for a three-hit shutout. Along the way, they struck out 11 and walked two. Combined gem, that.
In the lower level of the minors, the Astros use the piggyback approach with their starting pitchers, so there's an organizational aversion to the approach. As well, Morton and McCullers are not frontline starters, and as such it makes sense to try to spare them from going through the order a third and fourth time in must-win games such as these forthcoming World Series tilts. That's especially the case with the Dodgers, who are perhaps baseball's best when it comes to hitting curveballs. As such, yes, it's even more prudent to let a lineup like that get too many looks at the likes of Morton and McCullers. So in essence Hinch would let Morton and McCullers face no more than 18 batters each in their piggyback starts. If things go reasonably well, then that's enough to get them through the entire game or at least hand it over to Ken Giles.
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