LOS ANGELES — The 2017 World Series starts Tuesday in Los Angeles, and Game 1 offers a stellar southpaw pitching matchup with Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers against Dallas Keuchel for the Astros.
Houston won the American League pennant on Saturday night at home, then after the ensuing celebration the Astros announced their starting rotation for the first two games in Los Angeles.
Keuchel in Game 1 of the #WorldSeries and Verlander in Game 2.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) October 22, 2017
Game 1 of the World Series will start at 5:09 p.m. PT at Dodger Stadium.
With two days off between the ALCS and the World Series, this was the obvious play, barring any sort of desperate relief outing by those two during Game 7. Instead, the Astros only needed two pitchers to close out their AL pennant, with Charlie Morton (five innings) and Lance McCullers Jr. (four innings) combining on a shutout.
Keuchel missed a total of nine weeks on two disabled list stints this season with neck discomfort, but over the final month of the season started to look more like he did when winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2015. Over his last eight starts, including three in the postseason, Keuchel has a 2.77 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 17 walks in 48⅔ innings.
The Dodgers are hitting .311/.413/.495 against left-handed pitchers this postseason.
Keuchel last pitched in Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday and will be on five days rest on Tuesday in Game 1 of the World Series. Kershaw will be starting on four days rest.
Justin Verlander will be on regular rest on Wednesday in Game 2, and has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball since joining the Astros. In nine games with Houston he is 9-0 with a 1.23 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 11 walks in 58⅔ innings, including 21 strikeouts in 16 innings in the ALCS, allowing just one run en route to the series MVP award.
Earlier Saturday, before the Astros won, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the team hasn’t decided the order Rich Hill or Yu Darvish will start after Kershaw.
Both have fared well at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Hill struck out 10 in six innings, allowing one run in a start last July with Oakland, his only start at that stadium in the last decade. Darvish pitched twice in Houston with the Rangers since the start of 2016, allowing a total of one run on six hits in 14 innings.
“It’s contingent upon [Game 7 of the ALCS], then we’ll finally make a decision and let Rich and Yu know if they are going to start Game 2 or 3,” Roberts said.