You might not have been able to guess it based on the 100-plus degree temperatures in Los Angeles, but after two baseball-less days the Fall Classic is slated to get underway in the City of Angels on Tuesday.
The pitching matchup in Game 1 of the World Series will pit two left-handed former Cy Young winners up against each other, with Dallas Keuchel taking the ball for the Astros and Clayton Kershaw toeing the slab for the Dodgers.
Kershaw will actually be starting two straight games for the Dodgers, as he helped to close out the Cubs in NLCS Game 5 last Thursday, tossing six innings of one-run ball. In three outings this postseason, the ace southpaw holds a 3.63 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 16/5 K/BB ratio over 17 1/3 innings.
The Astros’ roster has a total of 107 plate appearances versus Kershaw, and they’ve hit a combined .229/.292/.312 with zero home runs. Of the players with more than three plate appearances against the lefty, the guy that’s had the most success is – you guessed it – Jose Altuve (he’s 6-for-15 with four doubles).
The Dodgers’ roster has only 29 plate appearances against Keuchel, and Logan Forsythe has 20 of them. He’s managed seven hits – including a triple – versus the left-hander and is a safe bet to be penciled into the lineup at second base. Keuchel wasn’t great in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Yankees but overall has been excellent in three postseason outings, putting up a 2.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 25/5 K/BB ratio across 17 1/3 frames.
Speaking of former Cy Young winners, the Astros will send another one to the bump in Game 2 in Justin Verlander, who will oppose Rich Hill. Yu Darvish and Alex Wood are slotted in as the Dodgers’ Game 3 and 4 starters, respectively, while the Astros are expected to go with some combination of Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers. Morton earned the opportunity after he went five scoreless innings in Game 7 of the ALCS, and McCullers will get the shot after he tossed six frames of one-run ball in ALCS Game 4 and went four scoreless in relief in Game 7.
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Seager “Good to Go”
The Dodgers needed only five games to dispatch of the Cubs in the NLCS, doing so without star shortstop Corey Seager. They’ll have the reigning National League Rookie of the Year back for the World Series.
Seager went through a simulated game Monday at Dodger Stadium, showing no ill effects of the lower back sprain that kept him out of the NLCS. The Dodgers won’t officially announce their World Series roster until Tuesday, but Seager said Monday that he’s “good to go.”
Seager injured his back on a slide in the NLDS-clinching Game 3 win over the Diamondbacks. The 23-year-old noted that he hasn’t tried sliding again yet in workouts, but it doesn’t appear that’s something that will keep him from being in the lineup in Game 1.
On Sunday, manager Dave Roberts left open the possibility that Seager could serve as a designated hitter for the games in Houston as a way to give his back a little more rest. That might give some starts at shortstop to Charlie Culberson, who filled in admirably for Seager in the NLCS by going 5-for-11 at the plate while playing solid defense. For what it’s worth, though, Seager said his back soreness wasn’t any more pronounced in the field or at the plate.
Seager struggled down the stretch of the regular season while battling an elbow injury, but obviously the Dodgers will be thrilled to get his bat back into the lineup.
Quick Hits: Justin Turner (general soreness) went through agility drills in the outfield at Dodger Stadium on Monday and will be ready for Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday … The Mets officially hired former Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway as their new manager on Monday … Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post has reported that the Nationals have requested and received permission to interview Mets hitting coach Kevin Long for their manager job. They’re also interviewing Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez this week … The Braves declined R.A. Dickey's $8 million club option for 2018. Dickey is considering retirement. The club exercised Tyler Flowers' $4 million club option for 2018 …