I’ll say it for you: thank the heavens we don’t have to endure a Yankees World Series. Sure, Aaron Judge is a great story and seems like a nice guy, but cheering for the Yankees to win the World Series is like rooting for Bill Gates to spin $1 on The Price is Right.
Some people may have the same opinion of the high-rolling Los Angeles Dodgers, but there is little to no villainy for the boys in blue, and a World Series drought to be snapped. The Astros are, perhaps, harder to root against, with a roster full of lovable youngsters and a devastated city who could definitely use a pickup like this. Whatever way you slice it, this is set up to be one helluva Series, and there’s plenty to cheer for. The two best teams from 2017 have made it, and there are few if any weaknesses on either side going into the October Classic.
Los Angeles Dodgers
For the third time in these playoffs, the Dodgers go into a series having far more rest than their opponents. The Cubs took their division series to a full five games and limped into their series with Los Angeles, who made quick work of the defending champions. The Astros come into the World Series after an exciting but no doubt tiring seven-game series against New York, and the boys in blue aren’t letting up.
Really everything has been clicking for the Dodgers so far; the starting pitching has been dominant, the bats have worked when they’ve needed to, and the bullpen has been absolutely lights out. Oh, and we haven’t even seen Corey Seager yet.
Justin Turner has been the headliner with his dramatic and timely offense, but the bullpen may be the difference maker. Los Angeles relievers, anchored by Brandon Morrow, Kenta Maeda, and Kenley Jansen, set a postseason record by going 23 innings without giving up a run.
While Seager may be the focus of those watching the World Series, the difference maker offensively for Los Angeles may be breakout player Chris Taylor. Taylor was acquired from Seattle in a trade last season, where he was a utility infielder splitting his time between the majors and the minors. This season, all he’s done is hit 21 homers and post a WAR of 4.8 while stepping in for a slumping Joc Pederson in center field. He hasn’t slowed down in the postseason, and could come through in big moments for the Dodgers.
Between just how adorable little Jose Altuve is and, oh, the fact that the city has been to hell and back over the last few months, it’s pretty damned hard to root against Houston in this one. Unfortunately, the odds seem stacked against the Astros after going a full seven games to beat New York in the ALCS and the distracting beauty of Chavez Ravine.
Altuve has added to his MVP case with an extraordinary performance to this point in the playoffs. His five homers and lockdown defense make him a force to be reckoned with, despite being just 5’6”. Carlos Correa has been solid through the playoffs, and guys like Evan Gattis have shown that Houston has the depth to get hits when they need them.
The duo of Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander is a perfect counterpart to the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish, and while the Houston bullpen has shown it can go the distance when necessary, Los Angeles has the rest and the track record to assert that they’re simply the better team.
Again, no matter how you slice it, this’ll be one amazing Series. My prediction: Dodgers in 5.