After 4,860 regular season games and 31 more playoff games, the 2017 season of Major League Baseball (MLB) is finally, seriously, 100% for real in its final stage. This Tuesday is Game 1 of the World Series, the best-of-seven game playoff to decide the best baseball team around.
This year pits the Houston Astros against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams are very, very good (as you'd expect), and both teams have their own reasons why you should root for them.
Which team should win? Let's have a look!
Going gaga for La La Land
Los Angeles (a.k.a. L.A., a.k.a La La Land) is known for its (movie) stars, its (actual) sun...but not necessarily its baseball champions. Despite the Dodgers usually being a pretty good team, they have a habit of falling apart in the playoffs. How badly?
Their last World Series title came in 1988, which is 29 years ago. Since then, they've been in the playoffs 11 times (that's pretty good)...and not made the World Series once (that's pretty bad).
Not this year, though.
In 2017, they won 104 games and lost only 58 for baseball's best record. They were so good, they had a stretch where they lost 16 of 17 games, and still finished tops! And they've kept it going in the playoffs, too. They've lost just one of eight games, outscoring their opponents 48 to 19. They have the game's best pitcher (Clayton Kershaw) and the game's best beard (Justin Turner).
They should totally win, right?
Whose team? Houston's!
Hold on there, partner. The Astros have a real case to be made, too.
Their regular record was nearly as good as L.A.'s — 101 wins and 61 losses. And when they won, they won HUGE. They scored 896 runs this year, the most in the league by far. Sure, they haven't been as dominant in the playoffs as the Dodgers. They barely squeezed past in the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, winning four games to three.
But they have their pint-sized powerhouse second baseman Jose Altuve, who was the league's best hitter all year. They have pitcher Justin Verlander, a top veteran who has been a magician in these playoffs. And they also have something poetic going for them.
The hopes of their city.
Helping after Harvey
Sure, every city wants their team to win. But in Houston this year, it's a little different. Not only have the Astros never won a World Series in their 55-year history, Houston could really use something to cheer for.
That's because Houston is still dealing with damage caused by the devastating floods brought by Hurricane Harvey in August. The city was hurt badly and repairs will still take many months before they are complete. This all makes the success of the Astros about more than just a team playing a sport. It has given a city in pain something to feel good about. The fans feel it, and the players feel it.
So who will take the title? Both teams are awesome and have been since the start of the season. They both deserve it. Statistically, we see the unreal pitching and defense of the Dodgers as being just enough to subdue the unreal offense of the Astros.
But our hearts? They're with Houston, where a first-ever championship will mean so much.
Either way, it's going to be a great series!