Will the Major League Baseball season come to an end Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium in Game 6 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, or will fans be treated to a second straight Fall Classic that goes the full seven games?
The Game 6 pitching matchup is the same as it was for that wild Game 2, won by Houston 7-6 in 11 innings in truly one of the best World Series games ever. Houston tied that game in the top of the ninth at 3-3 on a Marwin Gonzalez home run off perhaps the best closer in baseball, Kenley Jansen.
The Astros got solo home runs from likely AL MVP Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa to take a 5-3 lead in the top of the 10th, but the Dodgers came back with two runs of their own. George Springer hit what would prove to be the winning two-run homer in the top of the 11th.
It was only the third 11th-inning home run in World Series history, and the Astros became the first team to hit three extra-inning home runs in a postseason game. The Dodgers had been an incredible 98-0 in 2017 when ahead after eight innings, including the playoffs. Jansen had converted the first 12 save opportunities to begin his postseason career, an MLB record.
Houston traded for Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander just for games like this. He lasted six innings in Game 2, allowing three runs on just two hits – a solo home run by Joc Pederson in the fifth inning and a two-run shot by Corey Seager in the sixth. Verlander has yet to lose a game since being acquired by the Astros on August 31.
In his career, Verlander is 11-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 17 AL Championship Series and Division Series games but 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in four World Series starts. Verlander is a future Hall of Famer who has won the Cy Young and league MVP but not yet a World Series ring.
The Dodgers will counter with lefty Rich Hill. He was pulled after just four innings in Game 2 despite allowing one run and three hits with seven strikeouts. Short outings have been a trend this postseason as Hill hasn’t gone more than five innings in three starts. Some were critical of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts for going to his bullpen too early in Game 2. In seven career postseason starts, Hill is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA.
Because this game is back in the National League park, there is no designated hitter. That’s generally to the NL team’s advantage because it is used to playing without one most of the regular season. Houston used Evan Gattis at DH in the three games at Minute Maid Park.