WORLD SERIES PREVIEW

Breaking down the Astros and Dodgers in the World Series

Dallas Keuchel will start Game 1. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers will start the World Series on Tuesday night. There are numerous angles to look at in preparation for this series, including the fact that these teams are a lot alike.

First, let's take a look at the World Series schedule:

  Date  Location Probable Pitchers
Game 1           Tues., Oct 24              Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles                         Keuchel v. Kershaw                          
Game 2 Wed., Oct 25 Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Verlander v. TBD
Game 3 Fri., Oct 27 Minute Maid Park, Houston TBD
Game 4 Sat., Oct 28 Minute Maid Park, Houston TBD
Game 5* Sun., Oct 29 Minute Maid Park, Houston TBD
Game 6* Tue., Oct 31 Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles     TBD
Game 7* Wed., Nov 1

 

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

TBD

* - If Necessary
All Games Start at 7PM Central on FOX

Now, let's break down how these teams match up:

Playoff Performance: The Dodgers are 7-1 in the playoffs to this point after a sweep of the Diamondbacks in the NLDS and a 4-1 series win over the defending champion Cubs in the NLCS. The Astros are 7-4 after a 3-1 win in the ALDS over the Red Sox and a 4-3 win in the ALCS over the Yankees. A case can be made for either team in this regard; a team that's had easy wins to this point could get trapped while a team that's only been good enough to scathe by could become the next team in line to get dominated.

Starting Rotation: The Dodgers have arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball in Clayton Kershaw and picked up Yu Darvish from the Rangers in a trade this year to further boost their rotation. Past those two, the Dodgers have Rich Hill who has been decent in the playoffs and Alex Wood who had a terrific regular season. The Astros have Dallas Keuchel who despite his last start has looked to be back in Cy Young form, and Justin Verlander who has been near perfect in an Astros uniform. The Astros also have Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers who combined for a shutout win over the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS and may find themselves in the 3 and 4 spots in the World Series rotation.

Offense: After three bad games in New York, the Astros' offense was able to bounce back and show that they are still one of the best offenses in baseball. Jose Altuve leads the way, hitting .400 in the playoffs with five home runs and eight RBIs. Past Altuve, the Astros have the hot bats of Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa who have combined for 18 RBIs in the postseason. The Dodgers offense, while maybe not as potent as the Astros, is still strong. The Dodgers have averaged six runs per game in the playoffs highlighted with their most recent game, an 11-1 rout of the Cubs in Chicago where Enrique Hernandez hit three homers. Justin Turner leads the Dodgers in postseason RBIs with twelve.

Bullpen: Kenley Jansen, the closer for the Dodgers, has been one of the best relievers in the league all year including the playoffs where he has appeared seven times and has thrown twelve strikeouts and given up just two hits. For the Astros, their bullpen has had their woes in the playoffs. Usual pillars like Chris Devenski and Joe Musgrove have combined to allow seven runs in five and two-thirds innings in the playoffs. Ken Giles has not looked as strong in the playoffs to this point as he did in the regular season where he was capable of coming in and getting three strikeouts in the ninth day after day.

With a matchup as good as this one, it means home field advantage is that much more important. The Astros will need to steal one of the first two in Los Angeles in hopes they can continue their dominance at home to get a dominating lead in the series and get their first championship. The Dodgers will likewise hope to get past Keuchel and Verlander with 1-2 wins and try to steal some games in Houston to put them in good shape too.

This will definitely be a fun series to watch. I see very little chance this ends up being a repeat of the 2005 World Series where the Astros were swept in four games because of these teams matching up so well. I could easily see this going seven games, and although I would consider the Dodgers the favorites, I would not be surprised at all to watch the Astros bring Houston a championship to cap off what has already been an amazing, memorable year.

Win or lose, this season has been historic. This team has put a city on their backs and they deserve to be in the national spotlight. Four more wins will make them legends. 

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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