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Launch Pad: The Houston Astros Can Swing Their Way to A World Series

Holy smokes, what a World Series it’s been thus far. Let’s do a quick recap for those not paying attention:

Game 1: A battle of the aces with both Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Dallas Keuchel of the Astros pitching to their Cy Young caliber form. All-Star 3B Justin Turner delivers a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 6th and that’s all she wrote. Dodgers win 3-1

Game 2: 8 home runs leave the yard in a back-and-forth affair, with CF George Springer‘s 2-run home run in the top of the 11th giving the Astros the lead for good. Shout out Charlie Culberson for being one of the most obscure names to hit a World Series home run in the bottom of 11, but it wasn’t enough. Astros take it 7-6.

Game 3: The series shifts to Houston and despite his 3-run homer in the bottom of the 2nd, Yuli Gurriel created a much bigger stir by his actions in the dugout. Astros put up four in the 2nd and starter Lance McCullers went 5.1 strong, with Brad Peacock tossing 3.2 no-hit innings. Astros win 5-3.

Game 4: Another doozy of a game, George Springer’s solo home run in the bottom of the 6th gave the Astros a 1-0 lead. However, a 5-run Dodger 9th sparked by Cody Bellinger‘s go-ahead double and capped by Joc Pederson‘s 2-run homer ties the series up. Dodgers win 6-2.

Game 5: This was potentially the best baseball game I’ve ever watched, and continuing the recurring theme of the series, there were a ton of lead changes and a ton of home runs. 4-0 Dodgers after three innings, 4-4 after four, 7-7 after five, 11-8 Astros after seven and 12-9 Astros going into the ninth before the Dodgers sent it to extras. From there, Houston 3B Alex Bregman delivered a walk-off single to give the Astros a 3-2 series lead.

Once again; HOLY SMOKES!!! This series has had everything a baseball fan could ask for, and more. Naturally with a completely unpredictable series, we all want to know what’s in store for the final game(s) of the season. Or more importantly, who’s going to be the champion when it’s all said and done.

How the Astros Win

For the Astros it comes down to two letters; JV. Justin Verlander was brought to Houston for this exact reason, to put them over the top and win this exact game. Verlander leads the playoffs with 30 IP, is second in strikeouts (29) and has a perfect 4-0 record to go along with a 2.05 ERA.  Throughout his career, Verlander has become one of the most “clutch” pitchers of his era, and for the Astros to win a title, I think JV needs to get it done in game 6. Anything can happen in game 7, and I think the home crowd and Clayton Kershaw out of the bullpen would give Los Angeles the advantage.

How the Dodgers Win

Their bullpen NEEDS to return to their regular season form for the Dodgers to win this series. Kenley Jansen has to get back to the dominant force we’ve come to know him as. The lineup up and down has produced for the most part, and I think getting a few runs early on in game 6 can help the Dodgers tackle the task of beating Verlander. As I said above, if they can force a game 7 I like LA to win the series, but as we’ve seen all series long, anything is possible.

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