By Aaron Jackson
With the World Series beginning tonight, now is the perfect time to explore the pertinent questions for this series. Dodgers vs Astros is a match up that clearly showcases the two best teams in baseball, which should make for quite the showdown.
- Which pitcher will have more strikeouts in the series, Justin Verlander or Clayton Kershaw? Kershaw is going in game 1, while Verlander has to wait for game 2, but it seems unlikely either would be able to make 3 starts based on the schedule. Which manager will have the shorter hook? Which starter will be more dominant? Will either make a relief appearance in the series? Given how dominant he has been these playoffs, my money is on Verlander.
- Which infield will have the most home runs? As a whole right now, Astros infielders have 10 homers through 11 games, while the Dodgers have just five dingers through 8 games. It would certainly seem like the Astros are capable of hitting more home runs in this series, but the Dodgers pitching staff may have something to say about that. I think the Astros take this category because of depth; their entire infield can hit for power, whereas only Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger are likely to leave the yard for LA. That is assuming that Corey Seager is not 100% due to a back injury he’s been dealing with, which I think is probably accurate.
- Which bullpen is most likely to implode late in a game? Well, let’s look at the numbers. To this point, the Dodgers bullpen has given up a total of 3 earned runs, which all came in game 2 against the Diamondbacks in the divisional series. For the last six games, LA hasn’t given up a single run when their starter comes out of the game. Contrast that with an Astros team, which has given up 19 earned runs out of the bullpen. It becomes pretty blatantly obvious which bullpen is a strength versus which bullpen is a weakness. There’s no reason to think that will change now, the Dodgers have a substantial edge.
- Which team is more likely to make a major fielding error? Throughout the postseason, the Dodgers have committed two errors compared to the Astros four, but Houston has had significantly more opportunities to make errors. The two teams have practically identical fielding percentages, so tough to draw much from those this postseason. The Dodgers have a much higher defensive efficiency rating, largely because of an outfield that compares favorably to the Astros. Something tells me though the Dodgers are the most likely to make a crucial mistake.
- Who will win this series? When you go through position by position name value says the Astros have the better lineup, but the Dodgers have some players that are over performing what you’d expect. The Dodgers’ pitching staff is by far the best in baseball. That said, something about Houston just makes you feel like they are the team of destiny. Given what that city has been through as a result of Hurricane Harvey, and maybe I’m picking with my heart, I’m going to pick the Astros to win the series in 7
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.