We are down to possibly the final day of the 1980 regular season, though the Dodgers would like to play at least one more day. They host the Astros at Dodger Stadium needing a win to force a one-game tiebreaker to decide the National League West.
Houston enters Sunday at 92-69, with the Dodgers at 91-70. Los Angeles has won nine of their 17 matchups this season, including 6-2 at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers started the final weekend trailing the Astros by three games with three games to play. That gap between the two teams was only larger once in the final five months of the season, when LA trailed Houston by 3½ games on July 28.
Houston spent 110 days in first place this season, and the Dodgers did so for 61 days. This truly was a back-and-forth divisional race.
Game 162 lineups
That the Dodgers are still alive heading into Sunday is thanks to a pair of one-run victories in the first two games of the series. The most thrilling game was Friday night, with Ron Cey singling home pinch runner Rudy Law to tie the game in the ninth inning, then Joe Ferguson won it with a walk-off home run in the 10th.
Jerry Reuss out-dueled Nolan Ryan on Saturday with a complete game in a 2-1 win. It was the 18th win of the season for the left-hander, tying a career high, capping a regular season that saw him pitch a no-hitter and win the All-Star Game.
That brings us to Sunday, with the Dodgers needing one more win to force a divisional tiebreaker, which would be held Monday afternoon at Dodger Stadium if necessary.
There have been four tiebreakers in National League history to this point, which prior to 1969 were best-of-three. The Dodgers have been involved in all four, losing in 1946 (to the Cardinals), 1951 and 1962 (both to the Giants), and winning against the Braves in 1959.
Burt Hooton gets the start for the Dodgers in the series finale, looking for his 15th win of the season. He has let to beat the Astros this season in five starts, though he does have a save to go with his 3.52 ERA in 23 innings against them. Hooton is starting on three-days rest for the sixth time this season in 33 starts.
Houston turns to Vern Ruhle, who is coming off three straight complete-game wins, allowing three total runs. Like Hooton, Ruhle is also starting on three days rest Sunday.
We’re going to watch this game on YouTube, starting at 4 p.m. PT.