Press Box Perspective: A Matchup Predicted, Yet Different

By Seth Rivello

The 2017 Major League Baseball playoffs were a bumpy ride for many baseball fans. The defending champion Chicago Cubs were taken down by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, which is the series before the World Series. The number one seed Cleveland Indians were knocked off after choking away a 2-0 series lead by the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series.

A team that seemed pushed out of the way for bigger stories, such as Yankees star Aaron Judge, the Dodgers pitching and Cleveland choking, was the Houston Astros. The Astros were a number two seed and immediately made their presence known by taking down the Boston Red Sox then moving on to crush the Yankees’ dreams.

This is the first World Series for the Astros since becoming a part of the league in 1965, and the first appearance for the Dodgers since 1988 where they beat the Oakland Athletics. It’s nice to see two new teams fighting for the Commissioner’s Trophy even though they were no underdogs, being seeded high. Usually you see the same teams in the World Series, like San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Red Sox, or Yankees.

The Dodgers rolled through the playoffs with great pitching, something it prides itself on. Starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and Kenta Maeda combined for six of the seven playoff wins and combined for an earned run average of 1.74. Reliable relief pitcher Kenley Jansen remained hot in the postseason pitching eight innings striking out 12 batters with a 0.00 ERA. This is something the Dodgers look to ride through the World Series and hopefully the seasons to come.

The Dodgers offense is nothing to blow off either. This postseason, Yasiel Puig, Charlie Culberson, and Enrique Hernandez are all batting over .400. Justin Turner, who’s leading the team with 12 RBIs, is batting over .310 along with Logan Forsythe. Cody Bellinger had 39 home runs in the regular season and looks to pick it up to add to his postseason total of two.

Like the Dodgers, the Astros strive on great pitching. The ’Stros acquired savvy veteran Justin Verlander late in the season hoping he could make a huge impact, which he did. Verlander only started five regular season games for the ’Stros but he won all five.

In the postseason he has four wins, with 24 strikeouts, and a ERA of 1.46. Verlander isn’t the only stud pitcher though. Dallas Keuchel has one more strikeout than Verlander, two wins, and a 2.60 ERA. Young Lance McCullers Jr. has also made an impact with his 13 strikeouts and 2.08 ERA.

Overall, this should be a great pitching matchup while I personally think the Dodgers have an advantage.

Houston doesn’t have a great offense, even though they do have Jose Altuve batting .400 and a couple guys in the high .200s. Yuli Gurriel, George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Altuve will keep this team alive but who knows for how many game.

The Dodgers have the Astros in pitching and offensive power. It’s an interesting matchup to see but it looks one-sided, a healthy Kershaw, and hot Darvish and Maeda, topped with a reliving Jansen is hard to topple.