Houston Astros vs. Los Angels Dodgers – Astros in 7
The thought of Darvish returning to Texas is enticing. The idea of Verlander facing a team some thought he might get traded to is also enticing.
A lot of this has focused on pitching, and rightful so because it is the postseason separator.
But, let’s evaluate the lineups.
Catcher – Yasmani Grandal vs. Brian McCann – Close to push – Grandal had better power numbers, but they both hit between .240 and .250. Grandal may be better defensively, but McCann has the experience.
First base – Cody Bellinger vs. Yuri Gurriel – Bellinger has the power numbers, but Gurriel’s average is much, much higher. Both are young players, but when power often disappears versus good pitching, Gurriel’s ability to put the ball in play gives him a slight advantage.
Shortstop – Corey Seager vs. Carlos Correa – Two bright young stars here. Power numbers are relatively similar, but Correa hit 20 points higher in the regular season. Slight edge to Correa.
Center field – Chris Taylor vs. Curtis Granderson – Taylor has a slight advantage at batting average, but Springer is the better player.
Right field – Yasiel Puig vs. Josh Reddick – Defensively, Puig gets the nod, although it wouldn’t be as much as expected. But, he hit .263 this year and isn’t a high average hitter. Reddick hit .314, and the Astros get the nod again.
Another item worth noticing going through the numbers is the fact that the Dodgers are a high strikeout team. When the air gets chilly, and the season gets long, teams that strike out a lot are prone to low scoring (see Baltimore Orioles).
As a team that has already gone through several offensive funks this year, I don’t think the pitching advantage can carry the Dodgers, and the Astros complete a stunning turnaround from MLB joke to World Series Champions of the 2017 MLB playoffs.