One of the most interesting storylines of the 2020 regular season was the season series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The two faced off for the first time since the revelation of the Astros Sign-Stealing Scandal, which took place in 2017, the year Houston won the World Series over the Dodgers. They played two, two-game sets in 2020, and both lived up to every bit of the hype. Now the two will go at it again in 2021, in a two-game set in Houston, beginning Tuesday. There are storylines abound headed into this series so here are some of the most interesting aspects of the matchups.
Astros Fans Are Readying The Boos
Joe Kelly became public enemy number one for Astros fans in 2020 when he threw over the head of two Astros players. After striking out Carlos Correa to end that inning, the two exchanged pleasantries and the benches cleared. No punches were thrown, but it resulted in a suspension for Kelly. If Kelly appears in the series, he is sure to be greeted by a chorus of boos.
If Kelly is public enemy number one in Houston, Trevor Bauer will be public enemy number two. Since the scandal was revealed, no one has been more outspoken about the situation than Bauer. The Astros have been on the receiving end of a lot of trolling by the Dodgers star. Fortunately for baseball fans, Bauer lines up to start Wednesday’s game, which should make for great TV. The veteran riles up opposing fans like no other, so his interactions with the Houston faithful will be fascinating to watch.
Astros, Dodgers Series Probables
Game One will be a battle of old Dodger rotation-mates: Clayton Kershaw vs. Zack Greinke. The two were teammates in Los Angeles from 2013-2015. Both finished in the top three in Cy Young voting in 2015 as a part of the same staff, and now they will duel it out on Tuesday. Kershaw is pitching to a 3.18 ERA while Greinke has posted a 3.77 ERA to this point. On Wednesday, Game Two will have Bauer and Luis Garcia on the mound. Bauer has backed up his Cy Young 2020 thus far in 2021, with a 1.98 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings. Garcia has been very good for Houston with a 3.38 ERA in 40 innings.
Teams Streaking in Opposite Directions
Few teams have been hotter than the Dodgers lately, as they enter Tuesday with a seven-game win streak. They are 29-18, and just a game behind the San Diego Padres at the top of the NL West. The Astros are only in a three-game slide, but it is the way they lost the games that makes it excruciating. Houston was swept by the Texas Rangers and lost two of the three games by way of the walk-off. Overall, the Astros enter Tuesday 26-21, a game and a half behind the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics. This series has all the potential to be one of the best series of the 2021 MLB season thus far. Last year, Astros vs. Dodgers was must-see TV, and this year should be no different.
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