Justin Verlander is 4-0 during his stellar postseason run and looks to continue the success when the Houston Astros visit the Los Angeles Dodgers for Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday. Verlander will aim to help Houston knot the series after Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner guided the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory in Game 1.
Verlander was acquired from Detroit by the Astros to fortify their rotation, and now he’s a symbol of a franchise looking for its first World Series title in the wake of a damaging hurricane that ravaged Houston in August. “In any organization, the opportunity to win your first championship is something special, but really with what’s going on in Houston now specifically, I think it makes it even that much more special,” Verlander said during his press conference on Tuesday. “I mean, given this opportunity, if we come away successful, you leave a legacy and mark on people that won’t be forgotten.” Kershaw allowed one run and three hits with 11 strikeouts over seven innings while Turner belted a tiebreaking two-run homer (his fourth of the postseason) in Tuesday’s victory. “You enjoy it while it happens,” Turner told reporters, “and then you go home and you find a way to prepare, and we’ve got to figure out how to beat Verlander.”
TV: 8:09 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Justin Verlander (4-0, 1.46 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Rich Hill (0-0, 3.00)
Verlander has a stellar 11-5 postseason record, but none of those victories occurred in the World Series, where he went 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in three career starts for the Tigers. The 34-year-old’s arrival in Houston changed the complexion of the rotation, providing the team with a second ace alongside Dallas Keuchel as well as raising the stature of the organization. “We understand the magnitude of his performance and the magnitude of his entrance into our clubhouse,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said at a press conference. “The way he’s fit in, the way he’s been intellectually curious on how to get better, but let’s be honest, ultimately the way he’s performed, has been second to none.”
Hill is 1-2 with a 3.96 ERA in six career postseason starts and is making his World Series debut. The 37-year-old is trying to keep the moment in perspective after his major-league career appeared to be finished in the summer of 2015, when he signed with the independent Long Island Ducks, but 26 of his 50 career regular-season victories have come since that stint. “I wouldn’t change that for anything,” Hill said at his press conference on Tuesday. “It was learning, reigniting that fire, reigniting that passion for what we do out there on the field. And really getting back into disassociating yourself with the results, and just understanding that it is a pitch-to-pitch process and understanding that the moment is all that matters.”
1. Dodgers CF Chris Taylor led off the bottom of the first inning Tuesday by slugging the first pitch from Keuchel 447 feet over the wall in left field for his third homer of the postseason.
2. Astros 3B Alex Bregman went deep for the third time this postseason to account for his team’s lone run in Game 1.
3. Turner has driven in a franchise-record 14 runs this postseason, and his 26 career RBIs match the club mark set by Hall-of-Famer Duke Snider.
PREDICTION: Astros 3, Dodgers 2