Ladies and Gentleman the World Series, the Fall Classic is here and I couldn’t be happier. We have an awesome matchup here with two 100 plus win teams. This is just the 7th time in Major League Baseball’s history where two 100 win teams are facing off in the World Series and the first time since 1970 when the Reds and Orioles competed. This is going to be a high quality series and is going to make for an awesome Tuesday night Game 1 matchup. Dallas Keuchel looks like he will be the starter for the Astros and Clayton Kershaw the starter for the Dodgers. First, let’s get in to a little bit about the teams.
This will be just the second World Series appearance for the Astros and their first appearance representing the American League. The Astros had been a member of the National League for their entire history up until a move to the American League in 2013. The Astros have just 7 division titles in their history and 3 Wild Card Appearance. If that doesn’t tell you this is the complete opposite of a storied franchise you don’t follow baseball.
Back in 2005 however, the Astros were an elite baseball team that made the World Series. Anchored by a pitching staff of Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettite and Roger Clemens and with players like Lance Berkman, Braud Ausmus and Hall of Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, this was an epic team. Still, they would go on to be a disappointment in the World Series as they would go on to get swept by the Chicago White Sox.
The Los Angeles Dodgers on the other hand are a much more storied franchise. Originally the Brooklyn Dodgers, the team headed to the West Coast permanently in 1958 settling in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have 6 World Series titles, only one of them in Brooklyn and have been to the World Series 22 times. There most recent championship came in 1988 and that is also the last time they have made it to the World Series.
The Dodgers are also a storied franchise for a different reason because they are the first team to employ and start an African American player. This player just so happened to be a bonafide stud. His name was Jackie Robinson and he happens to be one of the most renowned person, let alone athlete in American History. Robinson has his number retired at every single ballpark in America due to his accomplishments on and off the field.
In terms of this specific matchup, look for a highly competitive series. The Dodgers had a much easier time than the Astros in terms of getting here as the Dodgers swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Divisional Series and beat last year’s World Series winner Chicago Cubs in 5 games in the Championship Series. The Astros while easily destroying the cupcake Red Sox in 5 games had a much more difficult time in the ALCS. Getting off to a strong 2-0 start in the series versus the Yankees, they would go on to lose 3 in a row at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Going back to Houston, the Astros would win the following two games in what was a hard fought 7 game series.
When I predict a baseball series, I start out with who are the managers and then who are the pitchers. I give the Dodgers the upper hand easily on this front with Dave Roberts over AJ Hinch. In terms of the pitching staffs, this is where things get interesting. While many believe Clayton Kershaw has under performed in his career in the Post Season, you are kidding yourself if you don’t admit the man is the best pitcher of this generation. Kershaw has been lights out in his last two starts and I expect that to continue in the World Series. The Dodgers also have a better bullpen than the Astros led by closer Kenley Jansen who has yet to allow a run in the Post Season and recorded 41 saves in the regular season with a 1.32 ERA. Jansen should have had plenty of more saves if not for the Dodgers running everyone out of the ballpark.
This isn’t to say the Astros don’t have good pitching. In fact they have great pitching led by Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. Without that midseason acquisition to bring Verlander along the Astros probably lose to the Yankees. I am just giving the Dodgers the upper hand with all things considered which is why I am going with Dodgers in 6 games. It will be extremely exciting with guys like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger. I am excited. You should be excited let’s all enjoy this greatness.