…And Then, There Were Two
The 2017 World Series will begin on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. The Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Houston Astros to kick off the best of seven series. Four wins, that is all it takes for the MLB to crown its next champion. Both teams are filled to the brim with talent. The Dodgers will have home-field advantage in the series, after winning 104 games during the regular season. It is their first trip to the WS since 1988. The Astros last went to the World Series in 2005, and got swept by the Chicago White Sox.
Houston has been riding the backs of AL-MVP favorite Jose Altuve, who has posted an astounding .400/.500/.775 line in the postseason that includes five home runs and 8 walks. They’ve also had outstanding outings from guys like Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. Houston led the major leagues with 5.53 runs per game this year, and had a team .478 slugging percentage, which is the highest mark of any team since the 2003 Red Sox. Their lineup that scored 501 runs on the road in 2017, practically disappeared in the ALCS.
The Yankees pitching certainly quieted them down, holding them to a .181/.271/.294 slash line, averaging under three runs per game. The reason the Astros are in the World Series is because they scored 11 of their 20 runs in the series in game 6 & 7, which they both won. They will have to put up numbers like this if they want to stand a chance against the Dodgers.
On the other side, Los Angeles, has just be absolutely dominant as a whole this off-season. Led by top five NL hitter Justin Turner, mixed in with young all stars like Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers have simply been almost impossible to stop. Their starting pitching has been great, what else could you expect when you see guys like Yu Darvish as their #3 starter. Clayton Kershaw continues to dominate in the postseason, but the advantage the Dodgers have in this series is their bullpen. Led by Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers bullpen has let up just two runs in 28 ⅓ innings this postseason. At times they’ve made it seem almost impossible to score runs off of them. They posted a 0.94 ERA with 32 strikeouts. They have a postseason-record 23 inning scoreless streak.
The Dodgers won 104 games this season compared to the Astros 101 games, which makes this the first time since 1970 that the World Series has two 100-win teams. The Dodgers hit their hot streak in early June, going on a ridiculous 52-9 stretch that gave them 90 wins with a week left to play in August. They also held the best record in baseball for the last 86 games of the season.
Home field advantage should play a huge factor in this series. Home teams have a 23-8 record, which stands as the best mark in the Wild Card era. The Astros are 6-0 in Houston, while the Dodgers are 4-0 in Los Angeles. They have a history of playing well at home, they had a league best 57-24 record at home, and have 165 wins at home in the last 3 seasons, 11 more than any other team.
In a series that home field advantage seems to play a huge advantage for both teams, it’s hard not to predict the dodgers to win the series. Home field aside, the Dodgers pitching staff and lineup both have a lot of firepower that will be hard for Houston to handle.
Dodgers in 6.