Sports

THE ASTROS ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS! THE ASTROS ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!

Your World Series MVP, George Springer
Your World Series MVP, George Springer Jack Gorman
The Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game Seven in a contest the Astros led the entire way. George Springer started the game off with a double. He then came home to score the first run on a throwing error. Dodger starter Yu Darvish struggled the entire brief time he was in the game, and he was pulled in the second inning after giving up a two-run homer to Springer that made the score 5-0. Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. didn’t make it through the third inning, but the much-maligned Astros bullpen strung together a marvelous performance, shutting down the Dodgers for the biggest win in the history of the Houston Astros, who claimed their first-ever World Series title.

So for one final time this postseason…

THE MVPs

GEORGE SPRINGER: Springer led off the game with a double and scored on a throwing error. He hit a two-run homer in top of the third inning to make the score 5-0 and to knock Dodger starter Yu Darvish out of the game. What Springer did over the entire seven games was to put on one of the greatest offensive performances in series history, and he was named the World Series MVP. He is the first player in World Series history to homer in four straight World Series games. The five home runs he hit in the series tied him with Reggie Jackson and Chase Utley for the most home runs ever in a single series. His 29 total bases were the most ever for a player in a single World Series.

BRAD PEACOCK: When Lance McCullers Jr. began falling apart on the mound for a third straight inning, it was Peacock to whom Astros manager A.J. Hinch turned. There were two Dodgers on base — as was the case for every inning that McCullers pitched — and there was just one out. Peacock ended the scoring threat by getting Yasiel Puig to fly out to center field and then striking out Joc Pederson. Peacock pitched two innings, gave up just one hit, walked just one, struck out two, and gave up no runs.


CHARLIE MORTON: Morton went the final four innings of the game in relief, getting the win. The Dodgers dented him for their only run of the game in the sixth inning, but he was nearly perfect after that, shutting down the Dodgers in innings seven, eight and nine. He struck out four in the process and his stuff looked as good as anything thrown by aces Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel in the World Series.

ASTROS BULLPEN: There have been lots of words written about the Astros bullpen this season, and this playoffs. It struggled, but when it was needed the most, the bullpen came through. Francisco Liriano and Chris Devenski each faced just one batter, but they each got a very important out.

THE DFAs (Designated for Assignment)

YU DARVISH: Darvish failed to make it out of the second inning. Again. In doing so, he became the first starting pitcher since 1960 to fail to get past the second inning in two World Series starts in a single series. In his time on the mound, Darvish gave up three hits (including Springer’s monster shot) and five runs. He failed to record a strikeout.


LANCE MCCULLERS JR.: McCullers fared better than Darvish in that he surrendered no runs while on the mound. Of course, he was pulled after just 2 1/3 innings that saw him give up three hits and hit a World Series record four Dodger batters — including hitting Justin Turner twice. While many thought McCullers would not pitch deep into the game, the Astros hoped he would last at least five or six innings before giving way to the bullpen.

CODY BELLINGER: Bellinger’s three Game Seven strikeouts allowed him to set the World Series record with 17 Ks. His strikeouts also came with runners on the bases — he stranded six teammates. Even worse, it was Bellinger’s throwing error that allowed Springer to score the first run of the game. The good news is that he did not earn the golden sombrero this time out.

DODGERS OFFENSE: In the biggest game of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers offense disappeared. The Astros may have cranked out only five hits for the night, but they made them count. It was totally different for the Dodgers. They were able to crank out six hits, but stranded ten runners, and were only 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

The Astros ended the 2017 regular season by going 18-3. The team then went 3-0 in postseason elimination games. It wasn’t always easy, but it was exciting, but the Astros came through when it mattered. And without a doubt, it can be said that the Sports Illustrated cover jinx is dead.
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John Royal is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. In his day job he is a complex litigation attorney. In his night job he writes about Houston sports for the Houston Press.
Contact: John Royal