For the first time since the Reds and Orioles in 1970 and for only the eighth time in history, the World Series will feature a pair of teams who both finished the regular season with 100 or more wins. The series will start Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
The Houston Astros will be playing in their second World Series in franchise history. They were swept by the Chicago White Sox in their only other appearance in 2005. With their game seven victory on Saturday night, they became the first team in league history to have won both the NL and AL pennant. Their World Series run was fueled by Justin Verlander, who has pitched well since joining the team, and their young core, led by perhaps the best hitter on the planet, Jose Altuve.
The Astros were arguably the best offensive team in baseball this year. They led the league in team batting average (.282), OPS (.823) and runs scored (896). Altuve has undoubtedly been their spark this postseason. He has slashed .400/.500/.775 while hitting five home runs and only striking out seven times. What makes his seven strikeouts even more impressive is the fact he’s walked eight times this postseason.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Astros set their lineup in games one and two. With no DH and Josh Reddick struggling this postseason it wouldn’t be a surprise to see manager A.J. Hinch change the order around. He has options with veteran Carlos Beltran, utility man Marwin González, and speedy Cameran Maybin to use in the outfield as well.
Dallas Keuchel is set to the bump in game one, followed by Verlander in game two. From there, look for Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr as candidates for games three and four in Houston. They’ll be hot coming off a combined shutout in game seven of the ALCS on Saturday night. Brad Peacock is also someone to look for to start as well after posting a 13-2 record this season with a 3.00 ERA.
The Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in their first Fall Classic since their last world title in 1988. They’ve had a dominant regular season and postseason thus far. As the clear favorites in the NL the Dodgers seemingly waltzed their way into the World Series. This was in large part due to their dominant pitching and hitting all season and postseason long.
The only question for them is if Corey Seager will be back or not after being left off of the NLCS roster. However, manager Dave Roberts is “very confident” he’ll have his young shortstop back. Their rotation is just about set too. Clayton Kershaw is their game one starter, followed by either Rich Hill or Yu Darvish in game two. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hill in game two and let Darvish throw down in Houston in game three, given his prior playing history in the state of Texas. Alex Wood should be set to take the bump in game four.
The Dodgers lineup has endless possibilities, especially when the series shifts to Houston and they have a DH. So far this postseason they have hit .273/.378/.494 while averaging six runs per game as a team.
There shouldn’t be any doubt when it comes to the Dodgers bullpen either. In eight postseason games they own a 0.94 ERA with 32 strikeouts and only two walks. On top of that, they carry a postseason-record 23-inning scoreless streak into the series. Talk about lights out.
One final thing is for sure, both teams can win at home. They are a combined 10-0 at home so far in the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top as we could very well be in the making of a World Series for the ages.