We started out the World Series with a winner; the sixth straight MLB winner, and this one had some breathing room. The 3-1 score tucked easily under the Vegas total of seven, but don’t mistake the 3-1 result for a boring game. Clayton Kershaw was fantastic, and perhaps, finally, put to rest the nagging postseason hole in his resume. If not, he will likely get (at least) one more chance to punctuate the end of that bad rap.
The Dodgers can take a commanding series lead with a Game Two win, and likewise, the Astros can head home feeling confident if the bats awaken and they can split the pair in Chavez Ravine. It’s a pivotal Game Two, and an excellent pitching matchup, as the resurgent Justin Verlander puts his Houston brilliance on the line against the veteran Rich Hill.
Who has the edge tonight? The Dodgers at home, where they have been nearly unbeatable or the Astros with Verlander, who has been literally unbeatable?? It’s going to be great – but it will be even better if we can snatch a seventh straight W…
Today’s MLB Pick:
WORLD SERIES GAME TWO (Dodgers lead 1-0)
Houston Astros -101 at Los Angeles Dodgers -109 (Total: 7.5)
Justin Verlander vs. Rich Hill
Justin Verlander, approaching the age of 35, has never been better. And that is saying something for a guy with both a Cy Young Award AND and MVP. The splashy trade deadline acquisition looks even more brilliant a few months later, and could wind up being the decisive move that earns Houston their first World Series crown. He is 9-0 with a 1.23 ERA in a Houston uniform, regular season and postseason combined. Jaw-dropping stuff.
Yet, despite his postseason heroics and his last two months of near-perfection, the Astros are still only the slightest of favorites tonight. Keep in mind, Verlander has posted a 1.61 ERA in his past 11 games. In four appearances (three starts) in this postseason, Verlander has a 1.46 ERA over 24 2/3 innings, striking out 24. That is some Bob Gibson/Jack Morris kind of postseason excellence.
But opposing Verlander is Rich Hill (well, and the Dodgers, who were 57-24 at home this season and have yet to lose at home in the postseason). Hill has been good as well, both in the regular and postseason. Hill went 12-8 with a 3.32 ERA in 25 starts in the regular season, and he has no decisions and a 3.00 ERA through two postseason starts.
That’s good, but Verlander feels like he is on another plane right now. I’m not betting against him, no matter who the opponent or where the venue. Especially at even money.
Today Pick: HOUSTON ASTROS TO WIN -101