The 113th Fall Classic has started and we could be in for a good series as the Houston Astros are squaring off against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
An age old cliche is that pitching wins championships and we may find out if that bears out this year. Houston led all of baseball by averaging 5.53 runs a game. The Astros lineup is led by MVP candidate Jose Altuve who batted .346 while recording his third batting title and fourth straight season with 200 hits. Carlos Correa, the top offensive shortstop in the game, hit .315 this season with 24 home runs.
The Dodgers will counter Houston’s offense with a strong starting pitching staff led by Clayton Kershaw and a dominating bullpen. A newer cliche of late is that relief pitching wins titles. And Los Angeles has an imposing bullpen. Kenley Jansen has been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball for a few years, but now the Dodgers have depth in the pen to get the game from the starters to Jansen. Look for the likes of Brandon Morrow and Kenta Maeda to hand the game over to Jansen. Through eight playoff games, the Dodgers bullpen has been truly dominant, with a 0.94 ERA and 32 strikeouts against only two walks. They entered the World Series with a 23-inning scoreless streak.
Another reason we could end up with a Instant Classic is that we have two outstanding teams. The Dodgers won 104 games this season and the Astros won 101 games, making this the first World Series with two 100-win teams since 1970, when the Baltimore Orioles faced off against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Astros got off to a 42-16 start and never looked back in the American League West. They owned the best record in baseball for 65 days, until the Dodgers passed them on July 8. Los Angeles dominated during the dog days of summer and put together a 52-9 mark during a 61 game stretch to play in August. The Dodgers held the best record in baseball for the final 86 days of the season.I see the Series going at least six games. I do think it will come down to the bullpens and the Dodgers easily top Houston here. I will go with Los Angeles.
Penn State Is Back
Penn State football has unleashed a new era, an era that is defined by success on the field instead of one centering around the sexual offenses of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
The Nittany Lions are now ranked second in the nation after destroying Michigan, 42-13, last Saturday. They are also the one team out there that seems to have a chance of beating top-ranked Alabama.
Though Penn State was favored at home, it was thought the Nittany Lions would struggle against Michigan’s highly thought of defense. Forty-two points later and Penn State finds itself back in the national limelight.
Also in the national limelight for the Nittany Lions are Heisman favorite, runningback Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley. The duo has played a large role in Penn State now ranking eighth nationally in points scored. Throw in a defense that ranks first nationally in points allowed and you have a team that could pull off what Clemson did last year, beat Alabama. We will learn even more this weekend when the Nittany Lions travel to Ohio State.
Astros Jose Altuve