Wild West World Series

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Wild West World Series

This year's World Series proved to be just as, if not more thrilling than last year's final bout.

This year's World Series proved to be just as, if not more thrilling than last year's final bout.

This year's World Series proved to be just as, if not more thrilling than last year's final bout.

This year's World Series proved to be just as, if not more thrilling than last year's final bout.

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By Evan Biancardi

This year’s World Series proved to be just as, if not more thrilling than last year’s final bout. (Courtesy of Twitter)

For the first time since 2002, the World Series featured a seventh game for consecutive seasons. This time, it was the Astros who came out on top, as they defeated the Dodgers 5-1 in the decisive game. It was Houston’s second ever appearance in the Fall Classic and first World Series championship in franchise history.

After Clayton Kershaw earned the victory in game one at Dodger Stadium, game two entered the sixth inning tied at one. The Dodgers took a late lead, only to have closer Kenley Jansen give up a game-tying solo blast to Marwin Gonzalez. In extra innings, both teams combined for a record five combined home runs and seven total runs scored. After their game two victory, the Astros would knock out Yu Darvish in the second inning of game three and take a commanding 2-1 lead in the series. The following night, the Dodgers rocked the Houston bullpen, scoring five runs in the ninth inning to even the series.

The drama continued in Game Five; in perhaps a must-win game for the Astros, the Dodgers took a commanding 3-0 lead before the Astros would even come to bat. Their lead wouldn’t last long, though, as Yuli Gurriel’s three-run blast in the fourth evened the score. Los Angeles answered with a Cody Bellinger three-run shot, but Altuve responded with one of his own. The following four innings would feature much of the same back-and-forth, but in the 10th inning, Alex Bregman would get the last laugh. His walk-off single led his team to a 13-12 victory with the series heading back to Los Angeles.

Facing ALCS MVP Justin Verlander in their home ballpark, the Dodgers were able to rebound, winning 3-1 and forcing a winner-take-all game seven. It was the fourth World Series game seven since 2011, but unlike the previous two, this one was fairly one-sided. As they did in game three, the Astros were able to get on the board early and knock out Darvish in the second inning. Despite impressive relief by Clayton Kershaw and company, Houston was eventually able to close out the victory and the series, thanks to Charlie Morton’s four stellar relief innings of his own.

Regardless of which team you were rooting for, I can almost guarantee that you were highly entertained through it all. Through seven games, both teams scored exactly 34 runs each and homered a combined 25 times, a World Series record. And between game two in Los Angeles and game five in Houston, this was surely a Fall Classic for the history books.

For the last few years, the talk of the postseason has been the bullpen, so much so that the Yankees were able to rebuild their entire farm system by simply trading prized relievers. In this World Series alone, though, relievers blew four combined saves and recorded an ERA of 4.52. Even more staggering, in the ninth inning and/or later, relievers posted a combined ERA of 9.72 in 16.2 total innings pitched. Also, surprisingly, no starting pitcher was able to eclipse 100 pitches.
As we look ahead to the offseason, there will certainly be much to discuss and countless stories making headlines. If there’s anything we can take away from the 2017 season, though, it’s that this is a very exciting time for baseball. With several other teams looking to develop contenders around young talented superstars, we may be in for another historic season in 2018.