Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Houston Leads 3-2
Next Game: Tuesday, 10.31.17 – 8:00pm EST
If you haven’t been tuned in to the World Series so far this year, I’m going to go ahead and highly recommend that you jump in tonight. The series thus far has been a feast for those who love the long ball, setting a new record for total homeruns in a World Series in game five. It’s not just the hitters sending balls into the stratosphere that’s been fun to watch. These games have been intense and wildly entertaining with more twists and turns than a M. Night Shyamalan flick. Neither team seems able to fully contain the offensive firepower of the other, so when the game moves to the later innings, it seems that no lead is safe.
In game three, Houston touched up Dodgers’ starter Yu Darvish for four runs in the second inning and never looked back. Unfortunately, the Astros’ 5-3 win was marred by some ignorant banter on the part of the Astros’ first baseman Yuli Gurriel. After his second inning solo shot that got the fireworks started and concluded with Darvish being pulled before the inning ended, Gurriel celebrated in the dugout by making a slanted eyes gesture at the Dodgers’ starter, who hails from Japan. Despite Darvish’s remarkable class and poise in the blowback after the incident, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred got the punishment way wrong. Gurriel will sit out five games for his actions. But he’ll sit them out next year. Clearly, Manfred didn’t want to spoil what has become a major sports spectacle with two red-hot teams battling to the death by suspending a player during the World Series. I would argue that if Gurriel’s gesture warranted punishment (it did), then it warranted immediate punishment. There’s no need to confirm guilt, or wait for a legal process to play out here. There’s no place for that type of ignorance and insensitivity in baseball, and we shouldn’t abide it because it might make the games more exciting.
Game four looks at first glance like one of the easier wins for either team so far. A final 6-2 tally leveled up the series at 2-2, but that doesn’t tell the story. What’s important to note here is that Dodgers’ starter Alex Wood took a no-hitter into the sixth, and the game was knotted at 1-1 until a jailbreak 5-run inning off of Astros’ closer Brandon Giles in the ninth put the Astros to the mat. In total, the Astros only had two hits, but both were homeruns, just adding to the record-setting tally that will surely increase tonight.
With all of the excitement leading up to game five, it’s hard to imagine that they could play a game any more intense than what we’ve seen so far. Yet…stranger things have happened. Game 5 started with aces Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel on the mound. It ended up with a tenth inning Astros walk-off victory and a final tally of 13-12 and seven more home runs. I could spend the next three paragraphs describing what happened over a five-hour period in Houston Sunday night, but I’ll leave it at this. It might well have been the most exciting baseball game of the last fifty years with lead changes and ties coming in flurries throughout the entire five-hour affair. A two-out walk-off single by Lance Bregman to bring in pinch runner Derek Fisher from second finally put the Astros up 3-2 in the series. It also put the Dodgers backs against the wall, as now they must sweep the final two games in Chavez Ravine to avoid being the regular season juggernaut that couldn’t close the deal. The Astros have needed two extra-innings games to get this far, but they’re in command. The Dodgers have their work cut out for them, as the Astros will send veteran Justin Verlander to the mound tonight to counter LA’s Rich Hill. Verlander has been nothing short of phenomenal this post season. More than that, he’s been invincible since he pulled on an Astros uniform at the trade deadline. He’s 9-0 since that day. The Astros haven’t wasted a single start, even when Verlander gets a no-decision, the Astros are undefeated when he’s taken the mound.
How it will shake out, I have no idea, but the way this thing is going, I can’t imagine we won’t see a game seven.
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.