Any pitching staff facing the Houston Astros this season had to be on its toes.
During the regular season, the Astros, with 101 victories, had the highest batting average, scored the most runs, was first in slugging percentage and second in homers.
Last Wednesday at Chavez Ravine, Houston claimed its first-ever World Series title after handing the Dodgers a 5-1 thumping in Game 7.
The Boys in Blue, who won 104 games, the most since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, proved a formidable opponent after sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series and needing only five games in order to beat the defending champion Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series.
Defeating the Astros was a different matter entirely based on their potent offense and formidable starting pitching staff that included Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel.
The clinching game was over after the first two innings when the Astros led 5-0.
George Springer, voted the World Series Most Valuable Player, led off with a double down the left field line against Yu Darvish.
Springer clubbed a record-tying five homers in the World Series, batted .379, drove in seven runs and scored eight runs.
Alex Bregman then bounced a ball that first baseman Cody Bellinger fielded, but whose throw sailed behind Darvish for an error.
The grounder allowed Springer, who had 11 hits that included three doubles, to move to third and score on the miscue.
Bregman was now standing at second base. He stole third and scored on Jose Altuve’s grounder that made it 2-0.
In the second inning, Darvish walked Brian McCann and Marwin Gonzalez (two hits with a run) followed with a double.
Two batters later, pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. grounded out to make it 3-0 as McCann crossed the plate.
It became 5-0 when Springer launched his two-run homer off Darvish, who in two games retired only 10 batters.
The Dodgers’ lone run was tallied on pinch hitter Andre Ethier’s hit in the sixth.
In Game 6, the Boys of Summer earned a 3-1 decision with Chris Taylor tying the contest at 1-1 with a double down the right-field line in the sixth and Corey Seager adding a sacrifice fly that gave the Dodgers a 2-1 edge.
Joc Pederson’s solo shot in the seventh inning was his third homer of the Series.
Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.