For Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, there is always hope
Just a few short weeks ago, the people in the city of Houston found themselves bracing for a possible Category 4 hurricane and the destruction that would follow. Last night, just a few short weeks later, the Houston Astros won their first World Series game in franchise history.
If I'm being honest with you, I started writing this at the top of the 10th inning just after Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa both homered to give the Astros a 5-3 lead. Well, then the Dodgers came up to bat and within what seemed to be a blink of an eye, the game was tied again, at 5-5.
In between the 10th and 11th inning, Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander came out from the clubhouse and into the dugout to give his teammates a little pep talk. It was quite a fiery exchange. It's safe to say that at least Cameron Maybin and George Springer got the message.
Maybin led off the top of the 11th with a hard-line drive single to left field off Brandon McCarthy and wasted little time becoming the first player to steal a base in this World Series. He advanced into scoring position, leaving George Springer with an opportunity to help the Astros get a win and even the series. Springer responded with a shot to deep right center field that cleared the fence, giving the underdogs from Houston a 7-5 lead.
It seemed as though comebacks were to be the theme of the evening. The Astros trailed 3-1 going into the top of the 8th inning and used a ground rule double by Alex Bregman and a Carlos Correa single to center to cut the lead to 3-2.
In the top of the 9th, the comeback would be complete when Marwin Gonzalez would take a 0-2 pitch from Kenley Jansen out of the ballpark. It would be the first of four home runs that the Astros would hit, all coming in the 9th inning or later.
Every time the Astros got behind, they just kept plugging away. There was just no quit in this team. Wearing a #houstonstrong patch over their hearts served as a constant reminder of that.
Rich Hill started for the Dodgers opposite of Verlander and in all actuality pitched a pretty good game. The Astros scattered 3 hits off Hill in his four innings of work along with one earned run. Hill walked 3 batters and struck out seven while on the bump.
Manager Dave Roberts replaced Hill with Kenta Maeda and slowly began to empty his bullpen using a total of 9 pitchers on the night. Perhaps a night off on Thursday allowed Roberts to make that decision.
On the flip side, Verlander was not as good as he has been of late. His line read more like an international phone number but Justin went in and ate up innings for the Astros, allowing them to rest their bullpen and only use 5 pitchers as Chris Devenski picked up the win after late inningn heroics from his teammates.
The teams will head to Houston for Friday's game at Minute Maid Park and an 8:09 ET start time. As the Astros ruined a part of the field advantage for the Dodgers, the scrappy team from Los Angeles will look to avenge this home loss. Both of these teams are legit and from the looks of it, have come to play. The Dodgers have pitching. They have the lineup. They have the managerial staff to make it all happen. They make it very easy to cheer for them as they are extremely exciting to watch with the likes of Puig, Bellinger and Justin Turner in the ranks.
Yu Darvish will start Friday for the Dodgers and Lance McCullers Jr. will feature for the Astros in what is sure to be a jacked environment at Minute Maid Park (minus the center field "berm"). The city will certainly be looking to welcome their team back home for what could be three decisive games.
We can only hope that both teams continue to play as they have in the first 2 games. We can only hope for Puig, his power and his antics. We can only hope for the hustle and MVP worthy play of the Astros leader Jose Altuve.
Just like the Dodgers can only hope that they win the organization's first world title since 1988 and the Astros their franchise's first world title. And just as the city of Houston can only hope to rebuild, we, as fans, can only hope for all of this. Yet, at the end of the day, we all know that there can only be one MLB World Series Champion. So for two cities, two fan bases, there is what there has always been and will always be... hope.