The Dodgers are back in the World Series for the first time since 1988, when they beat the Athletics with help from Kirk Gibson’s iconic fist-pumping home run.
Los Angeles was barely challenged through the NL Division Series and the NLCS. After sweeping the Diamondbacks, it quickly dispatched the World Series-defending Cubs.
A date with the Astros is all that stands in the Dodgers’ way of winning their first World Series title in 29 years.
Here are three reasons why the Dodgers will win the World Series:
1. Home-field advantage
The Dodgers have won all four of their home postseason games this year, and the Astros just lost three straight in New York. The best teams usually win in the postseason — regardless of venue — especially in a best-of-seven series, but the Dodgers should feel comfortable at home.
The Dodgers are batting .289 with 26 runs scored at home this postseason. The Astros are 1-4 on the road, batting .213 with just 13 runs scored. Houston has scored 31 runs at home, where it is undefeated this postseason. This series could come down to momentum, which gives the Dodgers the upper hand.
2. The Dodgers have the best closer in baseball
While Aroldis Chapman may get all the hype due to his 100-plus mph fastball, Kenley Jansen is as cool as they come when a game is on the line. Jansen has three saves and a win this postseason. He has allowed just two hits and no runs through eight innings, posting a miniscule 0.38 WHIP.
But it’s not just Jansen leading the Dodgers’ bullpen. Guys like Tony Cingrani, Kenta Maeda (a starter during the regular season) and Brandon Morrow have been nearly unhittable this postseason. Teams with that many dominant options in their bullpen are tough to beat.
The Astros’ lineup gets a lot of attention — deservedly so — after scoring the most runs during the regular season. But the Dodgers can hit, too. Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor are all batting at least .278 while adding power and patience at the plate.
Corey Seager might return to the Dodgers’ lineup, further strengthening their vaunted attack. Even if Seager is limited or unable to play, his replacement, Charlie Culberson, batted .455 against the Cubs. The Dodgers will be capable of beating the Astros in close games and offensive outbursts.