Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Series tied 1-1
Next Game: Friday, 10.27.17 – 8:00pm EST
In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy: “That escalated quickly.”
Game one was a classic Clayton Kershaw gem. The kind of performance that has become mundane for him in the regular season, but harder for him to summon in October. One run, three hits and eleven strikeouts over seven full innings. Dodger 3B Justin Turner continued to batter opposing pitching, this time providing all the offense that would be needed with a tie breaking two-run homer off of Houston starter Dallas Keuchel, who had looked almost as good as Kershaw until Turner’s laser shot to left field put the Dodgers up for good. It was exactly the sort of start that LA was looking for to begin the World Series. Win at home, just as they have all through these playoffs, and everything looks rosy.
Game two started exactly to plan. In fact, after six innings it was a carbon copy of game one. 3-1 Dodgers, with one notable exception. LA Manager Dave Roberts yanked Rich Hill, who had given up only four hits and just a single run, after four innings. Roberts trusted his bullpen to get the job done for over half the game. It almost worked too. The lead held until LA sent out closer Kenley Jansen for a six out save attempt that the Astros chipped away at in the eighth, then tied in the ninth. Dodger LF Yasiel Puig was within inches of a layout catch that would have stifled the Astros rally in the eighth, but came up just short, allowing a double that would be cashed in two batters later. The next inning Gonzalez went long on Jansen to tie the game. That’s when things started getting really, really interesting.
In the Astros side of the tenth, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa went yard back to back, putting Houston back up by a pair. LA answered back in the bottom of the tenth with a leadoff homer by Puig and an RBI single by Enrique Hernandez before being stifled.
So on to the eleventh we went, where LA trotted out its eighth reliever of the evening, Brandon McCarthy, who didn’t make the roster for either of the other two playoff series. A George Springer two-run blast would put the Astros up for good, though the Dodgers would score once in the eleventh on a two-out Charlie Culbertson solo shot. Though that final four-bagger didn’t bring the Dodgers all the way back, but it did set a record for home runs in a World Series with eight people hitting a home run in the same game.
Dave Roberts will probably get some guff for pulling his starter so early in a game when he wasn’t struggling. It’s probably well deserved. When the Astros came back against one of the game’s best closers because he was asked to get six outs instead of three, they knew they could hit anyone else that LA would call for the extra innings. Advantage Astros. Game two was a masterpiece of baseball drama, and good tonic for anyone who feels the game has lost some luster in the past few years. Now the series is shifting to Houston locked at one a piece. It should be noted: The Astros haven’t lost at home in these playoffs either. As dominant as the Dodgers have looked, they got exposed in game two. They’ll need to turn up the heat and steal at least one back if they want to get back to Chavez Ravine.
Get your popcorn ready.
Tom Capo writes about sports, parenting, food, wine and travel; but seldom all at once. He’s currently working on his first novel and collection of shorter fiction. He lives in the Bay Area with all of his girls; wife Allison, daughter Liliana and dog Artemis.