A quick recap of our predictions so far this MLB Playoffs. We got 1 of the 2 Wild Card games correct. The Dbacks threw us for a loop as they beat the Rockies in the NL Wild Card. In the Divisional Series round we were a bit off as we attempted to predict all 5 games of the Series at one time and wound up predicting just 9 games correct of the 17 played. However, we found that when looking at just Games 1 & 2 we predicted 6 of 8 accurately. So, we changed up our method for the Conference Championship round and it worked great as we correctly predicted 9 of the 11 games and got both Pennant winners correct. We even predicted the exact game that Aaron Judge would break out of his postseason slump 3 days before it happened.
Now we are prepared to continue our previews and predictions for the World Series. This is the matchup that we were hoping for as this matchup provides the most excitement.
The Dodgers and the Astros both have their own stories of how they came to this point. For the Dodgers they have experienced the highest high at the beginning of the season as they can out of the gates red hot before hitting one of the lowest lows of all time as they went on a 1-16 slide midseason. While many had counted them out, they were able to right the ship and get back into form just before the season ended. In the playoffs they have been dominant, losing just 1 game so far and outscoring their opponents 48-19.
As for the Astros, have had quite a bit of success throughout the season as they were well ahead of their competition in the American League Central, finishing the season 21 games ahead of the second place Angels and just 1 win shy of the top team in the American League. They also landed one of the biggest trades of the year when they got Justin Verlander at the Trade deadline. The Astros have been firing on all cylinders since Verlander joined the team and posted an outstanding 22-8 record to end the season. But the Astros’ story goes beyond baseball. Just a few days before Verlander landed in Houston, another devastating force landed in the city of Houston. Hurricane Harvey dropped record breaking rainfall on the city and caused massive flooding. The effects devastated the community and even forced the Astros to relocate for a series against the Rangers. Houston residents are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey and the Houston players have been doing their part in the form of donations. But they have also been doing their part in another significant way. They are giving their community a reason to celebrate and escape from the tragic reality of their circumstances, even if just for a few hours.
Both teams have gone quite some time without reaching the ultimate prize in baseball. The Astros reached the World Series in 2005 where they were swept by the White Sox. This was the only World Series appearance for the Astros, meaning they are still looking to win their first World Series game in franchise history. The Dodgers have had much success between 1947 and 1988 as they reached the World Series 15 teams, winning it 6 times. They have won the NL West for the 5th consecutive season this year, but their success ended there as they have gone 13-17 in postseason play the last 4 seasons and dismal 22-37 since their last World Series appearance in 1988.
The biggest pitching story of this year’s World Series will revolve around Verlander and Kershaw who are both looking to prove their critics wrong.
Verlander has started 3 World Series games in his career up to this point and has struggled mightily. He has yet to win a World Series game and holds a pitiful 7.20 ERA over 15 innings of World Series play. He is looking to show the baseball world that he has what it takes to win when it’s all on the line and show that his previous struggles in the World Series are a thing of the past.
As for Kershaw, this will be his first World Series
appearance, but has earned a reputation as a postseason choker. Before this year’s postseason, Kershaw was 4-7 in postseason play and had a 4.55 ERA. He struggled again in his NLDS start, giving up 4 runs over 6.1 innings, but got back to form in the NLCS by allowing 3 runs over 11 innings. Now is his opportunity to prove to his critics that he is not just a dominant regular season pitcher, but a dominant pitcher in the World Series as well.
Other key pieces will be Dallas Keuchel, who was battered in his last start against the Yankees. Astros fans are hoping that his last outing was just a hiccup and he will be back in dominant form for the World Series. Charlie Morton showed that he is a worthy big game pitcher when he shut down the Yankees to secure the clinching win in Game 7 of the ALCS. On the back end, the Astros bullpen will be looking to redeem itself after their performance up to this point in the postseason. The Astros bullpen has allowed 19 runs this postseason.
In comparison, the Dodgers bullpen has only allowed 3 runs. The #2 pitcher for the Dodgers, Yu Darvish, has been pitching like the ace this postseason as he has allowed just 2 runs over 11.1 innings while striking out 14 batters. Rich Hill is also someone worth watching as he has been pulled from his 2 postseason starts early, but has been solid. He has pitched 9 innings and allowed 3 runs while striking out 12 this postseason.
We have also seen outstanding defense throughout the playoffs and expect to see some more great plays in the World Series.
So far this postseason, there has been several memorable feats of offense by both teams. Jose Altuve has put his name in the record books alongside Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as one of just 9 players to hit 3 homeruns in a single postseason game. He also has a .400 batting average throughout the playoffs while his teammates Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa have done more than pull their own weight. Correa leads the team with 8 RBI this postseason and is the 3rd highest of any player this year. Correa also shares the lead with Gurriel for most doubles hit this postseason. Gurriel also has the second most hits this postseason behind Altuve and holds an impressive .366 average. The Astros have also hit 12 homeruns so far in their 11 postseason games.
The Dodgers have been on a another level of hitting this postseason with 13 homeruns in just 8 games. They are also batting .273 as a team this postseason primarily on the back of Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner. Puig is having an outstanding postseason with a .414 average and .514 OBP, while Turner has been providing the power with 3 homeruns and 12 RBI. Enrique Hernandez has also provided some power in his limited role as he broke out in the NLCS with 3 homeruns, 7 RBI and a .444 average for the series.
This will be a thriller of a World Series and we cannot wait for Tuesday night. Stay tuned for our preview of Games 1 & 2 to be posted tomorrow.