A World Series showdown between the 104-58 Los Angeles Dodgers and 101-61 Houston Astros appeared inevitable when they each won their first two games in the respective league championship series, but the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs had other plans.
New York has come storming back against the Astros with three straight home wins in the American League Championship Series to seize control heading back to Houston, while Chicago remained alive with a dramatic 3-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.
Now the Bronx Bombers are one win away from clinching their spot in the Fall Classic, while Los Angeles finds itself in a similar situation with a 3-1 advantage in the NLCS.
With that in mind, here is a look at the 2017 World Series schedule, as well as a prediction for the matchup.
2017 World Series Schedule
Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 24
Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 25
Game 3: Friday, Oct. 27
Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 28
Game 5*: Sunday, Oct. 29
Game 6*: Tuesday, Oct. 31
Game 7*: Wednesday, Nov. 1
The Dodgers still have the inside path to their first World Series appearance since 1988, but ESPN Stats & Info highlighted the fact they shouldn't take the defending champions lightly:
Chicago overcame a 3-1 deficit in last year's World Series against the Cleveland Indians and will have to do the same against Los Angeles, but the Indians didn't have the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Yu Darvish lined up in need of just one victory.
As if that wasn't daunting enough, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said All-Star closer Wade Davis wouldn't be available for Thursday's Game 5 after he threw 48 pitches in Wednesday's two-inning save, per Chris Emma of 670 The Score.
That leaves Chicago facing Kershaw without the services of its best bullpen pitcher. It is not difficult to envision the Dodgers southpaw pitching an effective seven innings and turning the ball over to shutdown closer Kenley Jansen to finish the series with a two-inning save.
As for the American League, Houston still has home-field advantage despite facing a 3-2 deficit. The home team has won every game in this series, and Justin Verlander will take the mound in Friday's Game 6 with the season on the line.
Verlander already threw a complete-game gem in his last outing in this series, allowing a single run and five hits while striking out 13. A repeat performance will push the battle to a decisive Game 7 on Saturday and continue the pattern of the home team taking care of business.
However, a Game 7 situation means it is all-hands-on-deck, and the Bronx Bombers have the significant advantage in the bullpen. According to ESPN.com, New York's bullpen finished with the third-best ERA in the league this season, while Houston's was a mere 17th.
The Astros' bullpen already cost them one game in this series when it couldn't hold a 4-0 advantage in the final three innings of Game 4, otherwise this battle would have a different feel to it as it shifts back to Houston.
Look for the Yankees to seize an early lead in one of the two games in Houston and rely on the combination of Chad Green, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman to shorten the contest and clinch the American League pennant on the road.
Predicted World Series matchup: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Yankees
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