Dodgers: World Series Game Six Preview

mwittman
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Corey Seager
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Corey Seager /
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After an exhausting game 5 loss on Sunday, the Dodgers and Astros will square off again in Los Angeles as the Dodgers will look to keep their season alive.  The pitching matchup is a rematch of game 2, Rich Hill versus Justin Verlander.

The Dodgers will have their backs against the wall for the first time this season when they look to stave off elimination on Tuesday. While the pitching matchup appears to be a disadvantage going against Justin Verlander, this series has shown that anything can happen. The Dodgers did get three runs off Verlander in game two when Joc Pederson and Corey Seager took him deep. The Dodgers had game two won before the rare blown save by Kenley Jansen and then they eventually fell short in the eleventh inning.

The Astros come in with all the momentum after a wild walk-off win, but the Dodgers do get their home field advantage back. With the weather likely to be in the low sixties instead of the upper nineties, the ball will not be flying out of Chavez Ravine like it did in the first two games of the series. In game two Rich Hill had a shaky start but settled in after the first inning and finished with four innings of one-run ball.  While Verlander is going to be a tough opponent, the Dodgers will be facing him for the third time this year and second time in a week so they should be able to have more success against him.

Keys to the game

Aggressiveness early in the count – While the Dodger strategy has been to work the count and get to the vulnerable Astro bullpen, they should change their approach in game six.  Verlander attacks early in the count with his fastball.  Particularly on the first pitch, he likes to groove his fastball over the plate.  AJ Hinch is going to ride his workhorse as long as he can since this will be the last appearance of the season for Verlander. I would not be surprised to see him throw 120 to 130 pitches if he’s pitching well. The Dodgers could get to Verlander early in the game if they jump on the first pitch and not let him settle in.  With the balls reportedly being juiced and slippery, Verlander could run into some control issues.  If and when he does the Dodgers need to take full advantage of him.

Belli-Bombs – After a miserable early portion of the World Series, Bellinger is 4-9 with five RBI’s over the past two games.  With Bellinger heating up the Dodger offense has scored 18 runs over the past two games.  If the Dodgers are going to get to Verlander, there is a big chance that Bellinger is going to need to be one of the guys doing the damage.

With Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner all getting on base at a good clip, it could come down to Bellinger needing to come through with runners on base.  As hard as Verlander throws, Bellinger could hit a bomb if he catches up to one of his fastballs. He’ll have to lay off the breaking ball down and in that Verlander likes to throw to left-handers. If he’s able to lay off that pitch and get on top of one of Verlander’s fastballs, he could be in store for a big game.

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over – As Orel Hershiser tweeted out, of the last ten teams to go home down 3-2 in the World Series, nine teams forced a game seven and eight of those teams ended up winning the World Series.  Had the Dodgers headed to Houston down 3-2 it would be a sizable disadvantage but coming back home the Dodgers will be a tough opponent to knock down for good.  This series has shown to expect the unexpected so until the Dodgers last out is recorded they still have a pulse.

Hitters to watch

Corey Seager – In game two of the series, Seager hit what appeared to be the game-winning home run off of Verlander before the game went crazy in extra innings. Chris Taylor has done a good job setting the tone for the offense, so once he gets on, it’s up to Seager to help the Dodgers get to Verlander early.

George Springer – Early on in the series Springer struggled, but he has gone on a hot streak lately and is a power and speed threat every time he steps up to the plate.  The Dodgers need to keep him off base to limit the damage the middle of the order can do.

Next: The stars of the Dodgers need to step up

Prediction

The Dodgers will prove Yasiel Puig right and force a game seven. What happens then is anyone’s guess. But in game six Verlander will slip up for the first time as an Astro and give up two home runs to Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger. Kenley Jansen will not fail to lock down game six, and the Dodgers will win 5-3.

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