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Astros or Dodgers favored by WS matchups?

Houston doesn't have standout lefty other than Keuchel, but also has righty-heavy lineup vs. Kershaw, Hill
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers love to talk about matchups, and they use analytics to their advantage as well as any Major League club. It's one of the reasons why they've reached the Fall Classic.

But if the Dodgers have found some matchups they like against the Astros' pitching staff, they certainly weren't sharing it publicly on Sunday.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers love to talk about matchups, and they use analytics to their advantage as well as any Major League club. It's one of the reasons why they've reached the Fall Classic.

But if the Dodgers have found some matchups they like against the Astros' pitching staff, they certainly weren't sharing it publicly on Sunday.

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"It just sort of goes to who plays better, who executes," said L.A. manager Dave Roberts.

On paper, the Astros don't have a left-handed pitcher who stands out beyond ace Dallas Keuchel, who will oppose Clayton Kershaw in tonight's Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV.

The Astros beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World. The Yanks have a dominant lefty closer in Aroldis Chapman, who helped the Cubs beat the Dodgers to reach the 2016 World Series. But Houston doesn't have anyone who comes close to Chapman. Is that a good thing for the Dodgers?

"They only have a couple lefties. They're really right-handed heavy," said infielder Charlie Culberson. "I don't think it really matters. I think we're just going to go out there and be ready for whoever. Everybody is going to prepare themselves for everybody, for any situation, so it doesn't matter."

Roberts declined to say his team has an edge against the Astros' bullpen, and he singled out All-Star reliever Chris Devenski, a right-handed pitcher who limited left-handed hitters to a .111 batting average and .414 OPS in the regular season.

"They don't have that lefty, but Devenski is a reverse-[splits] guy," Roberts said. "When you're talking about [Ken Giles] and some of the arms that they have, obviously [Justin Verlander], doesn't really matter who's in the batter's box, what side of the plate they stand on. We like our guys, and I know [Astros manager A.J. Hinch] is going to sit up here and say the same thing about his team."

In the regular season, right-handed batters had a .245 average and .735 OPS against Astros pitchers, while left-handed batters had a .233 average and .700 OPS.

"They've got good pitching," said Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes. "We're not obviously taking them lightly at all. Them getting here obviously speaks for what kind of team they have."

Dodgers batters produced a .247 average and .764 OPS against right-handed pitchers in the regular season, compared to a .253 average and .789 OPS against lefties.

"It's almost like we have two lineups, one against a lefty and one against a righty. But honestly, I don't think it matters if it's a lefty or a righty," said backup catcher Kyle Farmer. "Our hitters can hit both. Honestly, I think it will be a pretty good matchup for us."

Curtis Granderson, a Major Leaguer since 2004 and playing in his seventh postseason, doesn't see any advantages as the Dodgers match up against the Astros' pitching staff.

"It doesn't favor one way or the other, I don't think," Granderson said. "Regardless of who has the ball, they have the edge, because they are the ones that can control everything, they are the ones that are going to understand the hitters and have faced every type of lineup up to this point with a number of innings logged. Whether it's a power guy, a non-power guy, a lefty or a righty, it really doesn't change too much of if it's a more or less advantage. It's going to be about who can execute."

Video: WS 2017 Gm1: Granderson on returning to World Series

On the flip side, Houston's lineup is right-handed heavy. The Dodgers could start three different lefties, with Kershaw in Game 1, Rich Hill in Game 2 and Alex Wood as a possibility in Game 4. In the bullpen, L.A. has two above-average lefties in Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson.

As a team, the Astros hit .278 with an .814 OPS against lefties in the regular season. So is Houston better equipped than most clubs to handle the Dodgers' lefties?

"With our pitching staff -- Yu Darvish, Rich, Kershaw, Wood, and our bullpen -- you just got to go out there and play their game, because their stuff is good against anybody," Farmer said. "I think in this situation, I'll go with Kershaw against anybody."

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros