2017 World Series: Astros Starting Dallas Keuchel Against Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw In Game 1; Justin Verlander To Start Game 2
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The theme remained constant throughout the American League Championship Series, which concluded with the Houston Astros defeating the New York Yankees to advance to the World Series for a date with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The home team won all seven games in the ALCS. That meant the Astros twice staving off elimination once the series shifted back to Minute Maid Park.

Houston’s berth in the World Series is the second in the franchise’s history. While still a member of the National League, they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Beyond the fact they defeated the Yankees in winner-take-all Game 7, the Astros did so by only relying on two pitchers in the shutout. Starter Charlie Morton went five innings, and Lance McCullers Jr. chipped in with four frames.

That left Dallas Keuchel on track to start opposite Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 of the World Series, followed by Justin Verlander in Game 2, per Matt Kelly of MLB.com:

Astros manager AJ Hinch announced that Dallas Keuchel will oppose Clayton Kershaw in a battle of Cy Young Award-winning left-handers in Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. Houston will follow with right-hander Justin Verlander, the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, in Game 2 on Wednesday.

During a conference call held prior to first pitch in Game 7 of the ALCS, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the club had not yet decided if Yu Darvish or Rich Hill would start Game 2. “It’s going to be contingent upon [ALCS Game 7], then we’ll make a decision and then let Yu and Rich know,” Roberts said.

Thus far, the Dodgers have opted to have Hill make the start at home because of his favorable splits, and pushed Darvish into the road setting. Los Angeles is a combined 4-0 in Games 2 and 3 this October, which suggests change may not be afoot.

Keuchel went 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA, 3.79 FIP and 1.12 WHIP in 23 starts this season. He spent a combined nine weeks across two disabled list stints due to neck discomfort. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner is 2-1 thus far in the postseason, with a 2.60 ERA.

His workload pales to that of Verlander. He’s 4-0 in four games (three starts), with a 1.46 ERA. Verlander threw 124 pitches in a complete game to give the Astros a 2-0 lead in the ALCS, then tossed 99 pitches over seven innings in Game 6.

Keuchel will be on an extra day of rest, while Verlander’s scheduled start comes on his normal turn.