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The 2017 World Series is the championship series of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 2017 season. The 113th edition of the MLB Series, it is a best-of-seven playoff between the National League (NL) champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the American League (AL) champion Houston Astros.
For the first time, MLB sold presenting sponsorships to all of its postseason series; the internet television service YouTube TV is the first-ever presenting sponsor of the World Series. The series is officially known as the World Series presented by YouTube TV. This sponsorship includes logo branding in-stadium and on official digital properties, as well as commercial inventory during Fox’s telecasts of the games.
This is the first World Series in which home-field advantage was decided by regular season record. From 1903 to 2002, home-field advantage alternated between the AL and NL (with the exception of 1904 and 1994, which did not have a World Series); and from 2003 to 2016, it was determined by results from the corresponding All-Star Game, in which it was awarded to the team from the winning league. With 104 regular season wins, the Dodgers earned home-field advantage over the Astros, who had 101 regular season wins.
This will be the first World Series matchup, and second postseason meeting overall, between the Astros and Dodgers. Los Angeles defeated Houston in the 1981 National League Division Series in five games en route to its World Series championship that year. The teams also met in the 1980 National League West tie-breaker game. This is the first Fall Classic with two 100-win participants since the 1970 World Series, and the eighth overall. With the Astros and Dodgers having waited a combined 84 years for a championship (the Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988, and the Astros have never won since their 1962 formation), this is the third straight year in which the World Series teams have waited a combined 50 years or more to win a World Series, following 2015 at 59 years and 2016 with 176 years. Both teams have not lost at home this postseason leading to the World Series. The two teams did not meet in interleague play during the regular season.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers held a 91–36 record through August 25. However, a late season slump, in which the team lost 20 of 25 games (highlighted by 11 straight losses), led to questions about whether the Dodgers would succeed in the postseason. Despite the slump, the team recovered to win eight of its final ten regular season games, securing their fifth consecutive National League West title and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. In the postseason, the Dodgers swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series and defeated the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series in five games. This is the first appearance in the Fall Classic for the Dodgers since 1988, the tenth since the franchise moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958, and the 19th overall.
Entering the 2017 World Series, the Dodgers bullpen had thrown 23 consecutive scoreless innings, a postseason record for a bullpen. Additionally, by outscoring the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs by a combined 48–19 margin, the Dodgers entered the World Series with the third-best run differential of any pennant winner since the playoff structure was expanded in 1995.
All-Star shortshop Corey Seager, who was out for the entire National League Championship Series with a back injury, was included on the Dodgers’ World Series roster.
With a 101–61 regular season record, the team won its first American League West title since moving from the National League Central starting in its 2013 season, and their first division title since 2001. In the American League Division Series, they defeated the Boston Red Sox in four games and the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in seven games. This is their first appearance in the World Series since 2005, when they were swept in four games by the Chicago White Sox. They became the first team in history to make it to the World Series as members of both the National League and the American League.
On August 31, the Astros traded for Justin Verlander. After the trade, including the regular season and postseason, Verlander posted a 9–0 win-loss record with a 1.23 earned run average. He was named the ALCS Most Valuable Player.
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