a reason Astros manager A.J. Hinch has been all too happy

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a reason Astros manager A.J. Hinch has been all too happy

This is, of course, the first time the Dodgers and Astros have met in the World Series (the Astros have only been in the AL for five seasons, after all), but they have opposed each other in October. In 1980 they tied Jake Marisnick Youth Jersey atop the NL West, leading to a one-game tiebreaker in which Houston's Joe Niekro stepped up with a complete-game victory to clinch the club's first postseason berth. (The Astros went on to lose the NLCS to the Phillies.)

The following year, the two clubs met again in a best-of-five Division Series that was set up to settle matters between the first- and second-half division champions in a season split up by a strike. Los Angeles won that one in five games en route to a World Series title.

At the break in 2017, the Dodgers James Hoyt Youth Jersey (61-29) and Astros (60-29) were far and away the best two teams in MLB, each with a winning percentage more than 70 points higher than the third club on the list (the D-backs, who were 53-36). In the grueling test the postseason has become, it is unusual for both clubs that hit that halfway point with the best records in their leagues to actually face each other in the Fall Classic. It's happened just three times in the Wild Card era (1995 Braves-Indians, 1996 Yankees-Braves and 2013 Red Sox-Cardinals).
Though the Astros and Dodgers both had some second-half stumbles, long after they had virtually clinched their respective divisions, they've advanced as advertised in October. Both are undefeated at home this postseason, Jandel Gustave Youth Jersey so perhaps the built-in advantage for Los Angeles will prove to be a big deal; it certainly was to the Astros in the ALCS, which became the fifth series in which the home team won every game. That has happened three times in the World Series: the Twins over Cardinals in 1987, the Twins over Braves in 1991 and the D-backs over the Yankees in 2001.

"They're a good team," Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran said of the Dodgers. "There's a lot of similarities when I look at the Dodgers and look at our team. They've got talent, and they seem like they really enjoy themselves, Jason Castro Youth Jersey they seem like they have good chemistry in the clubhouse, which is great. It's going to be a good series."

Houston's offensive struggles in the ALCS abated in Games 6 and 7, so it heads to the World Series looking a lot like the club that scored a Major League-best 5.53 runs per game this season -- including, notably, 6.19 runs per game on the road. The Astros had an offense that, in terms of OPS+, was 27 percent better than league average this season. The Dodgers had a pitching staff that, in terms of ERA+, was 24 percent better than league average.