Why the Astros will (or won't) beat the Dodgers in 2017 World Series

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HOUSTON – The 2017 World Series pits two 100-win teams against each other for the first time since 1970.

Houston and Los Angeles were the front-runners in their leagues for the better part of the season.

The Astros won their division by 21 games.

The Dodgers won the NL West by 11 games, but both Wild Card teams in the National League came out of their division while no other team besides Houston made it out of the AL West.

Here's a look at how the teams match up heading into the series.

Why the Astros will score more runs in the World Series:

Houston scored 896 runs this season, the most in baseball and nearly 40 runs more than the Yankees, who had the second most with 858. The Dodgers scored 770 runs this season, the third most in their division behind the Rockies, who had 824, and the Diamondbacks with 812.

Why the Dodgers will score more runs in the World Series:

Los Angeles has played eight playoff games so far this postseason. The Dodgers have scored 48 runs in those games. Houston has played 11 postseason games so far this playoff run. The Astros have scored 44 runs.

Why the Astros starting pitching will be a key factor in the series:

Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton all had their moments in the ALCS. Houston's starting pitching has to show up in order to keep the game close early and allow the offense to chip away at the L.A. rotation.

Why the Dodgers starting pitching will be a key factor in the series:

Clayton Kershow, Rich Hill, Yu Darvish and Alex Wood have all had fantastic seasons. Darvish was a midseason pickup for Los Angeles. He posted a 4-3 record in nine starts with the Dodgers along with a 3.44 ERA in 49.2 innings in the regular season. Darvish, a known Astros killer, also is 2-0 in his two postseason starts this year. Kershaw has his history of struggles in the postseason, and if the Astros want to pick a starting point to swing momentum, Game 1 in Los Angeles with Kershaw on his bump isn't a bad place to do so.

Why the Astros bullpen will play a key role in the World Series:

Ken Giles, Chris Devenski, Will Harris, Joe Musgrove and company will have their hands full with the Dodgers' bats late in games. Verlander and Keuchel have done a good job pitching late in games, but the bullpen arms will be crucial in close games.

Why the Dodgers bullpen will play a key role in the World Series:

Kenley Jansen is a monster. He is one of the few elite closers in the game right now. Jansen has the stuff to overpower even the strongest of hitting lineups, and he is able to last longer than three outs, which could come in handy late in close games.

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