The stage is set. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros will meet in the World Series, but is this the best outcome we could have gotten?
Since 10 teams now qualify for the MLB playoffs, it’s easy to see how the best teams don’t always make it to the World Series. The AL East champion Boston Red Sox were ousted in the first round, losing to the Astros 3 games to 1. The defending champion Chicago Cubs made a second round exit after losing to the Dodgers 4 games to 1.
There’s no argument that the Dodgers deserve to be here. The Dodgers made pretty handy work of their opponents, losing only 1 game so far this postseason, closely emulating the playoff run of the Golden State Warriors. They were the best team in the MLB this year, winning a league-high 104 games.
The gripe comes with the team from the American League: the Houston Astros. They made perhaps the smartest trade of the year when they acquired Justin Verlander, who has been unstoppable this postseason. The Astros had a bit of a tougher road to the World Series, with the ALCS going to 7 games before they were able to defeat Aaron Judge and the Yankees 4 games to 3. They finished 1 game behind Cleveland for the best record in the American League with 101 wins.
Even with the impressive season the Astros put up, the argument is there that Dodgers-Yankees would’ve been more exciting and had more mass appeal, in turn getting higher TV ratings. We won’t know what the Yankees match-up would’ve drawn in terms of ratings, but this Dodgers-Astros match-up will be historic.
This is the first World Series pitting a pair of 100-win teams since 1970, when the 108-win Baltimore Orioles beat the 102-win Cincinnati Reds. The MLB playoffs are designed to do away with Wild Card teams early and reward division winners. That being said, getting two beats in the World Series doesn’t happen that often. In 2014, the 88-win San Francisco Giants beat the 89-win Kansas City Royals in a battle of wild card victors. This year, we’ll see two teams who dominated early. The Astros captured a 14-game lead by June 5, when they completed an 11-game winning streak and improved to 42-16. The Dodgers were a machine all the way through the summer, posting a 91-36 record and a 21-game lead by Aug. 25 before a baffling 1-16 stretch that raised concerns. Most of those were eased when LA swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS and knocked off the champion Chicago Cubs 4-1 in the NLCS (USA Today).
This is the Astros’ first pennant as an American League team. They switched over from the National League for the 2013 season. They are going for their first World Series title in franchise history. In the NL, this is the Dodgers’ first pennant since 1988. They haven’t won the World Series since that same season. It’s not exactly a 108-year drought, but 29 years isn’t a short period of time. There are many die-hard, adult Dodgers fans who have never seen a World Champion (CBS Sports).
In a battle of droughts, this will be 29 vs. never. The MLB seems to be famous for droughts. The Cubs broke their 108-year drought last year when they beat the Cleveland Indians, who sport a now 69-year drought of their own. The Red Sox broke an 86-year drought of their own in 2004.
So, is this the match-up that everyone wanted? Of course not. But is this the match-up we deserve? Yes. We have two of the best teams in the league this year, with some of the best players of our generation playing for the ultimate prize. And no matter who you root for, no matter who wins, it will be a feel good series; we either break a drought or get the first World Series in franchise history! What could be better?
Catch game 1 Tuesday, October 24, 7:09 PM on FOX!
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In case you need a postseason refresher 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼