After three weeks of thrilling postseason action, the World Series opens on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, by virtue of earning the best regular-season record in baseball, will have home-field advantage against either the Houston Astros or New York Yankees.
Just like in the division series and championship series, both teams in the Fall Classic will rely on their stars in clutch situations to be the true difference makers.
The Dodgers proved they have plenty in their lineup throughout their NLCS conquest of the Chicago Cubs, and stars are emerging on both sides of the ALCS as it shifts back to Houston. There's a good chance some of those stars will be the names we're talking about throughout the World Series.
Game 1: Yankees or Astros at Dodgers, Tuesday, October 24, Time TBD, Fox
Game 2: Yankees or Astros at Dodgers, Wednesday, October 25, Time TBD, Fox
Game 3: Dodgers at Yankees or Astros, Friday, October 27, Time TBD, Fox
Game 4: Dodgers at Yankees or Astros, Saturday, October 28, Time TBD, Fox
Game 5: Dodgers at Yankees or Astros, Sunday, October 29, Time TBD, Fox
Game 6: Yankees or Astros at Dodgers, Tuesday, October 31, Time TBD, Fox
Game 7: Yankees or Astros at Dodgers, Wednesday, November 1, Time TBD, Fox
Players to Watch
Justin Turner won NLCS co-MVP alongside Chris Taylor for his terrific series at the plate. The 32-year-old infielder has exceeded expectations by becoming the go-to guy in the heart of the Dodgers order.
Turner is batting .387 this postseason with an on-base percentage of .500 to go along with three home runs and 12 RBIs. Not only has he flexed his power at the plate, Turner has also come through with his patience as he's earned six walks.
The Dodgers will look to Turner to set the tone at home in Games 1 and 2 no matter if it's through an early home run, or just a strong at-bat that gets him on base to begin a rally.
Whichever team opposes Turner in the World Series will have a problem getting him out, and if his current form holds, he may be on track to win World Series MVP.
A lot of focus will be on the Dodgers rotation entering the World Series, with Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Yu Darvish expected to take the hill early in the series.
However, the real game-changer for the Dodgers comes in the bullpen in the form of closer Kenley Jansen. The 30-year-old right-hander has been untouchable throughout the postseason, and he'll be relied upon possibly earlier than the ninth to set down the opponent's order.
In seven appearances this postseason, Jansen has given up two hits and an unearned run while striking out 12. He's even shown that he can work multiple innings to earn a save as he did that in Game 2 of the NLDS and Game 1 of the NLCS.
If the Yankees finish off the Astros this weekend in Houston, they'll have Gary Sanchez to thank for getting them to the World Series as well as a few other stars.
Sanchez came alive at Yankee Stadium during Games 3 through 5 of the ALCS with one home run and 5 RBI, including the game-winning double in Game 4.
With a ton of focus from opposing staffs on shutting down Aaron Judge, Sanchez gives the Yankees a bat out of the cleanup spot that can either take advantage of the pitches Judge won't get, or add to the damage in a rally started by the other talented young slugger in the lineup.
There are so many valuable players on the Houston Astros roster, but Luke Gregerson may prove to be the most important if they reach the Fall Classic.
While most of the Astros bullpen has struggled during the ALCS, Gregerson has given up one hit in just under three innings of work.
If Houston is able to get solid starts out of its staff led by Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, Gregerson will be called upon to bridge the gap between the starters and closer Ken Giles. At a point in the season where the margin for error is slim, Gregerson is a player A.J. Hinch can trust to get the job done in critical situations.
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All statistics obtained from MLB.com.
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