How They Got Here:
Los Angeles Dodgers
Astros Hitters to Watch:
George Springer (.283, 34 HR’s, 85 RBI’s)
George Springer is the Astros power hitting leadoff hitter. He has been rather quiet offensively this postseason as he is hitting only .233 with one home run. However, he has surely made his presence felt defensively in centerfield. Look for Springer to provide a little pop out of the leadoff spot this series against the Dodgers starter who get beat by the long ball often. During the regular season, the Connecticut native had a career high and tenth best in the American league, 34 home runs.
Jose Altuve (.346, 24 HR’s, 81 RBI’s)
It is real easy to put Jose Altuve, the most likely AL MVP, as a hitter to watch. Altuve is hitting .400 with five home runs this postseason. Jose Altuve is easily one of, if not, the best hitters in the game today. He won his third batting title by hitting a career high .346 during the regular season. Altuve is the heart of this offense and this whole team. The 5’6″ second baseman will certainly continue to shine during the games biggest stage.
Dodgers Hitters to Watch:
Justin Turner (.322, 21 HR’s, 71 RBI’s)
Justin Turner has easily been the hottest hitter on the Dodgers this postseason. Turner is hitting .387 with three home runs and 12 RBI’s. Over his postseason career, he has an on-base percentage of .482. The NLCS Co-MVP will continue to put up big numbers in the World Series.
Cody Bellinger (.267, 39 HR’s, 97 RBI’s)
The Dodgers bright young rookie has had a bit of a power struggle in the playoffs. After hitting 39 homers in the regular season, Bellinger only has two during the postseason. Look for the 22-year old to bring the power to the World Series in the hitter friendly Minute Made Park.
Astros Probable Starting Pitchers:
- Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA)
- Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.36 ERA)
- Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA)
- Lance McCullers Jr. (7-4, 4.25 ERA)
- Brad Peacock (13-2, 3.00 ERA)
Dallas Keuchel will get the ball on Tuesday night in Game One. Keuchel is 2-1 this postseason with a 2.60 ERA. The Dodgers hitters have very limited experience against him. ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will look to continue his postseason dominance in Game 2. Charlie Morton, a veteran hard thrower is soaring with confidence after his five shutout innings of one-hit ball in Game 7 of the ALCS. Lance McCullers Jr. will likely round out the rotation as has confidence is also sky high as he threw his four scoreless innings out of the bullpen behind Morton in Game 7. McCullers will rely on that wicked curveball of his, which he threw 24 straight times to close out Game 7. Brad Peacock had a breakout 2017 season, and he is also an option for A.J. Hinch to start in Game 3 or 4.
Dodgers Probable Starting Pitchers:
- Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA)
- Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA)
- Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA)
- Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA)
Clayton Kershaw is Clayton Kershaw. There isn’t much to say about him, simply he is the best pitcher in the game. When Kershaw takes the mound Tuesday night, he will be making his first World Series appearance. Despite the poor career numbers in the postseason (6-7, 4.40 ERA) Kershaw is going to shine on the biggest stage. Rich Hill has allowed only two runs and struck out twelve in his two playoff starts. Yu Darvish is a No.1 starter getting the ball in Game 3 which is a game changer. Darvish could also have an advantage having faced the Astros lineup so often with the Rangers. Alex Wood, funky motion and all, is going to have to limit the home run ball to be successful against this dangerous powerful Houston lineup. With such a solid bullpen, Dave Roberts should only ask for five-six innings out of his starters.
The Dodger bullpen shutdown the Cubs bats in the NLCS, as they didn’t score a single run in 17 innings. Closer Kenley Jansen is fresh, but when he has pitched he has been lights out as he has retired 24 of the 28 batters he has faced. Lefties Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani have shutdown opposing teams southpaws.
On the other hand, Houston’s bullpen wasn’t very reliable in the ALCS. Middle relievers Joe Musgrove, Will Harris, and Chris Devenski were roughed up by the Yankees. Closer Ken Giles is a hard thrower, but has been shaky at times this postseason. Houston will likely rely on their starters to go deeper into games.
Regardless of the outcome, this is going to be a fun series to watch. Right off the bat we are treated to Clayton Kershaw vs Dallas Keuchel. The bullpens are going to be the difference in this one, as we have seen in years past. Despite that, I’m taking Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros to win their first World Series in franchise history. Houston in Seven Games, Let’s Go Stros!