Houston Matters

10 Things To Know Before The Astros Face The Dodgers In The World Series

Jeff Balke gives us a preview of the World Series, beginning Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

Astros Celebrate AL Pennant
Jose Altuve holds the American League championship trophy after Game 7 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017.

The Astros are in Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers Tuesday night (Oct. 24) in Game 1 of the World Series after knocking off the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros are the first team to win a pennant in both leagues, having won the National League crown in 2005 before being swept by the White Sox in the Fall Classic. But, this time, fans are hoping for different results.

Houston Matters had Jeff Balke give us a preview of the World Series. He writes for Houston Press and Houstonia Magazine.

TEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE ASTROS-DODGERS WORLD SERIES:

Two best teams: This is the first time since 1970 that two teams with 100 wins or more will meet in the World Series. 

Slight edge on the mound: When it comes to pitching, Jeff Balke says the Dodgers have a slight advantage. Their starters are pretty even, but L.A.’s bullpen is definitely better, he says.

Bullpen will be key: The Dodgers’ bullpen has been great in the postseason so far. Whether or not the Astros’ bats can get to that bullpen will play a big role in determining who wins this series.

Potent bats: Balke says the Astros are a better team offensively in almost every category — at least when they’re playing their game. We’ll see how they fare against elite playoff pitching from the likes of Clayton Kershaw.

Pitchers at the plate: For games in Los Angeles, the designated hitter will not be in effect. So Houston pitchers will have to bat — some of them for the first time in their careers — and that could break up the Astros’ normally potent lineup. But the good news is the Dodgers’ pitchers will have to hit too.

Defensive edge: The Astros flashed some leather throughout the series, and, while Balke thinks both teams have great defense, the Astros have a slight edge, he says.

Bats under wraps: Another major question will be whether the Astros can keep down some of the powerful bats near the top of the Dodgers’ lineup, such as Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner.

All lined up: Despite needing seven tough games to knock off the Yankees, the Astros enter the series healthy and with their starting rotation basically normal. Dallas Keuchel will start Game 1 and Justin Verlander will start Game 2. Balke thinks Charlie Morton, one of the heroes of Game 7 of the ALCS, will likely get the start in Game 3.

Unfamiliar territory: Jeff says, as a Houston sports fan, he’s not used to coming into a season (or a postseason) where people expected the Houston team to win — or at least truly have a shot. He says this is the first time since the Rockets’ NBA championships that a Houston team was seen by some as a favorite and has (so far) lived up to that promise.

Going the distance: Jeff says this series will be a tightly contested one, and he picks the Astros to win in seven games.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the Senior Producer for Houston Matters. He has a degree in journalism from Abilene Christian University and has served as news director for NPR and PBS stations around Texas and The West, including: KUNR-FM in Reno, Nev.; KNPB-TV in Reno, Nev.; and KWBU-TV/FM in Waco, Texas. He...

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