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Game Recap: Dodgers Wonder, “Where’s the Ball?” Verlander Vanquishes LA 2-1

Springer hit and RBI all the support needed.

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight Justin Verlander reminded us of how the Houston Astros would not have won the World Series without him. He reminded us of the pitcher who won two games in the ALCS, allowing 1 run in 16 innings, mowing down the mighty Yankees lineup with 21 strikeouts, on his way to the series MVP.

He was that good tonight, going to Los Angeles and reminding their fans who the World Champions are and why.

He allowed just one run in 7.2 innings, on 4 hits and 14 strikeouts. This was the team that scored 20 runs the night before, a national league lineup with sluggers 1-8.

Tonight the poor Dodgers just flailed helplessly, or sometimes watched a ball just drop in, knowing they had no chance anyway.

He was fastball heavy tonight, old school as can be. Here it is, in the strike zone, hit it if you can. Mostly they couldn’t.

Verlander threw 105 pitches, 76 for strikes. He threw first strikes to 20 of the 28 batters he faced, and got 21 whiffs. His game score was an impressive 80.

Here are the Verlander strikeouts.

I hope you noticed the last one in that sequence. As good as Verlander was tonight, the story I am writing now could have been exactly opposite without a heroic comeback by Verlander against the last batter he faced.

The eighth inning started with that pesky Astros nemesis, Chris Taylor, leading off with his second hit of the night. With one out, and Verlander reaching his limit, the only batter to really get to Verlander, Joc Pederson, who homered in the first, was up to bat. Verlander threw the dangerous Pederson three balls, then a fastball just a little inside center of the strike zone. Pederson ripped it home run distance, but foul. Then Pederson fouled off the next pitch. With the count 3-2 Verlander dropped in, and i do mean dropped, as beautiful a curve ball as you’ve ever seen. Pederson might as well have been swinging at a hummingbird. Wiley Coyote had as much luck catching up to the Roadrunner.

The danger was not over. Hector Rondon was sent in to dispatch the latest Dodger superstar, Manny Machado. He did, and then finished the Dodgers 1, 2, 3 in the ninth to save Verlander’s 11th win.

Count the Astros fortunate to get even the two runs they did. They too were held to only 4 hits, but some Dodgers miscues in the second inning made the difference.

The new Astros catcher, the defensive wizard Martin Maldonado, who has yet to get a hit as an Astro, was hit by a pitch. Just back from Fresno Jake Marisnick got a single, and then George Springer hit a sharp single to center. This of course scored Maldonado, but when Cody Bellinger bobbled the ball, the speedy Marisnick was able to score from first with the game’s last and winning run. The game was all superb pitching for the remaining 7 innings.

See Springer’s hit here.

Thank you George for that but really guys, this could have easily been another story about how the Astros hitters failed to support Justin Verlander. I think you’ll probably need more than two runs today.

Lance McCullers takes on Kenta Maeda at 8:10 CDT.

Box score and videos here.