It’s time to get excited as the Los Angeles Dodgers will return to the World Series in a clash with the Houston Astros.
Now that the Houston Astros have taken care of the New York Yankees in seven games of the American League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers now know who their opponent will be for the World Series. When the Dodgers and Astros face-off in game one on Tuesday it will be the first time both teams meet this year.
Most national media will lament the fact that baseball missed out on another Dodgers-Yankees World Series. It would have been the twelfth meeting for the two teams, and America’s two biggest cities would have been pitted against each other, but we get Astros-Dodgers instead.
Alas, it was not meant to be instead we will have to reminisce about when both the Dodgers and Astros faced each other in the old National League West before baseballs realignment in the 1990’s.
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In 1980 and 1981 both the Astros and Dodgers faced each other in fierce competition. In 1980, the Dodgers came back over an epic weekend winning three straight games to tie the Astros forcing a one game playoff the Astros would win for their first division title.
In 1981, thanks to split season, the Astros and Dodgers met in the first divisional playoff series in baseball history. Again, the Dodgers came back this time eliminating the Astros in five games after starting off down 0-2.
With the Astros now in the American League the rivalry has died down, but it’s about to be renewed.
Thanks to having the best record in baseball the Dodgers will have home-field advantage. The Astros are no slouches either having won 101 games this season. The Astros ran away from the AL West division going into first place on April 14th and never again relinquishing the lead.
The Astros can hit leading all of baseball in batting average, ranking second in home runs, and runs scored. The most dangerous part of their line up may be the pair of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa the middle infielders also make up the heart of the order.
Altuve might be this year’s AL MVP having lead the league with .346 batting average, Wins Above Replacement (WAR) 8.3, and hits with 204. Altuve also hit a career high 24 home runs for the second year in a row.
Carlos Correa matched Altuve also hitting 24 home runs and hitting .316 despite missing 50 games due to an injury. Correa also plays Gold Glove caliber defense at shortstop seemingly getting to every ball in the middle of the infield.
Despite having a middling staff ERA of 4.12 a late season trade for Justin Verlander has given the Astros a formidable 1-2 punch along with starter Dallas Keuchel. In a seven game series each starter is capable of starting two times enough for the required four wins to close out the series.
In the playoffs the duo has combined to win six of the Astros seven wins it took to get to the World Series. They were especially dominant in the ALCS going 3-1 giving up five runs and striking out 39 batters over 27.2 innings. If the Dodgers want to win the series they will have to get through those two starters one way or another.
Winning a seven game series is difficult both teams have strengths and weaknesses, the only thing left to do starting Tuesday is to play the games. So get ready for highlights of Nolan Ryan versus Steve Garvey, it’s going to be a fun one.