If you root for underdogs, then this year’s World Series matchup isn’t for you. The Dodgers and Astros are both absolute powerhouses and have been two of the most fun teams to watch all season.
But who has the edge in this exciting series? Let’s break it down…
It looks like Clayton Kershaw has finally gotten the postseason monkey off his back… *knocks on wood*. Some might expect Kershaw crumble under the bright lights all over again, but I don’t. I refuse to doubt arguably the best pitcher of all time, regardless of his past postseason struggles.
As for the rest of the Dodgers rotation, Kershaw will be followed by Rich Hill, Yu Darvish, and Alex Wood in that order. That’s pretty solid, but they’re going against the best offense in baseball. I don’t know how much I trust Hill and Wood to get the job done. One or both of them is bound to get rocked.
That being said, Kershaw and Darvish is a lethal combination, and a quality start from Hill or Wood could be the difference in this series.
The Astros have a lethal combo of their own in Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. Houston’s acquisition of Verlander has paid off in a big way as he’s been lights out ever since joining his new team.
After Keuchel and Verlander, it’ll probably be Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton. Both are coming off outstanding performances vs the Yankees in the ALCS. But when looking at their complete body of work, I have a hard time picturing them keeping it up against a Dodgers team that has been on fire throughout the playoffs.
Kenley Jansen. I’m just going to leave it at that. Jansen is virtually unhittable and is the key to this series for Los Angeles.
This is where the Astros are most vulnerable. Ken Giles is solid, but not a sure thing like Jansen. The rest of the bullpen could be an issue in this series, forcing Houston to bring in their starters. That strategy has failed teams time and time again this postseason.
Can Justin Turner keep up this torrid pace? There’s no reason to believe he can’t. He has established himself as one of the premier hitters in the game.
Then you have the inevitable NL Rookie Of the Year, Cody Bellinger. His threatening presence in the middle of L.A.’s lineup speaks for itself, and the scary young talent doesn’t stop there. Chris Taylor has been incredible, and Corey Seager is set to return from an injury that kept him out the entire NLCS.
All of that, combined with the fact Yasiel Puig lives for the big stage, means the Astros pitching staff has their work cut out for them….
…but the Astros offense is even better. In fact, it’s the best in baseball. Their 896 runs scored as a team led the majors in the regular season.
As if dealing with potential AL MVP Jose Altuve wasn’t enough, the Dodgers will also have to find ways to get George Springer and Carlos Correa out. Marwin Gonzalez, Yuli Gurriel, and Evan Gattis are all threats to hit the ball out of the yard at any given moment as well. You really could name everyone on the lineup card from top to bottom and every single one of them can be a nightmare for opposing pitchers.
Pick: Dodgers in 7
It won’t be easy, but Los Angeles gets it done thanks to the Kershaw/Jansen factor. And while their offense isn’t quite as good on paper as the Astros’, it can hold its own.
We’ve got a hell of a series coming our way, folks. This is about as even of a matchup we can get between two of the best teams the sport has to offer. Buckle up.