The 2017 World Series pits the two best MLB teams against one another, so how can we handicap the series? Los Angeles Dodgers versus Houston Astros offers only one real advantage.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
The two best teams for most of the MLB regular season have reached the World Series. On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers host the Houston Astros for game one, with Clayton Kershaw facing Dallas Keuchel.
It has been a weird postseason, at least as weird as it could be with two essential favorites making it through. The Dodgers have had a surprisingly easy time of things despite their starting pitching being sort of blah. They have only lost one game during these playoffs and have the lowest team ERA. And yet, they have just 42.1 innings out of their starters, by far the lowest of the four teams in the LCS.
Before this World Series matchup, we would have guessed that Dodger starting pitching would be the main advantage LA had over Houston. Instead, it’s been the Astros starters who have excelled, and the LA bullpen that is unhittable. Los Angeles relievers are allowing a .125 opponent average and have a 32-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in nearly 30 playoff innings.
On offense, no one has hit that well this postseason, including the best regular season offense in the league, the Astros. Well, one team has hit well: the Dodgers, and without their star shortstop. Again, this is a flipped script from what we would have expected coming in. The Yankees pitching was really good, which held down Houston for nearly the entire series. But even still, the Astros’ offense was supposed to carry them. I don’t know if it’s a good sign or a bad sign that it didn’t. Maybe they are primed to break out.
All that’s to say it is nearly impossible to handicap this World Series. My gut says the Astros win the series, but the evidence thus far says the Dodgers will. They have yet to be tested because they have been the best team, as they were during the full year. Who knows. Gut instinct, I’m going with Houston in six games. The two teams split games one and two in LA. Then Houston takes two of three at home before closing out the series in LA in game six. The Astros capture their first World Series title in franchise history.
You’ve presented some sound logic, but missed one statistic that seems all too powerful to ignore this postseason. Home field advantage has been a real and powerful weapon for every team thus far. The home team won every game of the ALCS and all but two games of the AL Division series. The National league series were a bit more balanced, with the road teams winning three times in the Division series and twice in the NLCS. Los Angeles was responsible for the majority of those road victories. This is a powerful stat, considering the Dodgers hold home field advantage in the 2017 World Series.
Houston’s bats began to wake up at home towards the end of the ALCS, yet they were all too quiet when playing on the road. Game one will determine the way the World Series plays out. If the Dodgers can keep the Astros off the scoreboard, then I don’t see Houston doing enough to ever win in Los Angeles. Momentum has been huge for both of these teams. Playing at home gives the Dodgers the advantage. It’s up to them to keep it.
Not so coincidentally, both the Dodgers and Astros added the best pitcher in the game to their rotations at the trade deadline. Houston nabbed Justin Verlander while Los Angeles stole Yu Darvish. These two clubs feel very even and both dominated all season long. There is little to separate them, besides home field advantage. I’m picking Los Angeles in six games because I believe the Dodgers once again steal a game on the road in the 2-3-2 format.
Personally, I’m torn in regards to rooting interest. I’d love to see Houston capture its first ever World Series title. That is a sweet thing to have happen, especially after the city was devastated by a natural disaster over the summer. Yet I’m from Los Angeles and like the Dodgers, even if the Yankees are my team. I’ll be rooting for my hometown club. Dodgers baseball is truly back, even if it took an inconceivable amount of money to make it happen.
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Dan Salem is Lead Editor, Staff Writer, and Featured Vlogger at BuzzChomp. He’s also a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, as well as an Actor, Writer, Director and Producer. Get lost in his Youtube comedy channel PillowTalk TV. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Instagram.
Todd Salem is a Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also the New York Giants Lead Writer at Pro Football Spot, a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, and a Featured Columnist at College Sports Madness, among others. Follow him on Twitter.
2017 World Series Photo Credits: True Blue LA and Fox News
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