Verlander, Springer Lead Astros to First World Series Title


The Houston Astros are World Series Champs. (Photo Via Keith Allison/Flickr)

October has come to an end, and so has one of the wildest World Series of all time between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Needless to say, even non-baseball fans could enjoy this incredible World Series.

After losing 416 of 648 games throughout 2011-2014, the Astros turned things around when they hired manager A.J. Hinch in 2015. With the help of young talent in third baseman Alex Bregman and shortstop Carlos Correa, and seasoned veterans like second baseman Jose Altuve and pitcher Justin Verlander, the Houston Astros were able to finish 1st in the American League West division going 101-62 this season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers finished the regular season with the best record in baseball this season (104-58). For the fifth consecutive season, the Dodgers won the National League West, and they finally made it to the World Series for the first time since 1988.

The Astros had everything going for them this series. Justin Verlander, one of their best acquisitions during the regular season, proved that he is one of the best pitchers in The Show today. Verlander threw 14 strikeouts and only gave up 5 hits this series.

George Springer’s 11 hits (5 homers) and .379 batting average resulted in him being titled the World Series MVP.  Amazingly, three years ago Sports Illustrated debuted a cover story of Springer, titled “Baseball’s Geat Experiment: Your 2017 World Series Champs.” The prophecy came to fruition last week. 

Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, who was just named MLB Rookie of the Year, posted dismal stats this series. Bellinger recorded just 4 hits in 28 at-bats and now holds the record for most strikeouts by a batter in a World Series (17). Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish also struggled throughout this series giving up 9 runs in 3 ⅓ innings pitched over two games.

On the other hand, star pitcher Clayton Kershaw led all pitchers who played in the World Series with 17 strikeouts. Center fielder Joc Pederson, who wasn’t on the roster for the NLDS series vs. the Diamondbacks, impressively batted .333 and hit three home runs.

Evidently, there was plenty of offense this series. The Astros had 56 hits this series, while the Dodgers countered 47 hits. The Astros and Dodgers combined for most home runs in world series history (24), leading to speculation that the balls were “juiced.” However, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, released a statement saying, “The only difference [between the baseballs during the regular season and the baseballs used during the world series] is the gold stamping on the baseballs.” Five of the seven games were decided by 2 runs, and there were no shutouts this series.

Both the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers have proven their status as elite MLB organizations. This win was not only huge for the Astros organization, but it was especially important for the city of Houston after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. They will be a formidable organization for years to come. 

Sources: Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Baseball Reference, SB Nation, Sporting News, Rolling Stone, Twitter

Photo Source: Keith Allison/Flickr