LOS ANGELES -- The Astros are well aware they will not have the designated hitter in the first two games of the Fall Classic, which will be played under National League rules at Dodger Stadium.As for how it will affect the outcomes at Chavez Ravine, well, the Astros say it's
LOS ANGELES -- The Astros are well aware they will not have the designated hitter in the first two games of the Fall Classic, which will be played under National League rules at Dodger Stadium.
As for how it will affect the outcomes at Chavez Ravine, well, the Astros say it's all in how you look at it.
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"I think you can look at it both ways," said catcher Brian McCann, who played nine seasons in the NL before spending the past four in the AL. "We have a really good team, a really talented team. We have a great DH. So, we're confident playing in the NL and the AL."
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Josh Reddick isn't thrilled that right-handed-hitting DH Evan Gattis won't be in the lineup for Tuesday's Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV against Dodgers ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw. The Astros will face another lefty starter, Rich Hill, in Game 2.
"I think it hurts us, especially with two lefties, and a guy like Gattis, who has been so good for us," Reddick said. "Kind of does hurt, because we are so used to it. I think we're looking forward to getting home and having that DH spot, but we know that they are going to gain one as well, and they're going to add just as good a hitter as we are. We just got to get it done one through eight."
The Astros went 15-5 against NL clubs in the regular season, and in the process, they became the first MLB team to win their first nine Interleague games of a season.
"I don't think it's a very big loss," Alex Bregman said. "I also think that our Interleague stats are pretty good this year. We're pretty good. We'll be all right."
Houston went 8-2 in NL ballparks, where its high-powered offense averaged 7.5 runs per game. The Astros visited the Braves, Marlins, Phillies and D-backs.
Of course, the Dodgers are an entirely different beast, having won 104 games in the regular season. Los Angeles was 16-4 in Interleague Play.
"I had a chance to play in both leagues, and I don't know," Astros outfielder Cameron Maybin said. "We've really got to see, because both teams hit really well. You just got to kind of play it out and see how it goes."
Manager A.J. Hinch views it this way: "I think it gives us a stronger bench, because I have a couple of good hitters on the bench in case I need them to pinch-hit. It's a small disadvantage. ... You take one of your primary guys that you're paying to be the DH, and now they are going to come off the bench."
Hinch said Gattis and Carlos Beltran, his primary DH options, will not be in the Game 1 lineup.
"Those are two pretty good bats that come off the bench," Hinch said. "But as much as I've tried to get the Dodgers to play with the DH, they said no."
The Astros did not get great production from the DH in the regular season. They produced a .226 average (11th in the AL), a .386 slugging percentage (11th), 19 home runs (12th) and a wOBA of .294 (last).
Gattis, who played his first two seasons in the NL with the Braves, will prepare to pinch-hit.
"It will be a little different, but still baseball," he said. "The pitcher will hit. You know it will be interesting. We have a complete team. I really don't know."
One thing Gattis knows for sure: He won't be playing left field.
In the 2013 NL Division Series against the Dodgers, Atlanta used Gattis in left field, where he struggled. Coincidentally, McCann was part of that dynamic. Both players were catchers with the Braves, and Atlanta at times played Gattis in left to get his bat in the lineup. Gattis was new to the outfield that year, and the experiment didn't work in the NLDS.
"That was the most terrifying experience of my life, playing left field in the postseason," Gattis recalled.
With more at stake in the World Series, Gattis has no desire to exorcise his demons in the Dodger Stadium outfield.
"Not with our outfielders," Gattis said. "Our outfield that we got gives us the best chance to win."
**Austin Laymance** is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.