October 23, 2017
By: Steve Degler
For the first time since 1970, two teams that each won 100 or more games in the regular season will meet in the World Series when the Houston Astros play game one against the Dodgers Tuesday in Los Angeles. The two teams did not meet during interleague play this season so this will be just like "the old days" in baseball. At one time, Houston and LA were rivals in the National League West. The Astros also become the first team to reach the Fall Classic in each league (2005 as a National League entry) while the Dodgers are in the final series for the first time since 1988.
The Dodgers have been the best team in baseball all season. They can beat you in so many ways. Their bullpen was basically unhittable in the NLCS against the Cubs. The starting pitching isn't too shabby either. You may have heard of this Kershaw guy. Offensively, LA has a lot of weapons and the Dodgers can run the bases and hit the ball out of the park. And if they get Corey Seager back, even if it's only to DH and pinch-hit, the lineup becomes even tougher. Houston manager A.J. Hinch won't be able to pitch around too many guys. Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger and the rest of the Dodgers are a very impressive group. They grind out at-bats and wear out pitchers.
The Astros won all four games at home to escape the Yankees in the ALCS. Houston's bullpen has many more question marks. Thed relievers coughed up a late 4-0 against the Yankees in game four. Houston should have Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander available to start at least four games if needed. Verlander was brilliant in two starts against New York. The Astros offense, as usual, will run through Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. The supporting cast of Josh Reddick, Marwin Gonzalez, Yuli Gurriel and Brian McCann will need to contribute so the Dodgers can't simply avoid Altuve and Correa.
There seem to me to be two potential paths for the Astros to win the team's first World Series title. The first is to win the four games started by Keuchel and Verlander. The second is to split the first two games at Dodger Stadium and then win the next three at Minute Maid Park, a place where they have been absolutely dominant. I don't know if either way is possible. The Dodgers are way too strong and have given no inclination in the postseason that they will slip up. My pick is LA in 6 games.