The 113th edition of the Fall Classic features a spectacular matchup between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros.
The Dodgers finished the season at 104-58, and defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series in 3 games. They then won the National League Championship series in 5 games over the Cubs. The Astros went 101-61 this season, defeated the Red Sox in the ALDS in 4, and advanced to the Series by beating the New York Yankees in 7 games in the ALCS. This is the first time since 1970, 47 years, that 2, 100 win teams have met in the Series. In 1970, the Baltimore Orioles finished 108-54 while the Cincinnati Reds completed a 102-60 season. The Orioles won the Series in 5.
Game times: All times Central. Times are for First pitch
Tonight: Game 1, Houston @ Los Angeles, 7:09 PM, FOX
Wednesday: Game 2, Houston @ LA 7:09 PM, FOX
Friday: Game 3, LA @ Houston, 7:09 PM, FOX
Saturday: Game 4, LA @ Houston, 7:09 PM, FOX
Sunday: Game 5, LA @ Houston, 7:16 PM, FOX*
Tuesday, Oct. 31: Game 6, Houston @ LA, 7:09 PM, FOX*
Wednesday, Nov. 1: Game 7, Houston @ LA, 7:10 PM, FOX*
Joe Buck, John Smoltz call the game, Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci are field reporters, and pregame analysts are Kevin Burkhardt, the host, and commentators A-Rod (he's got the Yankees in 6), Big Papi, David Ortiz, Keith Hernandez and the Big Hurt, Frank Thomas. Good group calling this game. Joe and Smoltzie do a terrific job as do all of them. Really like A-Rod's commentary along with Papi's, Hernandez's and Thomas's. Like'em all.
Game 1 pitching matchups
Left hander Clayton Kershaw (LA, 18-4, 2.31 ERA, 30 walks, 202 strikeouts, an 0.95 WHIP, good stat, walks plus hits per innings, anything under 1.10 is good, anything under 1.00 is spectacularly good, in the regular season. Postseason, 2-0, 3.63 ERA. , but he's given up 6 homers in 17 innings). vs. Astros, LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA, 47 walks, 125 strikeouts, was injured some, 1.12 WHIP. Postseason, 2-1, 2.60 ERA).
Game 2 Pitching matchups
Astros, the great Justin Verlander, Right handed pitcher who went 15-8, 3.36 ERA, 72 walks, 219 K's, 1.17 WHIP, he's 9-0 with the Astros since being acquired Aug. 31 from the Detroit Tigers. His ERA is under 1.50 in that time. In the postseason, Verlander is 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA and an 0.93 WHIP, with 6 walks and 24 K's.
LA: LHP Rich Hill, 12-8, 3.32 ERA, 49 walks, 166 K's, 1.09 WHIP, postseason, 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA.
Yu Darvish, right hander, goes for the Dodgers. Darvish was picked up in a trade with the Texas Rangers before the trade deadline, July 31st, and finished the season 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA, with 58 walks, 209 K's, and a 1.16 WHIP. Still a good number on the WHIP. He's 2-0 in the postseason with a 1.59 ERA, 1 walk and 14 K's and an 0.79 WHIP.
Astros, to be determined, RHP Lance McCullers Jr. or RHPCharlie Morton, most likely
Dodgers LHP Alex Wood, 16-3, 2.72 ERA, 38 walks, 151 K's, 1.06 WHIP, postseason, 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA.
Stros, Morton or McCullers, Jr.
I like LA's 3 left handed pitching starters, the awesome Kershaw, Hill and Wood along with spectacular righty Darvish, who is really dealing in this postseason. The Stros will throw Keuchel and Verlander the first 2 games, which is highly formidable, but overall, I like the depth of the Dodgers starters. I also really like the Dodgers bullpen with the awesome closer Kenley Jansen, who saved 41 of 42 games this season, walked just 7 and struck out 109, had a 1.32 ERA and an 0.75 WHIP. In the postseason, Jansen was just as spectacular, posting 3 saves in all 3 opportunities, with a 0.00 ERA and an 0.87 WHIP, including 1 walk and 12 K's. One of the setup men for the Dodgers is Kenta Maeda who switched roles from starter to middle relief, and has a 1.38 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 13 innings, and has retired all 15 batters he's faced in the postseason.
Astros possible advantage
Hitting, Most certainly AL MVP Jose Altuve is a hitting machine for the Stros at 2nd base. He hit .346 in the regular season, with 24 homers and 81 Ribeyes. In the postseason, he's hit an outrageous .400 with 5 homers and 8 Ribbies. He's the best second sacker in the business and maybe the best position player in the majors. I'd say so actually. Carlos Correra, the stud shortstop for the Stros, hit .315 with 24 long ones this season. Center fielder George Springer is a slugger for the Stros in the leadoff spot. He hit .283 with 34 homers and 89 RBI's this season. But the Stros only hit .181 in the ALCS versus the Yankees. The Yankees pitching was very good, but that has to be a concern for the Astros heading into the WS.
The Dodgers can hit too though. 3rd baseman Justin Turner hit .322 this season with 21 homers and 71 RBI's. Turner also hit .387 in the playoffs with 3 homers and 12 Ribbies. Right fielder Yasiel Puig hit .263 with 28 homers and 74 RBI's and then has gone off in the postseason so far, hitting .414 with 1 homer and 6 Ribbies. I really like center fielder Chris Taylor, who hit .288 in the regular season with 21 homers and 72 Ribbies. and has hit .281 in the postseason with 2 homers and 4 Ribbies. Rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger hit .267 in the regular season but knocked 39 out of the park along with 97 Ribbies. He's hitting .278 in the postseason with 2 homers and 4 RBI's. He's going to be the NL Rookie of the year. And awesome shortstop Corey Seager is back for the World Series after being injured for the postseason. That's another huge lift. So It's really a wash in hitting.
if you have the best pitching depth in baseball, you've got a great shot to win it all. The Dodgers have that. Tonight will be a classic with Kershaw and Keuchel going at it and Verlander goes tomorrow night for the Stros after pitching an epic game 6 of the ALCS versus the Yankees. The Stros were down 3-2 in the ALCS to the Yankees and Verlander put on a super clutch performance going 7, giving up 5 hits, 0 runs with a walk and 8 K's, He threw 99 pitches with 70 for strikes against 29 balls, a super 2 1/2: 1 strike-ball ratio. He was hitting 97-98 on the radar gun. So tonight will be a battle, and tomorrow night Verlander gives the Stros the edge. But I like the Dodgers depth in their starting rotation, their 3 lefty starters, and their deep, super talented bullpen. Jansen hits 98-99 routinely. The Dodgers will pitch, defend and hit a little better than the Stros in what should be a superb Series. It's some kind of hot in LA with game time temperature at 103 today and around the same tomorrow night. So they won't have any problem getting loose.
Dodgers in 6
MVP: Kenley Jansen