The second play tonight features the World Series rematch going on in Los Angeles. Last night, all three runs were scored before the midway point of the second inning. Joc Pederson homered to lead off the game against Justin Verlander but George Springer gave Houston the lead in the top of the second with a two-run double. The 2–1 lead held all the way to the end, Verlander striking out fourteen in seven-and-two-thirds.
From Machado to Kemp to Muncy to Dozier, the Dodgers feature several new faces in the mix as they try and get back to where they finished last season and then finally get over the top.
Houston doesn’t look like the same team that won it last season, not because of all the new faces, but because of all the star power out with injuries at the moment, namely Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.
Unsurprisingly, the ‘Stros are struggling offensively without their two most dangerous offensive threats. It’s taken efforts like Verlander gave last night to even come close to sustaining the blistering pace Houston set before the all-star break, when everybody was healthy.
Houston is in an interesting spot right now. It feels far from panic time; Altuve will be back soon, perhaps as early as next week, and Correa is supposed to return later this month. But the ladder’s injury is more complicated than the former’s. He’s been out longer and he’s dealing with a bad back, which could crop back up again at any time.
The Astros looked like world-beaters before Correa went down but given the state of the American League, it feels safe to say they need their starting shortstop in the lineup in order to win the pennant. There’s still plenty of time for Correa to return and get back into full-swing before the playoffs begin, but the longer Houston fans have to wait to see it, the more uneasy they will get.
Last night, Verlander and the Astros looked more determined than the Dodgers did to set a tone and win the first rematch since Nov. 1, 2017. I can’t imagine that is sitting well with Dave Roberts and the Dodgers. They won’t have to deal with peak Verlander; they are at home; and they are much healthier than the Astros are, so the Dodgers should come back and even the series tonight. I was surprised to see they are rather affordable.
Play: Los Angeles -120