Let’s work backwards here, shall we?
First, congratulations to the World Champion Houston Astros. On their way to the trophy they beat the three teams with the highest payrolls in the MLB. This team has the potential to go very, very far in the next few years and while this postseason has been one for the ages, it is only the beginning. This team plays like one that is going to be around for a very, very long time.
Homegrown talents like Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, World Series MVP George Springer and soon-to-be AL MVP José Altuve have laid the foundation for Hoston Astros baseball. While we were all turning in to a different game after seeing the Astros lose another game, they were slugging it out, waiting for their time to shine. Here it is, boys. Bask in the moment. You have earned your spot in history.
A few not-so homegrown talents also see their careers cemented with the credentials in the aftermath of Game 7. Carlos Beltran, after 15 postseason series and 20 years in the MLB, has finally won his first World Series ring. The first ballot Hall of Fame outfielder/DH was obviously emotional after reaching such a milestone after such a long wait. Good for you, Carlos. You earned 5x as many in your career, but I’m glad you have one that you can wear with pride.
On the flipside of Beltran is Justin Verlander, who after wins his first ring in third World Series, the previous two wearing a Detroit Tigers uniform. Verlander got a lot of the sympathy from non-Astros or Dodger fans, due to his two missed opportunities and the sorry state of baseball in Detroit. Verlander was the textbook definition of a great deadline move. Everyone could get behind it, he was playing for a contender and in the end, he paid off.
Justin Verlander was one of the reasons the Astros got to this Game 7. Despite taking the loss in Game 6, there was a dominance from Verlander that was almost unmatched in this World Series (Kershaw in Game 1 was pretty impressive.) There were flashes from the Houston starters, but JV seemed to stand taller than the others. Game 6 wasn’t about holding the Astros offense, no, it was about whether or not you could even get to Justin Verlander.
Now he has a ring. Good. Do we think Kate Upton will get one too? Serious question.
The offensive barrage from the young Astros bats was something to behold and paint and hang in the Louvre. I mean seriously, Altuve, Correa, Springer, and Bregman were the reason this team won rings. When the top of the order came around, you wouldn’t know what hit you. Everyone was a threat. That four-headed dragon was hitting .270 at the plate during the postseason and hit 85% of the home runs for the Astros. These bats were hot, hot, hot, and they weren’t afraid to make you pay.
The Dodgers are lucky that Springer wasn’t hitting in the cleanup spot. Sweet Jesus. Considering that the majority of his home runs were solo shots, the Dodgers should consider themselves lucky they got away with just the 5 home runs, 7 RBIs and 8 runs scored. Springer even set a World Series record with 29 total bases.
These are the four guys to watch for the next… decade. This is the new Core 4. They already knocked out the best team in baseball this year, and now they’ve got rings. If there’s a new dynasty being built anywhere in the league, it’s in Houston. These young guys now have the hardware to prove that they’re a force to be reckoned with.
On the rubber, the minute they removed McCullers from the mound, I thought they were in trouble. The Astros bullpen has been a roll of the dice this postseason, and going to the bullpen that early seemed to be an alarm going off in the Hoston dugout. However, Peacock, Liriano and Devenski held their own and kept the Dodgers down for 3 innings.
Then we got Charlie Morton. Justin Verlander threw the more innings in the World Series than any other Astros pitcher. The second most were thrown by Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton, with 10.1. In those innings, Keuchel posted a 5.23 ERA and a 1.355 ERA, which are not the best numbers for an Ace to have. Charlie Morton, on the other hand, finished the World Series with a 1.74 ERA and a 0.581 WHIP, the best numbers on the Houston staff.
Charlie Morton’s performance in Game 7 should not go unnoticed. For a guy who went 6.1 giving up 3 hits in Game 4, his series finale was even better. Four innings, two hits, Game 7 Winner. How could life get better for Charlie Morton. After years of trying out Mike Fiers, Francisco Liriano, Doug Fister, Scott Feldman, and Scott Kazmir, who would have thought that Charlie Morton would be your guy in Game 7? Big-time players making big-time plays in big-time games, I guess.
And it’s not like this team is going anywhere anytime soon. Not even close. The biggest free agents they lose will be Carlos Beltran and Francisco Liriano. Barely shaking things up at Minute Maid Park. Can the Astros be the first team in almost a decade to repeat World Series performances in back to back years? They certainly have the talent for it.
The American League and Major League Baseball have been put on notice. The Houston Astros are here and they’ve got the talent to stay for a very long time.