Ray's Ramblings - 2017 World Series Preview
The 2017 World Series will be the first to match 100-game winners since the 1970 Series with the Red and Orioles (this will be just the 7th battle of 100 win teams in the history of the Series). The Astros and Dodgers, the class of both their leagues, will battle to be called the best team in baseball this season in yet another edition of the Fall Classic.
THE ROAD THROUGH THE PLAYOFFS
The Astros have never won the World Series in their 55-year history. There have only been five longer droughts amongst teams that eventually won the Series.
2016: 174, Cubs (107) and Indians (67)
2005: 130, White Sox (87) and Astros (43)
2004: 106, Red Sox (85) and Cardinals (21)
2010: 104, Giants (55) and Rangers (49)
1975: 90, Red Sox (56) and Reds (34)
TEAM BY TEAM POSITIONAL MATCHUPS
I was going to break it all down, but the fine folks at MLB.com already did, so you can read their analysis here.
TUESDAY, OCT. 24 Astros at Dodgers, Game 1, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 25 Astros at Dodgers, Game 2, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
FRIDAY, OCT. 27 Dodgers at Astros, Game 3, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
SATURDAY, OCT. 28 Dodgers at Astros, Game 4, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
SUNDAY, OCT. 29 Dodgers at Astros, Game 5*, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
TUESDAY, OCT. 31 Astros at Dodgers, Game 6*, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1 Astros at Dodgers, Game 7*, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
There could be a record set this week, having to do with the weather. Temperatures are predicted to be above 95 degrees in Los Angeles, potentially reaching 100, a number never before seen in the World Series. As the link presents, high heat usually favors the hitter as the ball can travel farther in such a setup. It’s also without question that in 2017 the higher the temperature, the higher the SLG of teams. The mark was .391 in games 59 or cooler. In games of 90 degrees and higher the league OPS was .479.
Here is the roster for the Astros.
Here is the roster for the Dodgers.
The biggest surprise is that Curtis Granderson is off the roster. Corey Seager is on the roster for the Dodgers.
HOUSTON ASTROS (101-61)
The Astros rotation (Games 1-3): Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, ?
The Astros could use Charlie Morton or Lance McCullers, the Game 7 ALCS stars, in Game 3.
Jose Altuve has five homers, 10 runs scored and a 1.275 OPS in 11 postseason games.
Carlos Correa has a .931 OPS, three homers and nine RBIs in 11 games.
Ken Giles has been roughed up for five runs over six innings.
Yuli Gurriel is batting .366 with a .921 OPS.
Dallas Keuchel has been an elite performer through three starts this postseason: 2.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP with 25 strikeouts over 17.1 innings.
Speaking of McCullers... He throws his curveball about 68 percent of the time when he has two strikes. The curve is the fastest in baseball amongst starters at 88 mph. In his relief effort in Game 7 of the ALCS he threw the curveball 75 percent of the time. Get this, he threw the pitch either 24 or 28 consecutive times, depending on your source, to end his outing. Simply remarkable.
Brad Peacock has made three appearances (one start) with poor results: five runs (two homers) in five innings though he does have eight strikeouts and just one walk allowed.
George Springer hasn’t shown up much with a .675 OPS which is .050 points better than the mark of Alex Bregman. As bad as those two numbers are, it gets even worse for the Astros: Carlos Beltran .516, Brian McCann .489, Marwin Gonzalez .460 and .398 for Josh Reddick. Yes, those are their OPS marks.
Justin Verlander was 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in September for the Astros. He’s 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA in four postseason starts.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS (104-58)
The Dodgers rotation (Games 1-3): Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Yu Darvish
The team is expected to use Alex Wood in Game 4.
The Dodgers are 7-1 in the playoffs. They have outscored their opponents by a whopping 48 to 19.
Yu Darvish had a 3.44 ERA and some rough outings in his nine starts after being dealt to the Dodgers. All those negative thoughts are gone now as he’s 2-0 with 14 strikeouts and just one walk leading to a 1.59 playoff ERA.
Rich Hill has a 3.00 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over two starts. Tow bad he’s only thrown nine innings.
Clayton Kershaw has three Cy Young Awards and an NL MVP. In 21 career playoff outings he’s 6-7 with a 4.40 ERA. In three starts this postseason he is 2-0 with a 3.63 ERA.
Kenta Maeda has made five appearances last five innings. He hasn’t allowed a hit or a walk with seven strikeouts.
Brandon Morrow has been a beast with a 1.08 ERA and 0.48 WHIP over 8.1 innings leading up to Kenley Jansen (0.00 ERA, 0.38 WHIP, 12 Ks in 8 IP).
Corey Seager missed the NLCS with a back issue. For the first time in two weeks, Seager was running around a baseball field Sunday. “He said he felt as good he has in weeks,” manager Dave Roberts said. The team is confident that he will be their starting shortstop in Game 1.
Justin Turner has been the boss this postseason with a .387/.500/.677 slash line. His 1.177 OPS is just ahead of the 1.169 mark of Yasiel Puig and the 1.004 mark of Chris Taylor. Turner has three homers and 12 RBI in just eight games played.
Missing bats: Yasmani Grandal (0-for-5), Curtis Granderson (.133 OPS in 15 plate appearances), Joc Pederson (1-for-5) & Chase Utley (0-for-9).
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday-Friday, 8-10 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 8 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work on Twitter (@baseballguys).