Houston Astros: Season is on the line with Dallas Keuchel

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24: Dallas Keuchel
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24: Dallas Keuchel /

With the chance to take a pivotal 3-2 series lead hanging in the balance, the Houston Astros will hand the ball to Dallas Keuchel tonight.

The Houston Astros all but looked to be on their way to a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night, at least until the bullpen imploded.

With Alex Wood dismantling and keeping the Astros offense in check, it was George Springer who lit up Minute Maid Park and silenced Wood’s potential World Series no-hitter. Springer’s solo shot felt like a dagger in the Dodgers dugout, but as the Astros bullpen has done for the majority of the postseason, it let the team down.

Heading into the ninth inning, baseball fans around the world sat on the edge of their seats wondering if the Astros would deplete all hopes of a Dodgers world championship, or if the Dodgers would shock the world and steal Game 4.

It would end up being the latter, as the Dodgers erupted for five runs in the top of the ninth to even up this World Series classic.

Now, we turn out attention to the final three games of the 2017 Fall Classic, and boy are we in for some baseball. The Dodgers will have to overcome something no other team in the playoffs has done: defeat both Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander.

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The Astros will put Game 5 in the hands of Keuchel, and perhaps their world championship aspirations. The Dodgers had timely at-bats in Keuchel’s last outing, but facing him inside Minute Maid Park will be a totally different monster. Keuchel has not lost at home during the playoffs, and if the Dodgers want to return to Los Angeles with a commanding 3-2 series lead, then they will need to once again do the unthinkable.

As for Houston, they will face Clayton Kershaw. The dominant ace that has been the face of this franchise and he now has the chance to make an even greater case as one of the best of all time.

After already facing off in Game 1, both of these pitchers have the experience and the nerves under their belts, but Game 5 will prove to be the real pitching battle. The Astros, who have proven to be one of baseball’s greatest stories of 2017, are only two wins away from their first ever World Series, and the road to get there has become even more difficult.

Houston defeated CC Sabathia in Game 7 of the ALCS, and he was on an absolute tear this postseason. They also managed to defeat Chris Sale inside of Minute Maid Park in the divisional round.

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The Astros have the talent and the bats to dismantle any pitcher, but the real question to pose this time around is simple. Can they beat Clayton Kershaw to retake the series lead heading back to Los Angeles? Or, has the time come for the Dodgers to claim their throne as the best in baseball?

It all goes down tonight, folks.