Houston manager A.J. Hinch exclaimed onstage: “We are a championship city! These players are always going to be called champions.” It was the first time two teams with 100 wins during the regular season met in a World Series since 1970, when the Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds dueled, and Wednesday night became even more dramatic. It was the first time two 100-win clubs met in Game 7 of the World Series since 1931, when the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Athletics. The drama didn’t last long, however, thanks to Darvish. Not only did the Astros beat the Dodgers on the field, but they also, in hindsight, whipped them at the trade table this summer when the Dodgers veered away from Verlander and focused on Darvish.
The Dodgers also never recovered from prematurely yanking starter Rich Hill in Game 2. He was cruising along with seven strikeouts in four innings when the Los Angeles analytic storm hit: No matter how well Hill was pitching, they were not going to allow him to face the Houston lineup a third time. That set off a chain reaction that wound up with Los Angeles using nine pitchers and being stuck with Brandon (Losing Pitcher) McCarthy on the mound in the 11th inning. McCarthy hadn’t pitched in more than three weeks. Instead of taking a two-games-to-none lead in the series, the Dodgers went to Houston with the series tied at one game each. And in Games 2, 3, 4 and 5 combined, the Dodgers ran through a stretch in which they used 25 pitchers in 35 innings. In Sunday’s wild 13-12 Houston Game 5 win, the Dodgers blew a four-run lead, a three-run lead and a one-run lead.
In 2014, Sports Illustrated put then-rookie George Springer on the cover of an issue predicting the Houston Astros would win the 2017 World Series. Not only did that come to fruition with Houston’s 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Wednesday’s Game 7 at Dodger Stadium, but the cover athlete was also named the World Series MVP. Springer started the early onslaught for the Astros in Game 7 with a leadoff double before he came around on Cody Bellinger’s throwing error on Alex Bregman’s grounder. The outfielder was far from done, drilling a two-run homer in the second to put Houston ahead 5-0 and force the Dodgers to play unsuccessful catch-up the rest of the way. The long ball also ended Los Angeles starter Yu Darvish’s night and was the exclamation point on Springer’s incredible Fall Classic.
Springer’s home run made him the only player in MLB history to hit one in four straight games in the same World Series. MLB Stat of the Day noted it also gave Springer the record for extra-base hits (eight) and total bases (29) and tied him with Reggie Jackson and Chase Utley for the most homers (five) in a World Series. Springer respectively said: “This was a great series between two 100-win teams, two great teams, two great offenses, two great defenses, two great pitching staffs. The wildness of this series, the wackiness of this series, the emotional ups and downs…being able to play in this was something I’ll never forget.”
The MVP award and clutch home runs marked a drastic turnaround from how Springer started the World Series. He struck out in all four of his plate appearances in Houston’s 3-1 loss in Game 1 and looked lost as the Dodgers seized control of the series. However, the magic started in Game 2 when his two-run homer in the 11th inning spearheaded his team’s dramatic 7-6 victory and tied the series heading back to Houston. Springer also homered in Games 4, 5 and 6. The one he hit in the sixth inning of Game 4 ended Alex Wood’s no-hitter and gave Houston a temporary 1-0 lead before ultimately losing. His Game 5 blast tied the contest in the seventh before the Astros won, 13-12. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa receive plenty of deserved attention when it comes to the Astros’ young core, but Springer helped anchor the offense and outfield defense all season. He finished the regular season with a .283/.367/.522 slash line with 34 home runs and 85 RBI and was responsible for five total defensive runs saved above average in center field this season.
It’s safe to say Wednesday night is the best night of Carlos Correa’s life. Soon after the final out, Correa dropped to one knee and proposed to his girlfriend on the field, during the World Series celebration. Of course she said yes. I can’t help but wonder though, was Correa still going to propose even if the Astros lost? Nah, probably not. Not sense in worrying about it now. Hard to beat winning the World Series and getting engaged on the same night, eh? Sorry fellas, but the proposal bar has just been raised big time.