Nov. 1 (UPI) -- HOUSTON ASTROS (3-3) AT LOS ANGELES DODGERS (3-3)
FIRST PITCH: Wednesday, Nov. 1, 8:20 p.m. ET, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
STARTING PITCHERS: Lance McCullers, Jr. (Astros) vs. Yu Darvish (Dodgers)
SERIES HISTORY: The Dodgers and Astros meet in a massive Game 7 that will decide what has been an explosive and exciting 2017 World Series. In Game 1, the Dodgers won in a contest filled with solid pitching for a 3-1 win. The Astros responded by stealing Game 2 in Los Angeles and winning Game 3 in Houston to take an early 2-1 series lead. Los Angeles, wanting to avoid a perilous 3-1 deficit, broke a 1-1 tie by scoring five runs in the ninth inning of Game 4 to even the series at 2-2. The back-and-forth series reached its climax in Game 5 with a 10-inning shootout that saw the Astros escape with a 13-12 win to pull ahead. Los Angeles, with a struggling bullpen up to this point in the series, answered with a 3-1 win in Game 6 to force a series-deciding Game 7.
KEYS TO THE GAME AND IMPORTANT MATCHUPS: Perhaps humbled by his first-career demotion this season, Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson has made a quick adjustment since the National League Division Series.
Pederson found himself in a slump, followed by losing his roster spot in the NLDS. In the World Series, Pederson has rediscovered his swing, evidenced by three home runs, five RBIs and an impressive .357 batting average. The Dodgers hope the latter shows up for a monumental Game 7.
Pitching-wise, it will be a rematch from Game 3's starting pitchers. Astros manager A.J. Hinch announced following the Game 6 loss that Lance McCullers would be his starting pitcher in Game 7. McCullers pitched in a Game 3 win over the Dodgers, giving up three runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings.
For the Dodgers, Yu Darvish will be on the mound and hopes to rebound from his less-than-stellar outing in the third game of the series. He gave up four runs on six hits in just 1 2/3 innings of work.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jose Altuve. The Astros MVP candidate has had a scorching 2017 campaign, but has seen his batting average dip to .214 in the World Series while hitting two home runs and 5 RBIs. Altuve is also tied with the most strikeouts on the Astros with seven.
Perhaps most concerning is his .214 on-base percentage and zero stolen bases. On Wednesday's pivotal Game 7, Altuve and his ability to get on base could be the most important factor to watch if the Astros hope to knock off the explosive Dodgers in Los Angeles.
FAST FACTS AND WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: In Game 3, Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel was caught making a racial gesture in the dugout about Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish following a home run. Gurriel was then suspended for five games in the 2018 MLB season, but faced no discipline in the World Series.
Dodgers fans were none to pleased about this, and let their frustrations show during Game 6 in the confines of Dodger Stadium.
The loudest boos of the World Series for Yuli Gurriel at Dodger Stadium. pic.twitter.com/HndrsCfNgQ— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 1, 2017
Game 7, and likely the anger from Dodgers fans, remains in Los Angeles.
Would you rather buy a brand new Porsche, or go to Game 7 of the 2017 World Series?
For one duo of fans, it was a no-brainer.
In a tweet from ESPN business insider Darren Rovell, two tickets were purchased on StubHub for a reported $117,357, including fees, early Wednesday afternoon.
$117,357: What someone just paid on StubHub, including fees, for two seats in second row behind home plate for Game 7 tonight.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 1, 2017
The two tickets are located in the second row behind home plate for tonight's Game 7 matchup.
Although tickets are fetching a high price, Rovell also reported that over 11,000 tickets still remain on the resale market with hours remaining before the final game.
7 hours until Game 7 of the World Series, more than 11,000 tickets still on the resale market.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 1, 2017
The cheapest tickets listed on StubHub range between $750-$800 with first pitch slowly approaching.
NOTES: There has been a Game 7 in three of the past four World Series matchups... The Los Angeles Dodgers will try for their seventh all-time World Series title and first since 1988... The Houston Astros will be playing for their first-ever World Series championship in their second World Series in franchise history... The 10-inning shootout in Game 5 between the Astros and Dodgers lasted five hours and 17 minutes, the second-longest in World Series history... In the series so far, the Astros became just the second team in World Series history to overcome multiple three-run deficits... Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has given up an MLB record eight home runs in the playoffs...
PREDICTION: Jose Altuve and the Astros duplicate their Game 3 and have a quick start against Yu Darvish, who struggled in his last outing. The Dodgers' bullpen made strides in Game 6, but the Astros' bats are likely too good to adjust to.
PICK: Astros 8, Dodgers 7.