Game 1 of the World Series did not go the Astros way. The hope is Game 2 ends differently for Houston.
A quick rehash: the Astros lost to the Dodgers last night. It was Game 1 of the 2017 World Series. Dallas Keuchel was good. Clayton Kersahw was better. The final score was 3-1.
Oh, there was also something about Justin Turner switching bats when it came time for his two-run homer off Keuchel in his third at-bat of the game.
Anyway, the Astros now face an early 0-1 hole in the World Series. Game 2 is tonight in Los Angeles.
Ideally one would like for Houston to take one of the first two games before heading back home. And that can still happen as the Astros have to feel confident with Justin Verlander on the mound.
Verlander has been simply terrific since the Astros acquired him late on August 31st. The ALCS MVP will be looked upon again to help Houston regain leverage in the series.
In terms of a matchup, the veteran right-hander has faced only one current Dodger in more than nine plate appearances: Curtis Granderson. However, Granderson was left off the World Series roster for Los Angeles. Of course, Verlander’s history against Granderson was a mixed bag. While the Dodgers’ outfielder did not produce a high batting average against Verlander, he also had two home runs and four walks along with an .802 OPS.
For the Dodgers, the Astros will face off against veteran southpaw Rich Hill. You may remember from his playing days with the Cubs in the last decade.
The only two Astros to have double-digit plate appearances against Hill are Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. Even then the small sample size argument can likely be invoked. The same argument obviously kicks in for the remaining Astros’ batters. Like Verlander against anyone not named Curtis Granderson, there isn’t much of a history between Hill and the young Houston hitters.
Game 2 of the World Series is not exactly a must-win for the Astros. It is not impossible to rebound from a 0-2 hole with three games coming up at Minute Maid Park this weekend. But if Houston would like to win the series, then at least one win in Los Angeles is a must. It will be nice if this occurred in Game 2. And Verlander on the mound should at least boost the team’s confidence.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**