Can the Houston Astros shock the world with a win tonight over the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the 2017 World Series? Their chances are pretty good with Justin Verlander on the mound.
Verlander has been very effective since arriving in Houston back in September just before their playoff run. In the month of September Verlander went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA. He is also 5-0 in the playoffs.
Though Verlander is a big reason for the success of the Astros in the playoffs their bats have been pretty awesome as well. It seems they are never out of any game regardless of how many runs they are down.
The spark plug of the team has to be Jose Altuve. They have him listed as 5’6” tall, but I will would guess he is a few inches shorter. I can’t leave out what rookie third baseman Alex Bregman has done both defensively and at the plate. He has cut down a couple of key runs with stellar defensive plays in the ALDS and the World Series. Of course, on Sunday night, he was the player who stepped up with two outs and the game on the line and drove in the game winning run.
The Dodgers will have their work cut out the rest of the series. However, I would not count them out. They did win the most games in the regular season and have the home field advantage the rest of the way. The games usually boil down to pitching and defense. Whichever team can get the best pitching and defensive performance will win this series. Both bullpens have been over worked this series and yesterday’s off day was a welcomed blessing for both teams.
The other piece to this puzzle falls on the side of the Houston Astros. The devastation that city went through recently with Hurricane Harvey is a driving force behind the players in Houston. They are pushing very hard to win this World Series for the entire city. They want nothing more than to lift their fans up with a huge victory in Los Angeles.
They would like to do that this evening, but only time will tell if it goes to Wednesday night. My prediction is that they will end it tonight with Verlander on the mound. Plus they will have a well-rested closer in Giles. Their bats and gloves will stay hot. This is why playoff baseball is the best!
By Dr. Bret Simmermacher
Dr. Simmermacher is the Chair of Sports Coaching at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.