By Matthew Bagdat,
Sports Business Editor
The Dodgers will be making their first World Series appearance since 1988 after the National League’s representatives defeated the defending Champion Cubs in five games. The team was the heavy favorite to make it out of the NL at the start of the postseason, given their incredible 104-58 record during the regular season, and multiple long win streaks throughout the 162 games.
Los Angeles first faced the Diamondbacks in the NL Divisional Series, and faced very little difficulty, as they swept the best-of-five series. Outfielder Yasiel Puig and third-baseman Justin Turner came up huge for LA in games two and three, respectively.
Their next challenger was the Chicago Cubs, last year’s World Series Champions. While the Cubs were a solid ball club, the Dodgers’ pitching proved to be too much, as they allowed only seven runs in the five games. A defining moment was Justin Turner’s three-run walk-off homerun in game two, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 series lead, which proved to be insurmountable. The Cubs salvaged a win in a close game four, but three homeruns by Enrique Hernandez in game five clinched the Dodgers’ World Series berth for the first time in nearly 30 years.
After defeating the Red Sox rather soundly in four games in the divisional round, the Houston Astros faced their toughest test against the young New York Yankees. The Yankees had showed their toughness after coming back to defeat the Indians in the ALDS after trailing 2-0. The Astros took a commanding 2-0 series lead in the ALCS, only to find themselves down 3-2 after playing three games in the Bronx. While many had picked the Yankees to win the series after game five, the Astros had different ideas. They turned to former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, who once again gave them a lights-out performance for the second time in the series. With the series tied at three apiece, Houston relied on starter Charlie Morton, who combined with reliever Lance McCullers to shut out the Baby Bombers 4-0 in game seven, clinching their berth to the World Series for the first time since 2005.
This year’s World Series matchup will certainly be an interesting one, as many will agree that these are without question the two best teams in baseball, considering they both won over 100 games in the regular season. The Dodgers have plenty of firepower in their lineup with rookie Cody Bellinger, as well as the likes of Puig, Turner, and Hernandez. Their pitching staff and bullpen has been strong throughout the postseason, despite ace Clayton Kershaw not looking quite like himself.
The Astros also boast a strong rotation lead by Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. They have some firepower of their own led by AL MVP candidate Jose Altuve, a clutch performer in the ALCS, as well as the likes of Carlos Correa and George Springer.
Postseason baseball always has its special moments, and this year has been no exception.
The matchups leading up to the World Series have been spectacular, and given the strength of these two teams, I am expecting nothing less with a world championship on the line. There’s no better time to be a fan of America’s pastime.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 24th print edition.
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