Will Clayton Kershaw show the world that he can be a dominant World Series pitcher? Or will the Astros finally win their first World Series game in franchise history? We are here to let you know what we think.
Game 1 is expected to be a masterful pitching duel as Dallas Keuchel faces off with Clayton Kershaw. Though I would prefer a dream matchup between Kershaw and Verlander, this one will have to do. Keuchel was outstanding in his first 2 starts of the postseason, allowing just 1 run on 7 hits through 12.2 innings while striking out 17 batters. Unfortunately his last outing did not go so well as the Yankees tagged him for 4 runs in 4.2 innings.
On the other hand, Kershaw has been getting better with each start this postseason. After allowing 4 runs in 6.1 innings in his only start of the NLDS, he cut his runs allowed in half with 2 over 5 innings in his first start of the NLCS. His second and last start of the NLCS was his best as he gave up just 1 run on 3 hits over 6 innings.
The Game 2 matchup will feature Verlander vs Rich Hill. This may be a smart move for the Dodgers pairing Verlander up with Hill and saving Darvish for Game 3. Verlander has been unstoppable since joining the Astros on August 31st. Since becoming an Astro, Verlander is 9-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 67 strikeouts through 58.2 innings. Rich Hill has also pitched well so far in the postseason despite being pulled early in his 2 starts. He has allowed just 3 runs on 6 hits this postseason in 2 games, but has been pulled after 4 innings in the NLDS and after the 5th inning of the NLCS. An interesting occurrence as Hill has allowed just 1 run and 4 hits after the 5th inning all season and that one run came in extra innings.
Both Keuchel and Kershaw will come out strong to start Game 1. They will give up 1 or 2 hits through the first 3 innings before dealing with some control issues in the 3rd or 4th inning before settling back in. By the time they exit the game there will be no more than a 1 run lead for either team. The game will be handed off to the bullpen where the Astros will continue their struggles and give up the winning runs. With a 1-0 lead in the series the Dodgers will go into Game 2 with a positive attitude just as they have throughout the playoffs. Justin Verlander will look to wipe away those smiles as he pitches a dominant first half of the game. The Dodgers will see many strikeouts as Verlander deals once again and pitches deep into the game. He will give up one or two runs on a homerun later in the game before turning it over to the bullpen to close it out. The Astros offense will remain quiet in the early innings of Game 2 before showing a burst of output by Gurriel and Altuve off Hill in the middle innings. They will have another inning of offense led by Correa and Springer later in the game to give the bullpen a bigger cushion to work with. The Astros bullpen will keep you on the edge of your seat by allowing several baserunners, but will ultimately get the job done to tie up the series at 1-1.