David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Baseball fans have been lucky over the past seven Octobers, as four of the seven World Series range from “good and competitive” to “all-time classic” on the championship spectrum.
This year’s Fall Classic may fall somewhere in there if recent playoff results are any indication, as the American League and National League Championship Series haven’t seen a shortage of on- (and sometimes off-) field drama.
Here’s a look ahead at the World Series schedule of dates, alongside some ticket information and pennant-winner predictions.
Schedule of Dates
Tuesday, October 23 (Game 1): National League winner at American League winner
Wednesday, October 24 (Game 2): National League winner at American League winner
Friday, October 26 (Game 3): American League winner at National League winner
Saturday, October 27 (Game 4): American League winner at National League winner
Sunday, October 28 (Game 5, if necessary): American League winner at National League winner
Tuesday, October 30 (Game 6, if necessary): National League winner at American League winner
Wednesday, October 31 (Game 7, if necessary): National League winner at American League winner
World Series tickets can be purchased through StubHub.
Right-handed ace Justin Verlander gets the starting call for the Astros on Thursday. He wasn’t his usual dominant self in Boston for Game 1, although a six-inning, two-run, six-strikeout outing is still impressive on the road against a 108-win team.
However, the Astros could still put Verlander on the mound even if they had their pick of any MLB starter for this do-or-die game.
The 35-year-old right-hander struck out an American League-leading 290 batters while posting a 2.52 ERA in 214.0 innings this past season. He’s also been dominant in the playoffs since 2013, punching out 86 batters in 76.0 innings alongside a 2.01 ERA. Verlander hasn’t allowed fewer than three earned runs (or pitched fewer than five full frames) in 12 starts during that span.
On the opposite mound, the Boston Red Sox will skip team ace Chris Sale, as the southpaw has battled a stomach illness that forced him to spend a night in the hospital. Red Sox manager Alex Cora provided an update before Game 4, noting that Sale is “feeling better compared to yesterday, but physically he’s not there yet. So I think if necessary he’ll pitch Game 6. He feels that he’ll be ready for that one. And we’ll go from there.”
Left-hander David Price is getting the call for the Red Sox, but he’s starting on three days rest and has allowed seven earned runs in 6.1 playoff innings. Houston and Verlander have the edge here.
Following a potential win, however, Houston would then be tasked with beating Sale at Fenway Park for Game 6, and that’s a tall order even with tough right-hander Gerrit Cole presumably opposing him. Sale struck out 237 batters in 158.0 innings alongside a 2.11 ERA (and microscopic 1.98 FIP).
Betting against Sale at home in a series-clinching game isn’t a safe wager, so the prediction here is for Boston to take Game 6 and move onto the World Series for the first time since its 2013 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Dodgers southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu will begin Game 6. He was L.A.’s Game 2 starter versus Milwaukee and allowed two earned runs and six hits in 4.1 innings.
The Brewers will go with left-hander Wade Miley, who started Game 5 and walked leadoff hitter Cody Bellinger before being pulled.
Miley wasn’t hurt, nor did he receive one of the quickest hooks of all time from a disgruntled manager. Rather, skipper Craig Counsell’s plan was for L.A. to build its lineup in response to a southpaw before Milwaukee tossed it over to right-hander Brandon Woodruff.
Miley will now be faced with helping keep Milwaukee’s season alive, although one has to wonder if manager Craig Counsell goes for a similar tactic again.
In any case, Miley may be gone at the slightest hint of trouble, especially considering the fact that the Brewers’ top three relievers (Josh Hader, Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress) will have the benefit of a few days’ rest before Friday (Hader and Knebel last pitched Tuesday, while Jeffress’ most recent appearance was Monday).
L.A.’s bullpen has the benefit of rest as well: Right-hander Pedro Baez was the only reliever to toss more than nine pitches on Wednesday, and the entire team enjoys a day off Thursday. For the postseason, L.A. sports a 2.55 bullpen ERA.
Game 6 is tough to call given how difficult it is to project when the managers will dip into the bullpens (who could have guessed Counsell would do so after five pitches Wednesday?).
If we’re strictly focusing on the starter matchup, Ryu (89 strikeouts in 82.1 innings and a 1.97 ERA) has an edge over Miley (50 strikeouts in 80.2 innings and a 2.57 ERA).
On the flip side, the Brewers are an NL-best 51-30 at home and have a near-invincible weapon in Hader, who has pitched nine scoreless innings and allowed just five hits (and no runs) since the team’s NL Central tie-breaking win over the Chicago Cubs.
It’s a coin-flip game, but the guess is Ryu fares well and the Dodgers get to Miley (and/or his successor) early. Look for the L.A. bullpen to then hold on late as the Dodgers take the pennant.