Baseball

Why Baseball Needs An Astros/Dodgers World Series

Tempers flare in Dodgers-Astros game following sign-stealing punishment -  CNN
(CNN)

There was a point in time when baseball was labeled “America’s sport.” Some may still call it this, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Today, fast-paced sports like the NFL and NBA are much more appealing to the modern generation. A specific World Series match-up, however, could do wonders for the sport of baseball. The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers are currently in the ALCS and NLCS, respectively. If they were to meet in the World Series, there would be absolute pandemonium, and that’s exactly what baseball needs.

Recent History

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few years, you know that the Astros were accused of illegally stealing signs during the 2017 regular season and postseason. In the regular season, the Astros surprisingly hit slightly better on the road despite clear evidence of sign stealing. They slashed .284/.351/.483 on the road compared to .279/.340/.472 at Minute Maid Park. In the postseason, however, the Astros lineup was significantly better in Houston, slugging .519, scoring 51 runs, and coming up with clutch hit after clutch hit in 9 home playoff games. In the 9 games they played on the road, they scored just 27 runs, barely hit over .200, and slugged a measly .347.

Obviously, these accusations and suspicious home/road postseason splits sparked a lot of controversy across Major League Baseball. As for the Los Angeles Dodgers, they felt like they were cheated out of a World Series title, and rightfully so. Do we know for a fact the Astros would’ve lost without stealing signs? No, but we also don’t know if they would’ve won. It left a bitter taste in the mouths of baseball players and fans, and most of all it was simply an awful look for the sport of baseball. On the bight side for the Dodgers, they may have the chance to get their revenge very soon. On the bright side for sports fans, an Astros vs. Dodgers World Series would create incredible intrigue, and ratings would be through the roof.

Who Doesn’t Love Drama?

Sports fans love drama. In fact, people in general are intrigued by drama. Just think of all the drama-filled movies and T.V. shows that lure viewers in. When the Astros and Dodgers met for the first time after the allegations came out in 2019, Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly certainly didn’t hide his emotions. He intentionally launched fastballs at the heads of Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. Kelly then had some words for Correa after striking him out.

Keep in mind, this was a regular season game with no fans. Now we’re talking about the possibility of these two teams meeting in the World Series, with sold out crowds. Obviously, no Dodger pitcher would intentionally try to beam an Astros hitter in the World Series, but that wouldn’t take anything away from the drama and intensity of this potential match-up. With drama comes intrigue, while it also brings in more viewers. Of course, baseball fans are going to watch the World Series regardless of who’s playing. A Dodgers vs. Astros World Series, however, would bring in countless fans of other sports. It may even bring in non-sports fans, knowing the potential drama in store.

With the widespread knowledge of the Astros cheating scandal during their 2017 championship season in which they defeated L.A. in the World Series, people all across the country would be tuning in. Cody Bellinger’s remarks back in 2020 would only add to the drama.

Two Best Teams?

We know about the hype and intensity that this match-up would bring, but let’s not forget the fact that these are arguably the two best teams in baseball. These are two lineups that can absolutely wreak havoc on opposing pitchers. As for the Astros, they slashed .267/.339/.444, which ranked 1st, 1st, and 3rd in the AL, respectively. This lineup is deep, balanced, and they score their runs in bunches. Yordan Alvarez led Houston with 33 home runs and 104 RBI, while Yuli Gurriel led the team in average (.319) and OBP (.389), and Kyle Tucker led the team in slugging (.557) and OPS (.917). Don’t forget about Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, who both had OBP’s over .350 and have already had a pair of clutch homers early in their AL championship series against the Red Sox.

The bad news for the Astros is the injury to their ace starter Lance McCullers, who is off the team’s ALCS roster. If Houston makes it to the World Series, they’ll need him, along with Garcia, Valdez, and Greinke, to try and contain a Dodgers lineup that isn’t easy to get through. The Dodgers finished 1st in the NL in walks, 2nd in OBP, and 3rd in homers.

Unfortunately for L.A., they have a key injury of their own. 1st basemen Max Muncy, who hit 36 homers, 94 RBI, and slugged .527, is unlikely to return to the NLCS. Even without their best power hitter, the Dodgers certainly have the firepower to get past Atlanta. Corey Seager (.306/.394/.521), Justin Turner (.278/.361/.471), Mookie Betts (.264/.367/.487), Will Smith (.258/.365/.495), and AJ Pollock (.297/.355/.536), just to name a few. The reason I would give the Dodgers the edge in this series is their lethal pitching staff of Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and a bullpen that had the 2nd best regular season ERA in the majors.

Where Each Team Stands Now

Unfortunately, neither team is off to a good start in their respective championship series’. The Red Sox were able to split the first two games in Houston. That series is headed to Fenway, tied 1-1. The Dodgers dropped Game 1 in Atlanta last night, and they’ll look to tie the series tonight. I expect both teams to bounce back and take control of each series. If they can, we would be set up for one of the most highly anticipated World Series’ of all time.

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  1. Pingback: Trevor Harris Traded To...Montreal? - Championship Sports Media

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