Well you never thought they’d wrap up this World Series in just six games, did you?
Last night the Dodgers beat the Astros at home to force a seventh game tonight at Dodger Stadium. And get this: despite being the third oldest stadium in all of baseball, there’s never actually been a World Series Game 7 played under its lights.
And the last time they played a World Series Game 7 at all …
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) November 1, 2017
It’s a little bit of history tonight. Are you ready?
- To be sure, it almost looked like there’d be no Game 7 for most of the night, as Justin Verlander was absolutely cruising through his half-innings of work, without giving up much of anything. In fact, after Yasiel Puig’s one-out single in the bottom of the second, Verlander sat down 11-straight Dodgers, before reaching the fateful sixth:
- An Austin Barnes single got things going, and was followed by an untimely Chase Utley hit-by-pitch and Chris Taylor double to get the Dodgers on the board. The next batter, Corey Seager, nearly hit what would’ve been a three-run shot out of the ballpark, but ultimately settled for just one run on the sacrifice fly. Fortunately (for them), that was all the Dodgers would need the rest of the way, because the bullpen went on to shut things down, including yet another inning from potential Cubs relief target Brandon Morrow and a two-inning save from Kenley Jansen.
- Despite the runs given up, though, it’s hard to argue with Verlander’s night: 6.0 IP, 3H, 2ER, 0BB, 9Ks. That’s pretty darn good, especially for a 34 year old starter whose thrown 242.2 innings this year (including the playoffs) just one season after throwing 227.2 IP. He’s clearly still performing at a high-level, but it’s fair to wonder what he’ll have left in the tank next season (and the year after that … and potentially the year after that).
- Yesterday, I predicted that if the Dodgers took Game 6, they’d take Game 7 too – just a feeling/momentum thing, for me. But now they really better win, because according to Tommy Lasorda, the Dodgers haven’t done … eh hem … anything yet:
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) November 1, 2017
- If you have a second, follow that link and watch the video. I’m absolutely dying of laughter. As Roberts heads in for his postgame press conference, he’s called back out of frame for a moment, but the microphones are still very much picking up what he was saying and hearing. And what he was hearing was that hilarious statement from Lasorda broadcast LOUDLY for all to hear. Get on it, Roberts, you don’t want to answer to Lasorda.
- In any case, Game 7 is tonight and boy is it a big one. Perhaps the Dodgers and Astros don’t have the combined drought of the 2016 World Series participants, but Houston has still never won it all, and it’s been a very long time for the Dodgers (1988). And given the way the rest of this series has gone (basically pure insanity) it figures to be a good one with all hands on deck.
- At NBC Sports, Craig Calcaterra captures the shared feeling heading into tonight’s matchup, by noting “there is nothing like a World Series Game 7.” Moreover, he notes that we’ve been lucky enough to get a lot of them lately (3 in the last 4 years). You’ll want to check out that article, as Calcaterra runs down some of the highlights from recent World Series Game 7s, including last year’s event, which could stand as the greatest World Series Game 7 in MLB history.
- Although, you have to admit … tonight has a chance to be pretty special. The Dodgers and Astros are two compelling teams, Dodger stadium is a fantastic setting, and the series has been nothing short of unbelievable (and record setting). And, hey, if you want to be apart of history, the damage isn’t all that bad (relatively speaking):
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 1, 2017
- If you’re looking for a bit of an explanation for the ridiculously low prices, here you go:
Huge glut of inventory on WS G7 tix resale market. More than 16K seats (~30% of Dodger Stadium). Insiders call flood of seats unprecedented https://t.co/B4GQC1lGH3
— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) November 1, 2017
- Do it. Buy a ticket. Fly to Los Angeles. I dare you.
- As for the odds tonight, FanGraphs (surprisingly) has the Dodgers as the underdogs at home, with just a 46.8% chance to win it all (their odds did dip as low as 21% before last night, though, so they’re probably feeling pretty good). On the other hand, FiveThirtyEight is giving the Dodgers a COMMANDING 60% shot of winning tonight and claiming stake to history on their home turf. That’s a pretty wide margin between these two reputable sources.
- In any case, the Astros are sending Lance McCullers Jr. to the mound this evening, for his third start and fifth appearance of the postseason. He’s struggled a bit with free passes so far (13.0 BB%), but has kept batters to just a 2.95 ERA thanks, in part, to a .167 average and 54.5% ground ball rate. So long as his ritual sacrifice to the BABIP Gods was accepted (he’s had just a .209 BABIP so far!), he should be okay.
- From the other side, the Dodgers are sending Yu Darvish to the mound for his fourth start of the postseason. Despite an uglier 4.15 ERA, Darvish has looked pretty good, with his 25.5 K% and 3.6 BB%. His problem, so far, seems to be related to a tiny ground ball rate and an unfortunately high 23.1% HR/FB ratio. He’ll need to keep the ball on the ground and in the park if he wants to last deep into the game tonight.
- Speaking of which., game time is 7:00 CT and you can watch everything on FOX. It figures to be one memorable evening, so get some hot dogs, grab some beers, and buckle up. We’re in for something special.