LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' confidence heading into the Fall Classic hasn't wavered one day after finding out they'll be facing the Astros.The two clubs open the World Series presented by YouTube TV tonight at Dodger Stadium, and it'll feature a pair of 100-win clubs for the first time since
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' confidence heading into the Fall Classic hasn't wavered one day after finding out they'll be facing the Astros.
The two clubs open the World Series presented by YouTube TV tonight at Dodger Stadium, and it'll feature a pair of 100-win clubs for the first time since 1970, when the Orioles (108-54) defeated the Reds (102-60).
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"Obviously, they're a good team," said catcher Austin Barnes. "They won 100-plus games, they have a great lineup and it'll be a fun series. … Winning the World Series is the ultimate goal. It'll be disappointing if we don't."
Not only do the Astros have a potent offensive lineup, but Houston also has a dynamic one-two punch in its rotation in Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel will start Game 1 of the World Series, and he sports a 2-1 record with a 2.60 ERA this postseason.
"Houston's a great team," said shortstop Charlie Culberson. "They're in the World Series for a reason. A great all-around team, great pitching."
The Astros haven't lost a game with Verlander on the mound in the postseason. The righty is 4-0 this October, holding hitters to a .200 average with 24 punchouts.
"They're two elite pitchers," Roberts said about Houston's aces. "They're two different types of pitchers. Obviously, Keuchel, pinpoint command with the fastball and can really pitch to the bottom of the strike zone, where Verlander really pitches more to the top of the strike zone with plus velocity and three-pitch mix. We've got our work cut out."
The Dodgers' pitching staff will also be facing one of the best offensive teams. Houston has mashed 12 homers this postseason, and it plated 44 runs, with potential American League Most Valuable Player Award winner Jose Altuve leading the way with five homers.
"They were banging all year. Those guys can really hit," said relief pitcher Brandon Morrow. "I know they're a very good fastball-hitting team. I know we're going to have to bear down on locations and find out where we need to go to have success."
With the Dodgers clinching a World Series spot in five games, the club has been able to relax and mentally prepare. Roberts said he went home to San Diego for a reset before coming back for workouts, and the off-days gave the Dodgers more time to sort things out heading into the Fall Classic.
"The advantage is huge for us," Culberson said. "Coming back after a day off, and now it's our second day of practice leading up to tonight's first game. It's been great. It's been normal for everybody to get back here and prepare for the World Series."
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.