There’s No Place Like Home

We are now two games into the 2017 World Series, and both teams have failed to disappoint thus far.

The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers have not had postseason luck prior to 2017. This is only the second World Series the Astros have ever made an appearance in, and the Dodgers haven’t been to the World Series in 29 years.  The Dodgers are desperate to end their drought, while the Astros are trying to make franchise history. The Series is tied at one game apiece and it is far from over.

These two powerhouse teams are now headed to Houston for the next three games, which is significant because the Astros have not lost a game at home in the postseason yet. They have won all six games at home and have high hopes to take the next three in Houston to do what the franchise has never done before. Before we get into that though, let’s review what went down in Hollywood.

GAME ONE – Dodgers beat the Astros 3-1

Game 1 can be summed up with one name, Clayton Kershaw. The six-foot-4 lefty ace allowed only three hits, no walks, and one run while striking out 11 in seven innings. He looked completely untouchable, walking none and thriving on his signature 12-6 curveball that could not be hit. The Dodgers offense also got off to a good start in the series. Chris Taylor hit a leadoff home run on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first, and Justin Turner hit a go-ahead homer in the bottom of the sixth to put the Dodgers up 3-1. The bullpen wasn’t touched in the eighth and ninth, and the Dodger took Game 1 rather easily. The Dodger offense put up three runs on six hits.

Other than a solo home run from Alex Bregman, there wasn’t much action from the Astros. They managed only three hits in the game, coming from Bregman, Altuve, and Josh Reddick, who finally recorded a hit in his dreadful postseason slump. Dallas Keuchel allowed all three Dodger runs and six hits while walking one and only striking out three through 6 2/3 innings.

The Dodgers handed the Astros their 5th postseason loss in 2017, as the Astros entered game two with a 1-5 postseason road record. However, in Game 2, the Astros went to Justin Verlander for help.

GAME TWO – Astros beat the Dodgers 7-6 in the bottom of the eleventh

 

Three words. What. A. Game. An absolute home run fest lasting 11 innings, and the excitement was not to be believed. The Dodgers had lefty Rich Hill on the mound for Game 2, and the Astros threw Justin Verlander, who has been lights out since joining Houston just before the Waiver Trade Deadline on August 31st. Both were dominant early, neither allowing a run in the first two innings. In the top of the third, Alex Bregman singled in Josh Reddick to make it a 1-0 game. Joc Pederson tied things up with a solo home run for the Dodgers in the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the sixth, Justin Verlander left a fastball up on the outside part of the plate, and Corey Seager made him pay, hitting an opposite-field home run to put the Dodgers up 3-1. The Dodgers gave the ball to Kenley Jansen in the eighth, and that’s when things got crazy. Carlos Correa made it a one-run game in the top of the eighth with a single into center field, and then in the top of the ninth, Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo shot to left center field to tie the game at 3. The Dodgers didn’t score in the bottom of the ninth, and a game that the Dodgers looked to have sealed away was going to extra innings.

The insanity had only begun at that point.

In the top of the tenth, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa went back-to-back against Josh Fields to put the Astros up 5-3. Yuri Gurriel followed up with a double, and the Dodgers were in deep trouble. They brought in Tony Cingrani who closed out the inning without giving up any more runs. In the bottom of the tenth, Yasiel Puig started things off with a solo shot to make it a one-run game. Ken Giles never looked good in this game, but the Astros left him in. With a runner on, Enrique Hernandez singled in Logan Forsythe to tie the game, despite a great throw from Josh Reddick to home plate which was just a bit too late. Chris Devenski replaced Giles and prevented any further damage, and the game went to the eleventh. Cameron Maybin singled and stole second base, and then George Springer joined the home run club with a 2 run shot to put the Astros back up 7-5. Thought they had the game won at that point? WRONG. Devenski retired Seager and Turner, bringing up Charlie Culberson with one out to go. He blasted a solo shot to make it a one-run game. Yasiel Puig wasn’t able to hit his second home run of the game, and Devenski got him to strike out to end the game. This was the first time the Astros won a World Series game in franchise history.

A wild game, to say the least, there were 8 total home runs in the game, and both bullpens struggled in the wild matchup. The series now heads to Houston, where the Astros now have home-field advantage, which means a lot more than you might think.

GOING INTO HOUSTON

The notable stat going into Houston is that the Astros have not lost a game at home this postseason so far. They are a perfect 6-0 and the Dodgers can expect them to be extremely tough in all of the next three games. Now that the top two starters for each team pitched in LA, the next three games will be matchups between the 3-4 starters for each side, and the Dodgers have more rotation depth.

Game three will feature starters Yu Darvish for the Dodgers, who they acquired minutes before the non-waiver trade deadline. The Astros will throw right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. on the bump, who has struggled with back problems for a majority of this season.

Both of these right-handers have been lights out in the postseason, Darvish has only allowed two runs in his two October starts, and McCullers threw four scoreless innings at the end of Game 7 to beat the Yankees in the ALCS.

This series is now in the Astros favor without question, but the Dodgers do have a legit shot to send the series back to LA. Very few games have been won by the visiting team this postseason, all series included. However, the Astros just pulled off a great away victory, and the Dodgers have the depth to take a game in Houston. We don’t know who is going to win, but one thing is certain: it’s going to be a wild series in Houston.

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