It's time for World Series baseball.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Houston Astros on Tuesday, Oct. 24, in Game 1 at Dodger Stadium in the 113th edition of the Fall Classic.
Now that the final series of the baseball season is finally upon us, we can take a look at both teams and see how they stack up against each other in a best-of-seven series.
There's little doubt that the Astros and Dodgers were two of the best teams in baseball during the 2017 regular season. Both teams finished with over 100 wins, the first time two teams with 100+ wins have met in the World Series since the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds in 1970.
The Astros ran out in front of the pack in April, but the Dodgers caught fire over the summer, and ran away with the best record in baseball, going 43-7 during a 50-game stretch in June and July.
At the All-Star break, the Dodgers and Astros were the overwhelming favorites to reach the World Series.
Each team had the best record in their respective leagues at the Midsummer Classic, and were the odds on favorite to represent the American and National League in the World Series.
Houston cemented that standing with an August acquisition of Tigers' ace Justin Verlander. Since the trade, Verlander is 9-0 with a 1.46 ERA in nine combined starts between both the Regular Season and Playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers were essentially the best team in baseball from May onward, finishing with the best record in baseball at 104-58, despite a historic losing streak in September that saw the Boys in Blue lose 16 of 17 games at one point.
Tuesday marks the 19th time in Dodgers' franchise history they will be playing in the World Series, and it's a marquee matchup of Cy Young Award winners on slate as Clayton Kershaw squares off with Dallas Keuchel in Game 1.
In our opinion, Game 1 is the key to the entire series. In the previous 112 World Series, the winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the series 63 percent of the time.
The Dodgers will need to capitalize off the momentum of playing at home in the World Series for the first time since 1988, and hold serve in Game 1. If they don't, they could be in trouble as they will have to beat Verlander in Game 2.
After Game 2, the Dodgers have the advantage in the starting rotation as they will throw Yu Darvish to the mound in Game 3, and All-Star Alex Wood in Game 4. Therefore, the first two games of the series are crucial to both teams.
Houston has reached the World Series just twice in their franchise history, and has never won the championship trophy. For a majority of their existence, the Astros were in the National League, and once met the Dodgers in the NLDS in 1981, a series that featured Hall of Famer, Nola Ryan (the Dodgers won in 5).
Both teams stack up similarly on offense and defense, but the edge in the bullpen goes to the Dodgers, and it could prove to be a tremendous advantage in this series.
Los Angeles had the best bullpen in the Majors this season, and have continued that success in the playoffs. The Dodgers' relievers shut out the reigning World Series Champion Chicago Cubs entirely in the NLCS, as the bullpen did not allow a single run in 17 innings. Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen have locked down teams in the 8th and 9th innings respectively, and Kenta Maeda has proved to be tremendous in his role as a reliever after starting for a majority of the season.
Outside of Astros' closer Ken Giles, Houston has a problem. Manager A.J. Hinch has patched his bullpen together with relievers like Chris Devenski, Will Harris, and Joe Musgrove, but all of those pitchers were roughed up a bit in the ALCS by the New York Yankees. Houston has used starting pitchers like Lance McCullers out of the pen and even though it's worked thus far in the postseason, there's no telling how long that plan will last in the World Series.
We believe that this series could come down to the bullpens and it's because of that we're leaning towards the Dodgers.
Prediction: Dodgers in 6.
All games will be televised on FOX and can be streamed live on YouTube TV.