Houston Astros: 2017 World Series Champions
In perhaps the most exciting World Series in the last decade, the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games to win the championship. The Astros and Dodgers had two of the three best records in all of baseball. Both teams won over 100 games, and got to the World Series with two very different playing styles. The Houston Astros rode on the back of an incredible lineup that could just mash, and led the MLB in most offensive categories, while the Los Angeles Dodgers rode on the back of great starting pitching, and timely hitting from guys like Justin Turner.
The 2017 World Series saw some of the most exciting, crazy, and at times infuriating games of all time. The matchup was perfect, and it was an absolute dogfight until the very end. The two most exciting games in the series were games 2 and 5.
In game 2, the pitching matchup was incredible. A resurgent Rich Hill would attempt to spin his curveball past as many Astros as possible, while Justin Verlander would look to continue his dominant pitching for the Astros, and pick up his first World Series win. Houston jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to an RBI single from Alex Bregman in the third inning. Verlander was cruising through the Dodgers’ lineup until the fifth, when he gave up a solo shot to Joc Pederson, and then proceeded to give up a two-run shot in the sixth to Corey Seager. The game looked to be in the hands of the Dodgers, but the Astros clawed their way back to make it a one-run game in the eighth inning on an RBI single from Carlos Correa. In the top of the ninth inning, against the best closer in baseball, Marwin Gonzalez launched a solo shot to tie the game. The game headed to extras with the score tied at 3, but in the tenth inning, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa hit back-to-back solo shots to take a 5-3 lead. The Dodgers answered back in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot from Puig, and an RBI single from Enrique Hernandez. With a 5-5 tie heading into the 11th inning, George Springer just wanted to go home and hit a two-run shot to give the Astros a 7-5 lead. The Dodgers nearly came back with a solo shot by Charlie Culberson, but lost the game 7-6. The biggest thing that came out of this game, at least for me, proved that October baseball is not about Analytics. Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts, pulled Rich Hill after throwing 4 innings, because the numbers showed how Hill got significantly worse when facing a lineup for the third time, but he was cruising against the Astros, with seven strikeouts. Roberts followed the formula that he used for the whole season, but a formula simply doesn’t work in the postseason.
The craziest game of the series, and perhaps of all games in World Series history, was game 5. The game ended with the Astros winning 13-12, and the game was started by two Cy Young award winners in Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw. The game was too crazy to give a total breakdown, as it was over five hours long, and was too mentally exhausting to relive less than a week later. Game 5 was the beginning of the end for the Dodgers, this game saw the Astros completely obliterate their entire pitching staff, which was the reason they won as many games as they did. They smashed Clayton Kershaw for 6 runs in 4.2 innings, which just helped to prove how he folds in the biggest moments in October. The Astros were determined to not let the Dodgers go back to Los Angeles with an advantage in the series, and wanted to instill fear in the hearts of Dave Roberts and the Dodgers pitching staff, and they were successful. They scored runs off of nearly all of the Dodgers best pitchers, and it became clear to me that if they won game 5, the series was theirs.
Ultimately, the series was full of incredible performances, and they came from unexpected players. Guys like Charlie Morton, and Joc Pederson were incredible, and showed how regular season numbers can be meaningless, and how anyone can become a legend in October. The top of the Astros lineup was dominant, and George Springer played one of the best offensive World Series in history. He walked out of the series with the MVP award, after hitting .379 with 5 home runs and 7 RBIs.
I did predict that the Astros would win the World Series before the playoffs started, so I am pretty proud of myself for how that worked out. I also predicted that Yu Darvish would melt under the bright World Series lights, which he did.
The 2017 World Series was incredible, and both teams were absolute juggernauts, and the seven game slugfest was one of the best World Series in history. The Houston Astros won the World Series in seven games, and the MVP was George Springer.