Astros: World Series Preview – Game 1

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 23: Justin Verlander
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 23: Justin Verlander /

Welcome to the World Series, one and all! Game 1 between the Astros and Dodgers start tonight in the surprisingly hot Los Angeles.

For the second time in franchise history, the Astros have earned a spot in the Fall Classic. The best-of-seven series will begin tonight in Dodger Stadium at 7:08 PM (CT).

Don’t expect for the Astros to change things up in term of the World Series roster.

This news confirms that Jake Marisnick will not be on the World Series roster. Also, the Astros will carry the same twelve pitchers and thirteen position players that they did in the ALCS against the Yankees.

In regard to the Game 1 matchup, the Astros will send their own southpaw, Dallas Keuchel, to start against the Dodgers’ southpaw, Clayton Kershaw. A battle between two former Cy Young award winners.

Ben Lindbergh of the Ringer and the Effectively Wild podcast on Fangraphs noted in his latest piece that the Dodgers could be Keuchel’s “kyrptonite”. And there is merit to his argument. After all, Keuchel thrives on living in the lower part of the strike zone. The Dodgers are one of the best teams in terms of not swinging at outside pitches. I recommend reading Lindbergh’s article in full to properly gauge this point.

On the other side, Houston’s lineup goes against Kershaw, one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Thanks to the handy Play Index by Baseball Reference, we know that the current Astros’ batters have a combined .620 OPS against Kershaw in 111 plate appearances. That’s, um, not encouraging. However, only four Astros’ batters have double-digit plate appearances against Kershaw. Cameron Maybin leads the way with 33 plate appearances. Carlos Beltran has 31. Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis have 15 and 13, respectively. Outside of these four, there isn’t a lot of history worth discussing between the Astros and Kershaw.

Next: Astros rotation for the World Series almost lined up

Game 1 is going to be an interesting matchup, regardless of the final result. The Astros’ offense started to show signs of life in their past two games against the Yankees. And the Dodgers were arguably the best team in baseball. They won 104 games despite losing 16 of 17 at one point in the second half. These two teams were truly powerhouses. This World Series matchup has the ability to become a classic.

**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**