The Houston Astros are in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the battle for baseball supremacy, there are five players that could turn the tide for Houston.
The Astros became the first team to reach the World Series as both a National League and American League team when they defeated the New York Yankees in seven games. Now, they face a formidable team in the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Both these squads won over 100 games during the regular season. Every baseball fan knows the names like Jose Altuve, Justin Verlander, and Dallas Keuchel. These players will have to perform at a high level for the Astros to win the title, but who stands out as x-factors that are flying under everyone’s radar? There are quite a few players that lurk in the shadows of the stars that could turn this series in favor of Houston.
5. Chris Devenski and Francisco Liriano
Picking two players right off the bat but these guys could both play a major role in this series. First, it would be a great time for Devenski to regain his pre- All-Star break form. His ERA was slightly higher before the break but a lot of other stats were much better. His WHIP was significantly lower, his strikeout rate was higher and his average against was lower as well.
The postseason has not been kind to Devenski thus far, though. His ERA is 12.00 and his WHIP is over 2.00. Those are ghastly numbers and it will be hard for Houston to win this series without its bullpen operating at its peak. Devenski turning it around would be a huge win for the Astros.
Liriano is included for one very specific matchup. He has been used for only 1.2 innings so far in the playoffs but he could play a major role late in games. Liriano has been better against lefties basically his entire career. That matters in this series because Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger is left-handed. Manager A.J. Hinch could decide to use Liriano against Bellinger as a lefty specialist with great results.