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2021 Series Preview: Houston Astros @ Los Ángeles Dodgers

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One of the hottest rivalries in baseball resumes TONIGHT at Dodger Stadium! 9:10 pm CT, baby!

Los Angeles Dodgers v. Houston Astros Photo by Michael Starghill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Quick Notes

There have been fireworks on the field every time the Astros have faced the Dodgers since the sign-stealing scandal exploded. Good, explosive baseball plus off-field comments and bench-clearing brawls have created an exciting rivalry between two of the most powerful teams in baseball. After splitting a two-game series in late May, this time they will meet each other for two games at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers are supposed to be sort of the juggernaut of the National League and even baseball in general, but they’ve had it hard to find consistency as of late, losing eight of their last 14 games. To complete and make their puzzle stronger, besides trying to take first place from the Giants, they bolstered their club by acquiring Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, and Danny Duffy before the trade deadline.

This series will represent another big challenge for the Astros and their lineup, which is among the league’s best. The reason? Houston will be facing two of the best pitchers in baseball: Walker Buehler today, Scherzer tomorrow. Prepare for fun matchups!!!

Last 10 Games: 5-5 Record, 2 Series Won (vs Rockies, Diamondbacks), 1 Series Lost (vs Giants), +16 Run Differential (48 Scored, 32 Allowed)

W/L Splits: 33-18 at home, 31-25 on the road, 21-24 against teams over .500


Offense

The Dodgers are pretty much in the same spot as the Astros, but in the National League. They’re ranked from one to five in almost every important offensive category in the senior circuit and have a massive lineup that features Mookie Betts, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, and struggling Cody Bellinger.

But in the NL during the last 15 days, the Dodgers are 11th in batting average (.244), 12th in OPS (.729), 12th in strikeouts (116), and seventh in scored runs (60). Those numbers have been the cause for them to have an 8-8 record since the All-Star break.

Notable Players:

  • Although he lost some time on the injured list, Mookie Betts is as hot as anyone in the Majors, going 22-for-56 in his last 14 games (.393/.444/.750). Besides, he’s been a killer against the Astros in his career: .350/.432/.579 across 35 contests, with 14 doubles, three triples, four home runs, and 20 runs batted in.
  • After disappointing in 2020, Max Muncy is back at his best. In their first series, the Astros held him to just 1 for 7 with a single, but for the season. the 2021 All-Star is slashing .279/.413/.557 with 22 dingers, 64 walks, and only 66 strikeouts. He gets to this series carrying a six-game hitting streak (.346/.393/.423 over that span).

Pitching

The Dodgers have the best pitching in baseball in terms of ERA (3.18) and just added two more weapons to their arsenal (Scherzer and Duffy). They’re first in opponent batting average (.113) and second in WHIP (1.13). Plus, they have the lowest exit velocity average in MLB (87.4 MPH).

Right now though, the Dodgers are currently going without Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May (all injured, with May gone for the entire season), and Trevor Bauer (on restricted list). Still, with those names off their rotation, they still have Buehler, Scherzer, and Julio Urías around.

Notable Players:

  • Walker Buehler has just been electric all year and is now a strong candidate to win the NL Cy Young, especially with Jacob deGrom missing time on the injured list. Buehler remains unhittable since May 17, a span in which he’s lost only once (10-1) and owns a 1.58 ERA across 91 13 innings. In fact, over that period, the young righty has never allowed more than three earned runs.
  • Let’s go with the newcomer Max Scherzer. Mad Max is just the kind of pitcher that leads a rotation, just like Kershaw or Justin Verlander. Coincidentally, Scherzer’s first outing in blue will come this Wednesday against the Astros. He’s in the middle of another brilliant season, with an 8-4 record a 2.76 ERA.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Lance McCullers Jr. (RHP, 8-2, 3.23 ERA, 115 Ks) vs Walker Buehler (RHP, 11-1, 2.19 ERA, 139 Ks)

Buehler has faced the Astros only twice in his career and despite winning his lone decision, he was far from brilliant. The 27-year-old has gone at least seven innings in his three latest starts (vs Rockies, twice vs Giants). It’s gonna be interesting to see how Buehler pitches to avoid home runs from the Astros as he’s given up only two four-baggers in his 10 most recent starts.

Game 2: Jake Odorizzi (RHP, 4-5, 4.30 ERA, 54 Ks) vs Max Scherzer (RHP, 8-4, 2.76 ERA, 147 Ks)

With Scherzer, it’s exactly the opposite. Despite his big numbers, the veteran righty is allowing 1.5 home runs per nine innings, so he can be in trouble with Astros power on Wednesday. Mad Max allowed six goners in four starts in July. For him, it’ll be his first face-off with Houston since 2014.


For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Tuesday, August 3rd @ 9:10 pm CT

Listen: Astros - KLAT 1010, KBME 790 AM / 94.5 FM HD-2, KTHR 740 AM / 99.1 FM HD-2 Dodgers - Dodgers Radio AM570, KTNQ 1020

Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW Dodgers - SportsNet LA, SNLA Deportes

Game 2: Wednesday, August 4th @ 8:40 pm CT

Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM / 94.5 FM HD-2, KTHR 740 AM / 99.1 FM HD-2, KAMA HD2 104.9 FM Dodgers - Dodgers Radio AM570, KTNQ 1020

Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW Dodgers - SportsNet LA, SNLA Deportes


Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Astros Sweep 2-0
    (34 votes)
  • 32%
    Dodgers Sweep 2-0
    (64 votes)
  • 49%
    Split series (1-1)
    (96 votes)
194 votes total Vote Now