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Game Thread 5. July 28, 2020, 8:10 CDT. Dodgers @ Astros

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Will heads roll? ESPN hopes so.

MLB: Houston Astros-Championship Parade Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the Astros and Dodgers again. A lot has happened since Charley Morton carried the Astros to their Game 7 victory in the 2017 World Series. A lot of bad blood. A lot of accusations and recriminations. You know of what I speak.

This game is in Houston and the stadium will be empty. Probably a good thing for the Astros that when they play in Los Angeles, that field will be empty as well.

There’s a lot that’s changed since 2017. The Dodgers don’t have Yasiel Puig. Their ace, Clayton Kershaw is injured. Cody Bellinger isn’t a rookie anymore. He is the reigning NL MVP, in fact. And the Dodgers have added the 2018 AL MVP to their outfield, Mookie Betts. Including slugger Joc Pederson in the outfield mix, that’s some awesome firepower.

Justin Turner still mans the hot corner, and Corey Seager is off to a good start at shortstop. (Didn’t we just see him the last four games? Oh yeah, that was brother Kyle.)

Another big change. Walker Buehler, 2015 first round draft pick from Vanderbilt who turns 26 today, has emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball. He takes on the Astros tonight. He was considered behind in his training during summer camp, so there is some question about his readiness for tonight’s game.

But it seems you can say that about all of the pitchers right now.

Not a favorable matchup for the Astros. They send the erratic Framber Valdez to the mound. His stuff can induce ground balls with the best of them, but problems with command led to his 5.86 ERA last season in 70.2 innings.

Where’s George? He’s hitting .063 in the lead-off position. Remember back in 2017 when Springer was hitting so bad in the ALCS that everyone said take him out of there? And then he just kept hitting badly?

Oh yeah, I forgot. He had the best World Series in in history.

George is streaky. We should know that by now.

Here’s tonight’s Astros lineup.