LOS ANGELES – With the decisive seventh game yet to be played, some are already calling the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers the greatest-ever battle for the championship of Major League Baseball.
The heart of this epic-in-the-making is a classic struggle of offense verses defense. The Dodgers, with one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, face a historically gifted Astros offense.
Through Game 5, this year’s World Series has seen 11 lead changes, by far the most in MLB history, according to the Web site Fangraphs.
What makes this series so special? Fans and pundits alike point to the fact that both the Astros and the Dodgers won 100 games in the regular season – the first time such a pairing has happened since the 1970 World Series. Often, it is not the two most gifted teams who reach the World Series. This year, fans have been treated to a championship where the two best teams in baseball are going head-to-head.
The results have been electric.
Games 2 and 5 were instant classics. Both were won by the Astros in striking fashion, as their batters dismantled the Dodgers’ vaunted pitching staff. In Games 1 and 6, however, the Dodger pitchers largely silenced Houston’s bats and Los Angeles dominated.
The teams have different backgrounds.
The Astros have become a symbol of Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey, which dumped record rainfall on the city in August. Founded in 1962, the team is seeking its first World Series crown.
The Dodgers are one of baseball’s oldest and most storied franchises. They began in 1884 in Brooklyn and moved to Los Angeles in 1958. A hard-luck team that rarely wins championships, the Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988, thanks in part to a famous home run by Kirk Gibson.
While bookies have the Dodgers as favorites ahead of Wednesday night’s Game 7 in Los Angeles, the Astros have shown in this series an uncanny ability to win when they need to.
Said one life-long Dodgers fan, Aaron Zeller, 39, of Phoenix, Arizona: “As a fan, as a fan, oh my God! It has been just hard to watch some of these games! Both teams have played so even and refused to give in. We have been blessed with the best play I have ever seen!”