Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2017 World Series


MLB 2017 World Series logo

And then there were two.

The World Series begins tonight, with the Astros and the Dodgers set to square off in Los Angeles for the first game of the best-of-seven bout. In case you were asleep for the entirety of the regular season, or you’re merely a bandwagon fan who pretends to like baseball for one week per year, here’s a crash course on the two teams’ path to the finale.

Both Houston and L.A. were behemoths during the regular season, easily walking to their respective division titles. In fact, this Fall Classic will mark the first since 1970 in which both participants mustered triple digit win totals, with the Dodgers even rattling off the best 50-game stretch in over 100 years from June to August (43-7).

Statistically speaking, both teams set the pace down the stretch. The Astros led the league in pretty much every offensive category imaginable, including runs (896), batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.346), slugging percentage (.478), and OPS (.823). The only thing missing from that list? Home runs. And you can probably guess which spot they finished in: second, with 238, only three short of the first-place Yankees.

For the Dodgers, it was pitching that told the tale. Second in ERA (3.38). First in batting average against (.228). First in WHIP (1.15). Second in walks allowed (442). Second in shutouts (16). Third in saves (51). Fifth in strikeouts (1549).

Stats like these alone bode for an exciting series – will Houston’s powerful bats or L.A.’s precision arms prevail? Now consider this: neither team has lost at home during the playoffs. The Dodgers, in fact, dropped just one game between both the NLDS and NLCS, a 3-2 nail-biter at Wrigley in game four of their one-sided contest with the Cubs. And while the Astros haven’t been quite as dominant, they too are undefeated at home thus far. Moreover, their wins both at Minute Maid Park and on the road have usually come in convincing fashion: the average margin of victory in Houston’s October triumphs has been close to four runs.

For the Texans, it’s been two guys on opposite ends of the spectrum that have taken charge in keeping hopes of a championship ring alive. Jose Altuve, the Astro boasting the longest active tenure with the squad (seven years), leads all players in postseason hits (16) and homers (5) going into the series after rolling to his third batting title in four years. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander has put up historic numbers since being traded from the subpar Tigers just two months ago (5-0, 1.06 ERA), and he has twice as many wins throughout this year’s playoffs as anybody else (4). As for their opponents, it’s been more of a group effort hitherto, with the likes of Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, and Enrique Hernandez each chipping in to carry the team for a game or two.

Game 1 will see its first pitch thrown at 8:00 ET. It is available to watch on FOX or listen to on ESPN Radio, HOU KBME 790, or LAD 570 LA Sports. It will be a battle of two southpaws, as ace Clayton Kershaw and workhorse Dallas Keuchel will toe the rubber for the Dodgers and ‘Stros, respectively. All-Star shortstop Corey Seager is slated to hit sixth in the lineup for the home team despite missing much of the first two rounds of the playoffs with a lower back sprain.

Statistics courtesy of