No question that the marquee MLB series of the week starts Tuesday from Los Angeles as the Dodgers host the Houston Astros in a possible World Series preview. Of course, they met in the 2017 Fall Classic and Houston won a Game 7 in L.A. There won’t be a series line price on the MLB odds for this one because it’s just two games, but the Dodgers will be favored in both.
Dodgers vs Astros possible World Series preview
The Dodgers are favored to win their second straight World Series and got that much better ahead of Friday’s MLB Trade Deadline in landing three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trae Turner from Washington. Turner is on the COVID list so he may not be available for this series, but Scherzer is scheduled to pitch Wednesday.
Scherzer is 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 19 starts this season. Scherzer had the right to block any trade because of his 10-and-5 rights (10 years of major league service time and five with the same team) but was open to going to the West Coast and signed off on joining the Dodgers. The 37-year-old right-hander gives the Dodgers another ace to pair with Walker Buehler while bolstering a thin rotation that lost Dustin May to season-ending elbow surgery in early May, Trevor Bauer to a domestic-violence investigation in late June and Clayton Kershaw to an elbow injury in early July.
Turner is batting .322 with 18 home runs and 49 RBIs. White he was an All-Star shortstop, he’s not playing there for L.A. because it has Corey Seager. The former NL Rookie of the Year was activated off the 60-day injured list over the weekend. So, when back Turner likely will play either second base or center field.
Speaking of second base, Los Angeles also activated former AL MVP Mookie Betts off the injured list over the weekend – and played him at second! That could have some major Fantasy ramifications. Apparently, the Dodgers may do it more with the usual outfielder simply to limit the amount of running he needs to do on his sore hip.
Houston fortified its bullpen ahead of the Trade Deadline in landing Kendall Graveman from Seattle, Yimi Garcia from Miami and Phil Maton from Cleveland. The bullpen was about the only weakness the Astros, who are favored to win the AL pennant, had.
Tuesday’s matchup features Lance McCullers Jr. vs. NL Cy Young contender Buehler. In his most recent start last Wednesday against the Giants, Buehler (11-1, 2.19) allowed just three hits in 7.0 scoreless inning to earn the victory. He walked two, struck out eight and threw 98 pitches in the Dodgers’ 8-0 win. The All-Star is 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA (4 ER/9.0 IP) in two previous starts against the Astros in 2018 and 2020.
McCullers (8-2) recorded eight strikeouts over six innings last Tuesday in a win over the Mariners. He was charged with four runs on six hits and three walks. The 27-year-old righty was staked to a considerable early lead. He’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 17 starts this season and has a 3.23 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 115/48 K/BB ratio across 97 2/3 innings (17 starts).
Because it’s an interleague game in the NL park, Houston will lose the designated hitter. That’s Yordan Alvarez. His 44 HRs in his first 162 games as an Astro are the most in franchise history within a player’s first 162 games. That bested previous record-holder Moises Alou (38). It’s possible the team could put him in left field for one of these games. Alvarez has started 18 games in left.
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