Astros full of heart and energy, but is that enough against a squad this powerful?

World Series preview: Dodgers look like a team for the ages

By —— Bio and Archives--October 24, 2017

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Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, World Series
There appear to be two versions of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The one you see most of the time is the one you’ve seen throughout the postseason. Determined. Resilient. Relentless. Confident. This is the team that will come to bat in the ninth inning down by three runs and appear to be under no stress whatsoever - because someone’s going to hit a grand slam. It happened so often this season, you almost came to expect it, and you were rarely disappointed.

The Dodgers’ pitching is so deep, especially since the trade that added Yu Darvish to the rotation, that a stellar pitcher like Kenta Maeda can’t crack the postseason rotation. No problem. Maeda has become one of the mainstays of the bullpen.

The Dodgers’ talent is so deep that when longtime cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez went down with an injury early in the season, the called called up 23-year-old rookie Cody Bellenger from the minors - and Bellenger proceeded to hit 39 home runs.

The Dodgers lineup is so deep that you don’t feel any more secure facing leadoff hitter Chris Taylor or platoon player # Hernandez than you do facing thumpers Justin Turner and Corey Seager.

By the way, Yasiel Puig is your friend. And Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball.

This is the Dodger team that at one point in the season was an astonishing 91-37, and seemed incapable of losing a game, much less a series. It’s a team that should be a prohibitive favorite to beat the Astros and win its first World Series in 29 years.

Then there’s the Dodgers’ doppelganger. This contorted, bizarre, twisted wreck of a squad somehow managed to lose 15 of 16 games in early September, inspiring all of the baseball world to scratch its collective head as a frustrated Turner declared one day in the clubhouse, “Right now, we’re the worst team in baseball!”

Somehow the DoppelDodgers were made to vomit up their Garmonbozia and return to the Black Lodge, and the real version returned in time to end up with 104 wins. The real Dodgers swept the Diamonbacks (who were supposed to give them trouble) in the Division Series and then took four of five from the now-dethroned Cubs to take the NLCS. It seems inconceivable that the bad version would return for the World Series.

But the Houston Astros are intimidated by no one. They were entirely unimpressed by Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series, and bounced back from a three-game stumble in New York to eliminate the Yankees in a thrilling seven-game ALCS. Jose Altuve is an amazingly complete player. Carlos Correia, George Springer and Alex Bregman are mainstays of a resilient and always dangerous lineup.

And in Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, the Astros have just about as good a 1-2 punch at the top of their starting rotation as anyone in baseball.

Verlander in particular poses a threat to the Dodgers’ dominance. Most who read this column know I am a Detroit Tigers fan, and we realized throughout July and August that Verlander might be leaving us. Because of that, we made a point of going to every home Verlander start we could, knowing full well that each one had the potential to be his last start in Detroit. The actual last home start turned out to be a brilliant two-hit performance that led to a 6-1 win. The vanquished opponent was none other than the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the Tigers’ only win in that series.

When Verlander is on, there is no one better. He will likely start Game 2 in Los Angeles after Keuchel gets the call in Game 1. Most likely they will match up with Kershaw and Rich Hill. Those will be epic pitching matchups.

My sense, though, is that the Dodgers will have the edge in those games at home, and that the Dodgers’ deeper rotation will put them in a strong position when the Series shifts to Houston for games 3,4 and 5. I think this will be a great series and I certainly don’t envision either team sweeping. My gut tells me that unless the DoppelDodgers somehow escape from the netherworld, L.A. simply has too much for the Astros.

But betting against Justin Verlander is a fool’s errand.

This should be an amazing World Series. I can’t wait for it to start.

Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain.com

A new edition of Dan’s book “Powers and Principalities” is now available in hard copy and e-book editions. Follow all of Dan’s work, including his series of Christian spiritual warfare novels, by liking his page on Facebook.

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