Dodgers Dugout: Comparing the Dodgers and Astros at each position
Los Angeles Times sportswriters Andy McCullough and Dylan Hernandez discuss the Dodgers’ advantages and disadvantages against the Houston Astros heading into the 2017 World Series.
Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Los Angeles Mitchell. Is there anything exciting happening this week?
Dodgers versus Astros
Yes, I’ve decided to change my first name until the World Series ends.
The Dodgers, who haven’t won a World Series since 1988, take on the Houston Astros, who haven’t won a World Series ever. Let’s compare the teams at each position. The first set of numbers will be from the regular season, with that player’s OPS+ (for an explanation of OPS+, click here) and WAR (for an explanation of WAR, click here) and the second set will be their postseason numbers.
Brian McCann (.241/.323/.436/109 OPS+/1.2 WAR). Postseason: .156/.270/.219
Austin Barnes (.289/.408/.486/137/2.6). Postseason: .261/.370/.435
McCann is a 13-year veteran acquired from the Yankees in the off-season. His defense has slipped to where he’s average to slightly below average behind the plate. Barnes took the starting job from Yasmani Grandal in September and had a breakout season. He slumped in the NLCS going 2 for 15. You can’t discount McCann’s experience.
Edge: Dodgers (but it’s a slight edge)
Yuli Gurriel (.299/.332/.486/124/2.6). Postseason: .366/.409/.512
Cody Bellinger (.267/.352/.581/142/4.2). Postseason: .278/.316/.500
Both are good players. Gurriel came over from Cuba and joined the Astros last season. He’s a doubles machine (43 this season), while Bellinger is a homer machine (39). Gurriel is below average on defense, Bellinger looks like a future Gold Glove winner.
Jose Altuve (.346/.410/.547/164/8.3). Postseason: .400/.500/.775
Logan Forsythe (.224/.351/.327/82/1.8). Postseason: .318/.458/.368
Altuve is the favorite to win AL MVP and is one of the best players in the game. Forsythe isn’t.
Alex Bregman: (.284/.352/.475/129/4.1). Postseason: .190/.244/.381
Justin Turner: (.322/.415/.530/149/5.7). Postseason: .387/.500/.677
Turner is the leader of the Dodgers, one of the best hitters and fielders in the game. Bregman is good, but he’s no Justin Turner.
Carlos Correa: (.315/.391/.550/158/6.2). Postseason: .295/.340/.591
Corey Seager: (.295/.375/.479/125/5.6). Postseason: .273/.467/.455
This assumes that Seager will be on the World Series roster. If Seager was 100%, you could argue that he should get the edge here. But Seager won’t be 100% even if he makes the roster. Correa is an outstanding player. These are two of the best shortstops in the game, but right now, the edge goes to Houston.
Marwin Gonzalez (.303/.377/.530/149/4.3). Postseason: .162/.244/.216.
Andre Ethier (.235/.316/.441/98/-0.1). Postseason: .250/.333/.625 or Kikè Hernandez (.215/.308/.421/91/1.2). Postseason: .417/.533/1.250
Gonzalez had 34 doubles and 23 homers this season and can also play at first, second, short and third. Ethier is trying for one last glorious moment with the Dodgers and hopefully Game 5 against the Cubs is the start of a power trend for Hernandez. But either way, the edge here is an easy choice.
George Springer (.283/.367/.522/144/5.0). Postseason: .233/.327/.349
Chris Taylor (.288/.354/.496/122/4.8). Postseason: .281/.410/.594
Astros fans probably think this is an easy call, but it’s not. Both are excellent players who can make big plays on defense. The Dodgers really started clicking when Taylor was inserted in the leadoff spot, and he grinds out at-bats, making the pitcher work. Springer gets overlooked because of the presence of Altuve and Correa, but he walked more and struck out less than Taylor. But Taylor has brought something to the lineup that can’t quite be quantified.
Edge: Dodgers, but it’s close.
Josh Reddick (.314/.363/.484/134/4.4). Postseason: .171/.227/.171.
Yasiel Puig (.263/.346/.487/118/3.7). Postseason: .414/.514/.655
Yeah, that’s the same Josh Reddick who played so poorly for the Dodgers when they acquired him at the deadline last season. They got him to replace: Puig, who had been struggling and was sent to the minors. What a difference a season makes. Reddick’s numbers were slightly better this season, but Puig is a Gold Glover and was instrumental in the NLDS and NLCS victories.
The DH will be used when the World Series shifts to Houston and will not be used at Dodger Stadium.
Evan Gattis (.263/.311/.457). Postseason: .250/.360/.500 or Carlos Beltran (.231/.283/.383). Postseason: .176/.222/.294.
It’s hard to say who the Dodgers will use at DH. They may put Seager at DH and Charlie Culberson at short to give Seager’s elbow and back a rest. They may put Ethier or Hernandez or Curtis Granderson or Hernandez there. We’ll have to see.
Edge: Dodgers (if they use Seager). Astros (if Dodgers use anyone else).
Starting pitching (we’ll go without numbers for the pitchers)
Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, Charlie Morton, Brad Peacock or Lance McCullers Jr.
Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Rich Hill, Alex Wood.
Both teams are solid at starting pitching, but I think the Dodgers are slightly better overall from 1-4. But they really need Kershaw to pitch like the three-time Cy Young winner he is and make those comparisons to Sandy Koufax seem more legitimate.
Ken Giles, Chris Devenski, Joe Musgrove, Collin McHugh, Francisco Liriano, Luke Gregorson, Will Harris.
Kenley Jansen, Brad Morrow, Kenta Maeda, Tony Watson, Tony Cingrani, Josh Fields, Ross Stripling.
The Dodgers had the best bullpen in baseball all season. If they pitch like they did against Arizona and Chicago, the Dodgers will win the series.
Gattis, Beltran, Cameron Maybin, Juan Centeno, Derek Fisher.
Ethier, Hernandez, Granderson, Chase Utley, Culberson, Kyle Farmer, Grandal.
Of course, this might change depending on which rosters each team will go with. Gattis and Beltran give the Astros a solid two pinch-hitters. Granderson and Utley looked lost at the plate in the NLCS.
A.J. Hinch (third season with Astros, 271-215 record; fifth season overall, 360-338 record).
Dave Roberts (second season with Dodgers, 195-129 record).
Both managers are candidates to be manager of the year. Every decision Roberts has made in the playoffs has paid off, as long as the move doesn’t involve Granderson.
On paper, the Dodgers should win. But they don’t play the games on paper. These are two evenly matched teams, and I expect the series to go at least six games.
There’s something wrong in the world when I can fly to Houston, stay overnight and buy a ticket for a World Series game there for cheaper than I can stay in L.A. and buy a ticket for a game here.
Places like StubHub are asking for $1,250 for a seat in the top deck. Unless you were the lucky ones to win the chance to buy tickets through the Dodgers.com lottery, there’s no way an average fan can attend a game. That’s a crime. I have kids to send to college. Am I supposed to tell them, “Sorry, no college for you so we can go to a World Series game?”
If I was the Dodgers, here’s what I would do:
1. Discover which Dodgers fans are selling their tickets through a secondary market for a jacked-up price and bar them from ever buying a postseason ticket again.
2. Buy up as many secondary tickets as I could and pull more names from the online lottery. Sell the tickets to those people.
Of course, that’s why I’m not a multi-millionaire and the Dodgers owners are.
The World Series
All games start at 5 p.m. PT and are televised on Fox.
Game 1: Tuesday, Astros (Dallas Keuchel) at Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw)
Game 2: Wednesday, Astros (Justin Verlander) at Dodgers (TBA)
Game 3: Friday, Dodgers at Astros
Game 4: Saturday, Dodgers at Astros
Game 5*: Sunday, Dodgers at Astros
Game 6*: Tuesday, Oct. 31, Astros at Dodgers
Game 7*: Wednesday, Nov. 1, Astros at Dodgers
* if necessary
This needs no explanation. Just watch.
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