The Dodgers and Astros weren’t initially supposed to meet this year, but the schedule was redone after the season was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, giving us a chance to see these two juggernauts square off -- and perhaps settle some old scores.
As a result of MLB's investigation into Houston's sign stealing, manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were suspended for a year by MLB and subsequently dismissed by the Astros. Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Mets manager Carlos Beltran were also dismissed by their teams for their roles in the Astros’ sign-stealing operation while with the club in 2017 -- Cora as Houston’s bench coach and Beltran as a player.
A number of Astros players and coaches apologized when spring camps opened in February, but many, including Dodgers center fielder and reigning National League MVP Award winner Cody Bellinger, were critical of the team’s response.
The two clubs have remained among the best in the Majors since they met in the 2017 World Series, with Los Angeles reaching the Fall Classic again in 2018 and Houston doing the same in ’19. The Dodgers have gone 2-2 this season, and the Astros are 3-1. In addition to their two-game set at Minute Maid Park tonight and tomorrow, the teams are scheduled to face off at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 12-13.
The Dodgers hosted the Astros at Dodger Stadium in 2018, but they haven't returned to Minute Maid Park since Game 5 of the 2017 World Series, an all-time classic game that saw the Astros win, 13-12, in 10 innings.
Many of the core players on both sides remain the same, including Bellinger, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen for the Dodgers, and José Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Alex Bregman for the Astros. But there’s also some new faces, like 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts and four-time All-Star Michael Brantley.
Emerging ace Walker Buehler will take the mound for the Dodgers tonight against Astros left-hander Framber Valdez, with both pitchers making their 2020 debuts. Neither appeared in the 2017 World Series.