After a postseason that can only be described as epic, the World Series is at last set. The deep and talented Los Angeles Dodgers will face off against the fast and feisty Houston Astros in a battle of two of baseball's elite teams of 2017.
The Dodgers overcame a late-season slump to still finish with the best overall record in the majors, winning 104 games compared to just 58 losses, and made mincemeat out of the Arizona Diamondbacks and defending champion Chicago Cubs in the NLDS and NLCS. The lineup is deep, the pitching strong, and this team wants the gold badly.
The Houston Astros, contrastingly, won two straight elimination games to bring home the AL Pennant and won 101 games themselves in the regular season. Throw in that their city was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey earlier this year, and the Astros are playing for more than just being baseball's best.
Needless to say, this World Series will be a good one.
Houston Astros vs Los Angeles Dodgers
This is a tough series to predict, particularly because these teams did not face each other during the regular season. That means we must rely on the numbers to make a prediction, and that is a tough call.
On hitting alone, the Astros have the advantage. Houston led the majors with 896 runs scored this year and can beat opponents with the bat in so many ways. The Astros can keep the line moving with seeing-eye singles, line drives down the line into the corner, and even drawing walks. Houston also led all of baseball with a team batting average of .282 and the team's 238 home runs ranked just second behind the New York Yankees. The team ranked 11th in pitching with a staff ERA of 4.12 but having such a strong offense made up for the arms being touch and go at points throughout the season.
Los Angeles' pitching was the exact opposite of Houston's. The Dodgers ranked second behind the Cleveland Indians with a staff ERA of 3.38 and rode successful seasons from multiple starters to the NL Pennant. Ace Clayton Kershaw turned in another great year and went 18-4 with a 2.31 ERA despite missing time with an injury, while Alex Wood broke out and went 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA. Yu Darvish was acquired from the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline and has been a prime playoff stopper. The bullpen, led by hard-throwing closer Kenley Jansen, is deep as can be thanks to added arms like Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani.
And even though the Dodgers' offense ranked just 12th in baseball in runs scored, the lineup has played much better than that in the postseason. Los Angeles has outscored opponents 48-19 in the postseason and has a lineup so deep that outfielder Yasiel Puig, who hit .263 with 28 home runs and 74 RBI during the regular season, bats eighth in the lineup.
This Fall Classic will be a good one so buckle up.
Game 7 Recap - This game started in the worst possible way for the Dodgers. George Springer led off the game with a double and then scored on Cody Bellinger's throwing error on the very next play. Yu Darvish didn't even get out of second inning and Houston's pitching just rolled from there. Springer added a two-run shot in the second inning, his fifth of the World Series that tied a Fall Classic mark. Los Angeles had multiple opportunities, but was just 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position and only scored thanks to Andre Ethier's pinch-hit single. Houston dominated, plain and simple.
Game 6 Recap - George Springer's solo shot put Houston up early and Justin Verlander was dealing, but the Dodgers struck in the sixth inning on Chris Taylor's RBI single and Corey Seager put them ahead with a sacrifice fly. Joc Pederson made the crowd's cheers deafening with a solo home run in the seventh inning, and now Los Angeles will prepare for tomorrow's deciding Game 7!
Game 5 Recap - What. A. Game. There were several lead changes, 25 total runs, 28 total hits, and seven total home runs. Los Angeles grabbed an early 4-0 lead, only to see it erased courtesy of Carlos Correa's RBI double and Yuli Gurriel's three-run home run in the fourth inning. Correa would later have a home run of his own as would Jose Altuve and George Springer, but the Dodgers fought back with a three-run shot from Cody Bellinger and a two-run blast from Yasiel Puig. Over five hours later, Alex Bregman's RBI single in the 10th inning gave the Astros a 3-2 lead in the series and the chance to clinch on Tuesday night with Justin Verlander on the mound.
Game 4 Recap - Alex Wood's no-hit bid ended with a George Springer solo shot in the sixth inning, but Los Angeles tied the game with Logan Forsythe's RBI single in the seventh. Cody Bellinger's RBI double off the struggling Ken Giles gave the Dodgers a lead in the ninth, and Joc Pederson's three-run shot capped a five-run frame in LA's 6-2 victory. The Dodgers and Astros will look to regain control of the series tomorrow night when Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel return to the mound.
Game 3 Recap - Houston made its expected statement at home and scored four runs off of Yu Darvish in less than two innings en route to a 5-3 victory. Yuli Gurriel had a solo home run and Josh Reddick and Brian McCann combined for five of the Astros' 12 total hits. Brad Peacock pitched 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to become just the second pitcher since Madison Bumgarner to record an 11-out save in the World Series, setting up the Dodgers with their first must-win game of the playoffs tomorrow.
Game 2 Recap - It started with an RBI single from Alex Bregman in the third inning, then Joc Pederson tied it up with a solo home run in the fifth. Corey Seager's two-run shot made it 3-1 in the sixth, but then the Astros got to Kenley Jansen with Carlos Correa's single in the eighth and Marwin Gonzalez's game-tying home run in the ninth. Houston added back-to-back home runs from Correa and Jose Altuve in the tenth, but Los Angeles answered right back with a Yasiel Puig solo shot and an RBI single from Kike Hernandez. George Springer finally capped a three-hit night with a go-ahead two-run shot in the top of the 11th as Houston finally beat the Dodgers 7-6 to tie the series heading back to Minute Maid Park. This is the Astros' chance to take control of the series, so Dodgers Game 3 starter Yu Darvish will have his hands full.
Game 1 Recap - On an unseasonably hot Los Angeles night, the Dodgers quickly struck first. Chris Taylor's leadoff home run set the tone for a dominant performance by Clayton Kershaw, who struck out 11 over seven innings. Houston starter Dallas Keuchel held his own through 6.2 innings, but was lifted after allowing a two-run shot to the red-hot Justin Turner. The Astros' only offense came via Alex Bregman's solo home run, and now Justin Verlander will be tasked with turning in another great performance to tie the series.
Who's Hot - Astros catcher Brian McCann has finally found his swing and hit .500 with three RBI in Games 6 and 7 of the ALCS, and Justin Verlander has continued to be rock solid for Houston. The big righty and ALCS MVP is 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA in postseason play this year, but he must watch out for the Dodgers' bats. Justin Turner is batting .387 with three home runs and 12 RBI in the playoffs and the aforementioned Puig has a slash line of .414/.514/.655. Oh, and let's not forget likely AL MVP Jose Altuve and his five postseason home runs, nor surefire NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger and his batting .318 in the NLCS.
Who's Not - The Astros have been rolling with a DH tandem of Carlos Beltran and Evan Gattis and even though Gattis hit a home run in Game 7, Houston's production at the position in the ALCS was horrid. Beltran was just 1 for 12 in the series and Gattis' home run was his only hit in 10 ALCS at-bats. Los Angeles, meanwhile, is hoping that Corey Seager will be available to play after missing the NLCS with a back injury.
Prediction - This has the potential to be a back-and-forth World Series, especially since it features a great hitting team going up against one with equally great pitching. That said, even though the Astros will steal one of the first two games in Los Angeles, the Dodgers' hot bats will come alive as they have all postseason long and bring home the gold in six games, with Justin Turner being named World Series MVP.
Schedule and TV Info:
- Game 1 - Dodgers 3, Astros 1
- Game 2 - Astros 7, Dodgers 6 (11 innings)
- Game 3 - Astros 5, Dodgers 3
- Game 4 - Dodgers 6, Astros 2
- Game 5 - Astros 13, Dodgers 12 (10 innings)
- Game 6 - Dodgers 3, Astros 1
- Game 7 - Astros 5, Dodgers 1
***Houston wins series, 4-3***