Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers
Time: 7:10 PM PT
Venue: Dodger Stadium
Houston Record: 69-41
Los Angeles Record: 61-49
How are the Dodgers Doing?
On the day that preseason returned to the NFL, the Dodgers put up a football score with their 21-5 victory over the Brewers. A lack of offense plagued their earlier this week, but that ailment has been cured in August. They scored more runs on Thursday (21) than they collected in the previous six games combined (18). Their 21 runs set a new Dodger Stadium record and was the most runs scored by the franchise since 2001.
Why is this Game Important?
Any game where two defending league champions face off is a major event. It becomes an even more captivating contest when both teams are much improved since the last time they faced each other. The Astros bolstered their pitching staff, adding Gerrit Cole and Hector Rondon during the offseason and Ryan Pressley at the trade deadline. The Dodgers added to their offense with the acquisitions of Manny Machado and Brian Dozier.
The Dodgers will also honor a man who contributed to the Dodgers’ World Series run. Andre Ethier will have his retirement ceremony before Friday’s game against Houston. Ethier spent all 12 of his Major League seasons with the Dodgers, batting .285 with 162 career home runs.
Alex Wood (7-5, 3.68 ERA) vs Justin Verlander (10-6, 2.24 ERA)
After going 1-5 through his first 13 starts, Alex Wood has won his last six decisions. He threw 5.2 scoreless innings for the Dodgers in his last outing against the Braves. Wood last faced the Astros in the World Series, where he allowed one run in 7.2 innings over two games.
Justin Verlander came to Dodger Stadium twice in the World Series, where he went 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA. The 7-time all-star has lost four of his last five decisions, but has remained dominant with his 190 strikeouts already this year.
Matchup of the Day
Yasmani Grandal vs Justin Verlander
Yasmani Grandal will likely see more at-bats in this game than he saw in last year’s World Series. Grandal came to the plate just three times in the fall classic with Austin Barnes controlling the backstop throughout the 2017 postseason. Grandal has cemented his role as the starting catcher in 2018 and is 2-3 in his career against Verlander.
Los Angeles: -103
Los Angeles: 46% chance of winning
Houston: 54% chance of winning
Dave Roberts batted leadoff for the Dodgers on September 2, 2002, when the Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks, 19-1. That 18-run deficit is the second largest margin of victory in franchise history.
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