The Dodgers and Astros square off in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, with Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel taking the hill. Both pitchers will be facing deep, powerful lineups, but as potent as each lineup is, the outcome likely hinges on the arms – not just in Game 1, but for the entire series.
“It could very well come down to pitching,” Los Angeles KNX sports anchor Randy Kerdoon said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Over the years, a lot of Dodger fans have seen Clayton get to a certain point, and then for some reason or another, he just couldn’t get it over the hump. He couldn’t get it right to the point where he was in control. Now we’ve seen the in-control Kershaw for the most part this postseason, but there’s always this element of doubt, I think. A lot of Dodger fans are kind of holding their breath, hoping the back doesn’t go out again, that there’s not a fluke injury, that he’s able to basically keep it going, concentrating, focusing on getting that first win.”
Kershaw is 2-0 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts this postseason. He needs to win Game 1, mainly because Justin Verlander – who is 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA in the playoffs – is pitching Game 2.
“Verlander has just been unstoppable in the postseason,” Kerdoon said. “Rich (Hill) has pitched okay, but against a guy who is as hot as Verlander, if the Astros are going to steal a game, I’m thinking Game 2 might very well be that game.”
In the end, the Fall Classic features two of the top three teams in baseball: the 104-win Dodgers and the 101-win Astros. Houston is 7-4 in the postseason, with all four losses coming on the road. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are 7-1, with the one loss coming against the Cubs by one run in Wrigley.
Los Angeles, in short, has been dominant.
“Houston is playing great baseball,” Kerdoon said, “(but) the Dodgers may have too much for them.”