Posted on October 24, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
After an exhilarating ALCS that was the personification of playoff baseball, the World Series is poised to get underway Tuesday night in Los Angeles. If someone said at the all-star break that the World Series would be played between the Dodgers and Astros, most people would have been excited to watch. These were two of the best teams in baseball all season, and it’s fitting that they’ll meet with a championship on the line.
Rest vs. Momentum
For the third straight series, the Dodgers have four days off in between games. It didn’t seem to bother them on the two previous occasions, so there’s little reason to think it’ll be an issue now. However, the Dodgers were head and shoulders above the two previous teams they played, which may not be the case with the Astros. If there are any signs of rust or a lack of sharpness because of the time off, Houston is good enough to exploit it.
Meanwhile, the Astros have had two days off since winning Game 7 of the ALCS. But they also had to come down from their celebration and travel to Los Angeles. They may not be as fresh as the Dodgers, but they may have some momentum after an emotional win over the Yankees in the ALCS. If they can ride that momentum to a win in Game 1, it’ll change the look of the series for the team that’s considered an underdog.
Pitching on regular rest, Clayton Kershaw will take the mound in Game 1 for the Dodgers. Once again, Kershaw has not been as good in the postseason as he is in the regular season. However, he’s been better than he’s been in previous postseasons, going 2-0 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts. Last time out, he allowed just one run on three hits over six innings. He’s gotten better in each subsequent start this postseason, so he could be poised to pitch a gem against a tough Houston lineup.
The Astros will give the ball to Dallas Keuchel to Game 1. Keuchel will actually have an extra day of rest since his last outing when he suffered the first playoff loss of his career. Against the Yankees in Game 5, Keuchel let up four runs over 4.2 innings. Of course, he still has extraordinary playoff numbers overall, so there’s no reason to think that Keuchel won’t be at the top of his game against the Dodgers, setting up a heavyweight fight between the two lefties taking the mound.
One player to keep an eye on in Game 1 is Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe. He’s one of only two players projected to be in the Los Angeles lineup who have faced Keuchel previously. The other is Chris Taylor, who has struck out in all three at-bats. Forsythe, however, is 7 for 20 (.350), so he’s had some success against Keuchel, albeit with just one extra-base hit against him. Forsythe has also had a productive postseason, hitting .316 while helping to neutralize left-handed pitchers. He has a chance to keep that up in Game 1 and become a surprise hero for the Dodgers.
With Kershaw getting better with each start this postseason and the top of Houston’s lineup, George Springer and Josh Reddick, struggling to get it going during the ALCS, the Dodgers are poised to take Game 1. Keuchel should have a good outing, but Los Angeles has too many quality right-handed hitters. Eventually, the Dodgers will string some hits together and get some runs across. Los Angeles wins 5-1.