The 2017 World Series begins this week in Los Angeles, Calif. at Dodgers Stadium as the Dodgers of the National League host the Houston Astros of the American League. There are many storylines that come to mind with the Dodgers and Astros facing off, but the biggest has to be how similar the two teams are along with how similar the two teams’ seasons have been.
For each of these teams, there was a point in the regular season where they were far and away the favorites to win the World Series. The Astros started their season 42-16 and arguably had the best offense and pitching staff in all of the MLB. Then when they were decimated by injuries during the middle third of the season, they cooled off but still ended up with the second best record in the AL.
The Dodgers had a decent start to the season going 36-25, but after that they went on a historically great run. Throughout the months of June, July and most of August, the Dodgers went 55-1, which is the best run over that many games in MLB history. But then they followed that up by losing 16 out of 17 games. They still finished the season with the best record in the NL, but they weren’t playing their best ball going into October.
Another similarity these two teams have are their rosters in general. Both teams have great top end starting pitching. The Astros are led by Dallas Keuchel, newly acquired Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr., while the Dodgers are led by CY Young Winner Clayton Kershaw, newly acquired Yu Darvish and Rich Hill.
Both teams also have amazing lineups. The Dodgers are led by Chris Taylor, Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig, while the Astros are led by George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Ironically enough, the Dodgers led the MLB this season in earned run average and the Astros led this season in runs scored.
There are a few keys to this series. The first is how can the Astros’ pitching staff play away from home? The Astros are 1-4 this postseason away from Minute Maid Park and have let up 33 runs in those 5 games. For them to win the World Series, they are going to need to win at least one game at Dodgers Stadium.
The second key to the series is how will the Dodgers’ left-handed pitchers fare against the right-handed dominant Astros lineup? Kershaw and Hill both don’t have great track records in the postseason and the first five hitters the Astros have are all right-handed in Springer, Bregman, Altuve, Correa and Yulieski Gurriel.
Lastly, how will each team’s bullpen perform? Neither one of these teams have a particularly outstanding bullpen, but as we saw last year in the World Series and earlier this postseason, having a strong bullpen with good depth is pivotal to win it all. These two teams match up very well against each other, but I’m taking the Dodgers to win their first title since 1988.