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2017 World Series Game 1 Preview: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Which team will take the upperhand?

World Series - Workout Day - Dodger Stadium Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

2017 World Series, Game 1

Houston Astros (0-0) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (0-0), Oct. 24, 2017, 7:09 p.m. CDT

Location: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
TV: FOX
Radio: Streaming on MLB At Bat app, 790 KBME AM, ESPN Deportes 1230, ESPN Radio
Online: MLB.TV, Fox Sports Go
Dodgers SBNation Blog: True Blue LA


Pitching Matchup

LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-1, 2.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP. 341 BABIP, 1.96 xFIP in the playoffs) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 3.63 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, .146 BABIP, 3.72 xFIP in the playoffs)


Preview

No it’s not a dream. Yes, the Astros are in the World Series. The Houston Astros battle the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 113th Fall Classic. It’s the first time since 1970 and only the third time since 1950 that two teams with a 100 wins have matched up in the World Series.

Houston has reached the World Series for the second time in franchise history but is still looking for it’s first win, the Astros are only one of four teams (Mariners, Nationals, and Rockies) to never win a World Series game. The Astros have the third longest streak without World Series victory at 55 years, only surpassed by the Indians (68 years) and Rangers (56).

A matchup between two 100 wins teams of course wouldn’t be without a marquee matchup in game one. Two-time all-star and 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5) squares off against seven-time all-star and three-time NL Cy Young Award winner LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4).

Keuchel has been pitching his strongest during the playoffs. He his 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six games (five starts). Keuchel becomes only the fifth Astro in franchise history to make a start in the World Series, joining Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt, and Brand Backe.

Keuchel has never faced the Dodgers in his career. He is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three road playoff games in his career — allowing seven earned runs over 11 23 innings.

Dallas native Clayton Kershaw has been the Dodgers’ ace since 2009. He posted another insane season in 2017 with a 18-4 record and a 2.31 ERA in 27 starts.

Kershaw is attempting exercise his playoff demons in 2017 and guide the Dodgers their first World Series since 1988. Kershaw is 6-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 21 career playoff games (17 starts). He was 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 10 NLCS games (seven starts) before breaking through this season.

He was 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts in the 2017 NLCS with nine strikeouts in 11 innings.

Hitting trends

Dallas Keuchel hasn’t faced the Dodgers in his six-year major league career with the Astros. But four current Dodgers have at-bats against the lefty. Logan Forsythe is 7-for-20 with a triple. Chris Taylor is 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Dodgers career stats against Dallas Keuchel

BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Logan Forsythe 20 7 0 1 0 1 0 2 0.350 0.350 0.450 0.800
Franklin Gutierrez 15 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 0.067 0.067 0.067 0.133
Chase Utley 4 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.250 0.500 0.250 0.750
Chris Taylor 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000

Clayton Kershaw has faced the Astros eight times in his career, he is 3-2 with a 2.38 ERA. But the last start game in 2015. Three Astros (Altuve, Beltran, Maybin) have 15-plus career at-bats against Kershaw.

Jose Altuve is batting .400 (6x15) with four doubles and Carlos Correa is 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Astros career stats against Clayton Kershaw

BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Jose Altuve 15 6 4 0 0 0 0 4 0.400 0.400 0.667 1.067
Carlos Beltran 22 5 2 0 0 1 2 8 0.227 0.280 0.318 0.598
Cameron Maybin 30 4 0 0 0 0 3 8 0.133 0.212 0.133 0.345
Evan Gattis 7 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.286 0.286 0.429 0.714
Carlos Correa 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.333 0.333 0.333 0.667
Josh Reddick 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000
Marwin Gonzalez 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000

Keys to success

Jose Altuve

The 2017 American League MVP will need to contiue to play like it. Altuve has carried this team through both rounds of the American League playoffs. He’ll need to contiue to have more success against Kershaw (.400 (6x15), 4 doubles)

Bottom of the lineup

Brian McCann (.156), Josh Reddick (.171), and Marwin Gonzalez (.162) have struggled in the playoffs. If Houston hopes to steal game one, they will need these three to not hit like the bottom of the 2005 World Series team.

Alex Bregman

Maybe you’re seeing a theme? The offense needs to be the spark to help Dallas Keuchel tonight. Alex Bregman has already killed on lefty giant in the playoffs. Why not another?