The Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 on the night of Wednesday, November 1, and are the 2017 Major League Baseball World Series Champions. The Astros were crowned champions for the first time in the franchise’s 56 seasons.
The Astros were led by 2017 World Series Most Valuable Player George Springer and won 101 games in the regular season, plus the illustrious 11 in the postseason to take home the trophy. Springer tied a World Series record with five home runs, helping set an overall postseason record of 104 home runs in total.
According to MLB.com, there have been 38 World Series Game 7s in history and this season’s final game capped off a remarkable playoff run by the Houston Astros. While Game 7 was easily in favor of the Astros from the first inning on, the rest of the series made for one of the best ever and included a Game 5 which saw 11 innings of action and a 13-12 victory for the Astros.
“This World Series had a lot of good pitchers, Kershaw, Verlander, Keuchel, to name a few, but the offenses really stepped up,” Drew University catcher Brent Lincoln (’20) said. “It wasn’t about who pitched the best, it was more about who could give up less than their opponent because we knew the scoring was coming.”
While Game 5 ultimately set the tone for the series with several lead changes, capped off by Alex Bregman’s walk-off single, Game 2 was another wild thriller, with another Houston comeback led by home runs from Marwin Gonzalez, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa in innings 9 and 10, impressively in Los Angeles.
“I expected the Astros to win, while these were two very evenly matched teams, the offense certainly prevailed, timely hitting, and I would call Justin Verlander the ultimate neutralizer,” Drew University pitcher Connor Henry (’20) said. “While the stars on the Astros shined, guys such as Marwin Gonzalez stepped up in big spots, making for the beauty of the fall classic.”
While one of Houston’s stars, Justin Verlander, was a mid-season acquisition who came from Detroit, the true beauty of the Astros success was their homegrown talent. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Springer, Bregman, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers have blossomed into orbit for the Astros and this season’s trophy may be just the first in what could become a dynasty led by the aforementioned players.
Altuve, who will likely be this season’s American League Most Valuable Player, hit .346 in the regular season and .324 for the postseason as a whole, but just .214 in the World Series, according to Baseball Reference.
“After watching the postseason, I am truly impressed with Jose Altuve, the guy does it all,” Drew University first baseman Matt Lange (’20) said. “He’s arguably the best player in the game.”
In this wild seven game series, the scoring was aplenty and started quickly, not from the champions, but from the Los Angeles Dodgers. On the first pitch in the bottom half of Game 1, Chris Taylor took Dallas Keuchel’s offering deep. While both offenses were certainly potent and a force to be reckoned with, pitchers from both sides talked about Major League Baseball possibly tampering with the baseballs to attract viewers.
“I think the hitters today are better than years past and guys are getting a lot stronger and stats all season have proved that,” Lincoln said. “I’m not sure if there’s legitimacy to tampering with the baseballs, but you can only tamper a ball so much. I give these offenses a lot of credit and the pitchers for having to deal with them.”
Major League Baseball saw a baseball record 6,105 home runs this season and a record 104 this postseason, despite these record-setting numbers, several players including George Springer and Cody Bellinger, featured in the World Series hit over 30 home runs this season.
“The analytics today are crazy,” Henry said. “We know a player’s launch angle, bat speed, exit velocity, and find many mechanical flaws through our technology today, it’s not the balls, it is the technology that is revolutionizing the game.”