LOS ANGELES – The last time the Dodgers and Astros faced each other with crowded Dodger Stadium stands, Jose Altuve fielded a Corey Seager ground ball and threw the ball to Cuban Yuli Gurriel for Houston to win Game 7. of the World Series, obtaining the first ring in the history of the franchise.
That was the last scene in an epic World Series between two teams that took their emotions to the maximum of seven games and in which two of the best games ever seen in the Fall Classic were played. Years later, however, we discovered that the last out of Game 7 was far from the last chapter.
Following an investigation, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the Astros illegally stole signs during the 2017 regular season and postseason, as well as in parts of 2018. The form of sign stealing that was most frequently used by the Astros It was hitting trash cans to warn him when hitting if the pitch that was coming was a breaking send or a fastball.
Once the full report came out, it all started to make sense for the Dodgers. They began to understand why Clayton Kershaw only had one failed swing with the 51 sliders / curves he threw, two pitches that will make him a Hall of Famer in his first year of eligibility. Maybe Yu Darvish wasn’t telegraphing his pitches, as was said after the loss in Game 7. Maybe the Dodgers should have been the champions.
“Those guys were cheating for three years,” Bellinger said during practice last year. “I think what people don’t understand is that Altuve stole the MVP award from (Aaron) Judge in 2017. Everyone knows our ring was stolen. But it’s all over now ”.
We will never know what would have happened in the World Series. And we don’t necessarily know the situations or games in which the Astros used their system most often, or to what extent. But one thing that is clear is that Dodger Stadium will look different compared to four years ago, when the Astros visit the Dodgers for a two-game series Tuesday through Wednesday.
“Probably not good at all,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said when asked how he expects their reception at Chavez Ravine to be. “It wasn’t bad (in San Francisco), but I’m sure it’s going to be a lot more hostile when we get to Los Angeles, so we’ll have to deal with that. You don’t really care about the kind of reception you are going to get. You just go out on the field and play baseball. “
The two teams met last season at Dodger Stadium and Minute Maid Park, but having no fans in the stands diluted the first meetings between the two clubs since the 2017 World Series. Sure, that didn’t stop Joe Kelly from leaving him. to know the Puerto Rican Carlos Correa what he really thought of him and his team.
This year, the Dodgers are hoping for a full house for both games. It is also expected to be the most hostile environment the Astros have played in the past two seasons — including a hectic series at Yankee Stadium earlier this season.
“I wasn’t here, so I don’t have the same emotions as these guys,” Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts said. But I am ready for war. I play for the Dodgers. No matter what my emotions are, I have to be with my team. We are ready”.
Although the spirits will be well charged, the product on the ground must also add an extra to the rivalry. The Astros have the best offense in the majors and the Dodgers one of the best mountaineering bodies in the majors. Los Angeles will have Cy Young Award nominee Walker Buehler on the mound for Tuesday’s game. Newly acquired Max Scherzer will make his debut with his new team on Wednesday.
But in addition to Buehler and Scherzer, the Astros will have to deal with more than 50,000 fans. They have waited for this moment for quite some time.
“The public will be very active, which is what we expect,” said Dave Roberts, the Dodgers manager. “We are going to have Walker and I know he is going to be on fire. It will be a fun series ”.