Dodgers: LA-HOU World Series as Good as it Gets
As the World Series kicks off tonight, let’s take a look at how special this matchup indeed is.
A Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Yankees might have been more exciting for non-baseball or casual baseball fans because it would have been a battle between the two largest cities and media markets in America. Dodgers-Yankees is the most common matchup in a World Series in history (faced off 11 times), and the cache of both teams is something that Major League Baseball would have loved.
But make no mistake, this is the best matchup possible. The Dodgers may be favored, but don’t be tricked. This isn’t David vs. Goliath. As Alex Rodriguez said on The Herd, it’s a Goliath vs. Goliath matchup.
Two juggernauts who seemed destined to face off against each other for the majority of the regular season. Both are 100-win teams, and this is the first time that 100-win teams have faced off in the World Series since 1970.
The talent level that will be displayed on the field is truly remarkable. Let’s start with tonight’s pitching matchup, Clayton Kershaw vs. Dallas Keuchel. A 2.31 ERA vs. a 2.90 ERA. Two aces. Two former Cy Young winners. Keuchel’s ERA may have been closer to Kershaw’s if not for an injury that slowed him down during the season.
After them, you have Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers of the Astros and Rich Hill and Yu Darvish of the Dodgers, who are expected to take the mound in the following games. The big-time names are there.
The offenses seem to overshadow both team’s other facets, but it’s safe to say that the pitching matchups are as good as they can get in a World Series.
You have future Hall-of-Famers and/or Cy Young-caliber pitchers at the top, pitchers on the wrong side of 30 balling and terrific mid-rotation arms themselves that are better than a lot of other team’s frontline arms.
And now to the offenses. Houston has the best offense in baseball. Even with their offensive struggles against the Yankees, they are elite and dangerous. Anthony Perez covered the Astros’ heart of the lineup, and boy is it scary.
Alex Bregman, 23, Carlos Correa, 23, Jose Altuve, 27. All young, athletic, and among, if not the best at their positions. Bregman will be one of the best third basemen in baseball in a few years. Correa is up there right next to Francisco Lindo and Corey Seager fighting for the title of “Best Shortstop”. He is the better all-around shortstop and might have the highest ceiling of the three.
And what more can be said about 5’6 Jose Altuve? He’s picked up another batting title and is now combining that with power. Throw in athleticism, speed and Gold Glove-caliber defense, and you have the best second baseman in baseball and the should-be 2017 AL MVP.
If these guys were playing in New York, they’d be the face of baseball. That’s how special they are. But sadly they don’t.
And as deadly as the Astros’ 2-3-4 hitters are, the Dodgers aren’t any slouches in that department either. Corey Seager-Justin Turner-Cody Bellinger (Seager should move from 6th back to his normal 2-spot eventually). Not bad. Definitely on the level of Bregman-Altuve-Correa.
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But like the Astros, the Dodgers’ lineup goes beyond that. It’s deep and lethal at all spots. I mentioned the 2-3-4 spots, but let’s not forget breakout star Yasiel Puig, who may eventually bat fifth now that Seager is back, and Chris Taylor, Turner’s NLCS co-MVP.
Puig might be the biggest name in the playoffs right now and is under an even bigger microscope than he’s ever been under (which is saying something). And he is delivering.
And if we can’t forget about him, we can’t forget about Astros’ center fielder George Springer, who is as talented and vital to the ‘Stros as Tuve and Correa. He’s another five-tool player who’d get more attention if he played in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago.
And finally, the managers for both ball clubs are among the best in the business in Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch. You can always have talent, but you need a man to lead and manage them. And that’s what these two men have done.
Oh and to add even more fire to the flame, Josh Reddick vs. the Los Angeles fans will be a battle to keep an eye on.
The talent level on the field is going to be absurd. A battle of the two best pure-hitters in baseball in Turner vs. Tuve. Battle of the two top shortstops in Seager vs. Correa. Two young, exciting and athletic power-hitters in Bellinger vs. Springer (both who can play in the outfield). Ace pitchers, MVP candidates, and athletes like no other. Let’s take a moment to soak in the star power we will be witnessing starting tonight.
Next: The Stros' 2-3-4 Hitters
The two best rosters who were consistently the two best teams in the league. Battle of powerhouses. We don’t always get this, so we need to appreciate it. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? This is the closest we shall get to finding out.