LOS ANGELES -- Let's take a moment to go over this World Series game by game.
In Game 1, we got the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, the pitcher of his generation, doing his Sandy Koufax impression, pitching seven beautiful innings, and we got a big Justin Turner home run in a crisply played, two-hour, 28-minute game.
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The next day, Game 2, we got a madcap free-for-all, an 11-inning Cirque du Soleil of a game with a fantastic Houston comeback against the previously untouchable Kenley Jansen, back-to-back blasts by the irrepressible Astros double-play combination of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, a battle of bat flips between Correa and Yasiel Puig, a pickoff throw hitting an umpire, a game-winning home run by George Springer followed by an unlikely home run and joyful run around the bases from utility player Charlie Culberson ... it was pure insanity.
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In Game 3, the Astros scored four early runs against Dodgers starter Yu Darvish, and Los Angeles chipped away but couldn't quite get back.
In Game 4, we had a tight pitchers' duel for eight innings, and then the Dodgers rocked Astros closer Ken Giles in the ninth.
In Game 5 ... well, there's too much to put into one paragraph for Game 5. It was, simply, the wildest baseball game I've ever seen, and for me, that includes the amazing sixth game of the 2011 World Series, the crazy 10-inning Jack Morris game to finish off the 1991 World Series and even the famous sixth game of the '75 World Series, which I first saw at age 8 and then, many years later, watched again and again when writing a book about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds.
But I've already written plenty about Game 5.
I go over these five games here for a very specific reason: We don't know how it will end, but this is already turning into one of the most amazing Fall Classics in baseball history.
We've been on a remarkable run of World Series lately. Last year's Chicago-Cleveland matchup was astonishing, finishing off with a classic Game 7. The 2014 World Series between San Francisco and Kansas City was amazing, especially when you consider the out-of-time performance of the Giants' Madison Bumgarner. And the 2011 Series had a bit of everything -- drama, controversy, silliness (remember that Tony La Russa phone thing?) and that classic Game 6.
This World Series just might be shaping up as the best of them all.
At this point, it's fair to ask: What makes a great World Series? You need great games, certainly, but it's more than that. A great World Series needs a special kind of tension, an invisible bit of stress that takes everyone -- players, managers, fans, everyone -- to a higher level. Last year's Series had that because Cleveland had not won a World Series in almost 70 years, and, even more, the Cubs had not won a World Series in more than 100.
These two teams came into this Series providing all sorts of tension. The Astros had never won a World Series game, much less a full World Series. The Dodgers had not been to the Fall Classic in 29 years despite the constant presence of money and prospects and expectation.
And even more than that, they are two of the most cutting-edge teams in baseball. Both teams are moved by analytics. They celebrate the past, yes, but they also break away from it in the way they use their bullpens, in the extreme shifts they use on defense, in the way they have their hitters approach each at-bat. Watching the Dodgers and Astros play for the championship is a bit like watching a space race to the moon.
On top of that, the stories are everywhere. This is Kershaw's first time on the national stage. This is America's first real introduction to Altuve and Turner and Correa and Corey Seager and Alex Bregman. This is the first World Series matchup of 100-win teams in almost a half-century. Sure, this was a thrilling World Series before the first pitch was thrown.
And then there are the incredible games. Game 2 was impossibly great, one you expected to be remembered forever. And then Game 5 was even better.
I mentioned earlier that I think Game 5 was an even better game than the extraordinary Game 6 in 2011. I suppose I should explain that because both are amazing, the two best World Series games I ever covered.
But Game 6 in 2011 was different. It was, for about half the game, very sloppy. There were five errors in that game, a bizarre pickoff, a couple of wild pitches, four different pitchers who only got one out. It was as fun a game as I've ever seen, and by Win Probability Added, is the most thrilling game in World Series history.
But Game 5 had the extra drama of the stories behind the stories. We went to the ballpark expecting one thing, and we ended up seeing the opposite of that. Houston ace Dallas Keuchel couldn't get anybody out at home. How does that happen? Kershaw blew a four-run lead and then walked back-to-back batters with a three-run lead. How does that happen? The Dodgers put Brandon Morrow in his fifth straight game ... at his request. Houston's hitting stars -- Altuve, Correa, Springer, Bregman -- all came through. The Houston bullpen desperately tried to just get those final outs. It was madness. And it was wonderful.
Now, we go into a Game 6 with the Astros throwing future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander and the Dodgers throwing the fascinating 37-year-old Rich Hill. Nobody knows how it will go -- will the Astros wrap it up, will we get a Game 7 -- but already this Series feels historic. There have been more home runs hit than any other World Series. There have been six game-tying home runs in this Series, which is ridiculous. These two teams have impossible strengths and fatal flaws, every part of this thing feels bigger than life.
Now in Los Angeles we see how it ends, and the best bet is that whatever happens, we will not have seen it coming.