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Astros, Dodgers On Collision Course for Fall Classic

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Astros, Dodgers On Collision Course for Fall Classic

Jhair Romero, Sports Editor

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The 2017 MLB playoffs are almost here, and with the playoffs comes everybody’s prediction for which two teams are going to be on top and play in the World Series.

Although this year, there has been one prediction that has been circling around the baseball world since the start of the season in April, and that is that the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers will make their way through the playoffs and go head-to-head in baseball’s fall classic.

The idea of an Astros-Dodgers World series matchup has been a fan favorite for a while now. People are excited for the potential of a series with the best hitting in baseball and the best pitching in baseball.

According to a story on CalltothePen.com, Tim Haberin says that unpredictability is a big part of baseball, and that this season might just be as predictable as last season, which ended with the season-long favorite Chicago Cubs winning it all.

“One of the greatest things about baseball is unpredictability… However, is the 2017 campaign marching toward a similar sense of inevitability?” said Haberin

Why wouldn’t this Astros-Dodgers World series be inevitable? This scenario is completely possible if you consider the fact that they are two of the best teams in Major League Baseball. The Astros have been on fire this season, sporting a third-best 91-58 record. Their first half was the best in the American League after earning themselves a 61-29 record at the All-Star Break. The Dodgers have also been impressive with a 97-56 record and a nine-game lead in their division, the National League West.

The Astros hit a rough patch after the All-Star break because of a thumb injury to star shortstop Carlos Correa that required surgery and a 6-week recovery. Correa returned during an 8-6 win against the New York Mets, just as the team acquired six-time All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander from the Detroit Tigers and outfielder Cameron Maybin off of waivers.

Verlander has already made his presence felt on this Astros team, pitching three wins so far. Verlander’s arm is exactly what the already stacked Astros bullpen needed. With the likes of starting pitchers Dallas Keuchel, Mike Fiers, and Lance McCullers Jr. already on this pitching staff, the addition of Verlander can take the Astros very far into this postseason.

In an interview with ESPN, Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch says that he told Verlander about the team’s potential, and that Houston is where he needs to be to earn himself a ring.

“I told him, ‘we’ve got a lot of good players for a few more years. This is a great spot of reaching your goal of winning the World Series. You’ve got to take a shot’… He’s been so successful in his career. The one thing missing was a World Series ring. He let it be known that he wants to win, and he wants to win here,” Hinch said.

The Dodgers have been favorites to win the World series for a while now, and there is a good reason for that. The Dodgers have, arguably, the best pitcher in baseball with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Although he’s not as dominant as he was during his 2014 National League MVP season, he is still putting up really good numbers. He has a league-best 2.26 earned run average, and he’s tied with ex-teammate and Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke and Milwaukee Brewers’ ace Zack Davies for most wins. He has a 17-4 record in his 25 games this season, compiling 194 solid innings of pitching.

When it comes to these two teams advancing to the World Series, pitching isn’t even the half of it. The Astros are sluggers. They have the strongest batting lineup in all of baseball. With hitters like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez, they’ll tear a hole through the AL playoff teams. The ‘Stros are consistent hitters and have seven players with over 100 hits on the season. Those seven batters account for over 1,100 of the Astros’ hits in 2017. Four of those players are top 5 in on base plus slugging, meaning they can hit with power and get on base far better than most players. The Astros lead the majors in runs, and they are leading in most of the major batting statistics including: batting average, runs batted in, slugging percentage and (of course) hits.

Los Angeles has their fair share of hitters as well. LA’s NL Rookie of the Year candidate Cody Bellinger is tied in fifth for most homeruns with 38 on the season. Bellinger also leads the team with a .602 slugging percentage. Dodgers’ hitters Justin Turner and Corey Seager are a big part of this offense as well, with both having at least 140 hits each. Turner also leads the Dodgers with an impressive .323 batting average, which is tied for fifth in the MLB rankings. This offense, mixed with their star pitching, can propel them right into the World Series when the time comes.

Although these two teams have their obstacles with teams like the Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians being frontrunners in their respective leagues, they still have the potential to make it far. With these two giants expected to steamroll through the postseason brackets, it will be interesting to see who will raise the Commissioner’s Trophy come late October.

 

 

 

 

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Astros, Dodgers On Collision Course for Fall Classic