The stage is set for the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers to play on baseball’s brightest stage on Tuesday night. This series has the potential to be just as exciting – if not more – as last year’s seven-game thriller between the Cubs and Indians.
This series could not be more evenly matched, which makes it so difficult to predict an overall winner. Both the Astros and Dodgers possess strong starting rotations, a lights-out bullpen, and lineups that can come up with timely runs.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 20, 2017
This postseason has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride thus far, and that was only the appetizer for what is in store for this Fall Classic. It began with the underdog Yankees (that’s a strange thing to say), upsetting an Indians team that came into the postseason red-hot after going 5-4 in September.
And it looked like the Astros may fall to the same fate, but timely hitting and the energy of the home crowd in Games 6 and 7 plunged the Astros into their first World Series appearance since 2005.
The Dodgers road was a bit different as they swept the Wild-Card winner Diamondbacks in the NLDS. They continued that surge when facing the 2016 World Series champs in the NLCS, giving them their first World Series berth since they won it all in 1988.
Let’s take a look at the strengths of each team and then (maybe) decide who has the best chance of winning – there’s a 50/50 shot we are right.
This team is right on schedule with the progress they have made in the last five years. In June of 2014, Sports Illustrated deemed the Astros the ‘2017 World Series Champs’. Which would be extremely spooky if their prophecy comes to fruition.
June 25, 2014. Sports Illustrated cover features Houston Astros rookie George Springer. 😯Is the prophecy coming true? pic.twitter.com/sVoU1hIxru
— ALLWIN568 (@allwin568) October 22, 2017
The Astros lineup will need to remain hot against a difficult staff like the Dodgers. The two guys that must set the tone are Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Altuve, who is the shortest guy in the lineup, has been the most powerful since the playoffs began. He hit three home runs in Game 1 of the ALDS against the eventual 2017 CY Young award winner Chris Sale and has five homers overall in these playoffs.
Aside from his power he is hitting .400 and reaching base 50 percent of the time. Correa, who bats behind Altuve, will be tasked with driving in his batterymate from the middle infield. Correa has hit .295 with three homers, nine RBIs, and has an OBP of .340.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) October 22, 2017
ALCS MVP, Justin Verlander seems to have everything figured out on the mound. But the rest of the Astros pitching staff will need to come up with clutch performances like Charlie Morton’s Game 7 heroics on Saturday night. A solid 5-6 innings will be enough for the Astros to make it to their bullpen and shut the door.
This Dodgers franchise has underachieved over the last 9 years, winning the NL West seven times in the last decade but failing to reach the World Series until now.
On paper, the depth of the Dodgers lineup is absurd. Like the Astros, the Dodgers lineup is chock full of youth like Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Yaseil Puig, and Chris Taylor. On the bench, they have guys like Chase Utley and Curtis Granderson who have experienced plenty of playoff baseball and should be good guides for the young guns in their first Fall Classic.
Kikè Hernandez doesn’t just want to go to the ‘ship, he wants to make some history along the way! 3 bombs, 7 steaks! pic.twitter.com/sJ0U7kSuiM
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) October 20, 2017
The Dodgers have made it this far with explosive hitting from their regular pieces to the lineup and some timely hitting from unlikely sources like Justin Turner, Kike Hernandez, and Taylor. All three come into this World Series red-hot and will be difference makers in Dodger victories.
The Dodgers pitching staff has the slight edge over the Astros’ staff, but will they be able to quiet Houston’s bats? Clayton Kershaw will need to set the tone for his staff in Game 1. He’s had issues with command in the past during the postseason so it will be interesting to see which Kershaw shows up to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.
This prediction is pressing since both teams are pretty evenly matched and seem to have a date with destiny. But our final prediction for this series will be the Houston Astros beat the LA Dodgers in seven games.