WORLD SERIES: Game 5 boasts Keuchel vs. Kershaw, round two

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Back to square one in a now best-of-three games series.

The Houston Astros are still two wins away from their first World Series title. Game 4, though, showed the murkiness in that pursuit.

In a virtual pitchers' duel for the first eight innings, the Astros were able to get maximum value from starter Charlie Morton, who pitched six-and-one-thirds inning with seven strikeouts.

While Morton showed excellence for his part of the game, the Dodgers' Alex Wood and his bullpen were better, shutting down Astros bats for just two hits - both of them solo home runs.

Without the run support heading into the ninth, the Astros were put in the position to rely on a bullpen that felt like the magic was used up on Brad Peacock's masterful work in Game 3.

With the series even now, both clubs go back to their Game 1 starters but in a different venue and weather conditions.

Dallas Keuchel versus Clayton Kershaw in the opening contest of the Series was everything as advertised of this championship final. While Keuchel was able to overcome a first-pitch home run to Chris Taylor, Kershaw made sure no hits flew by him, only allowing an Alex Bregman solo round-tripper.

At home this season, Keuchel went 6-3 with a 2.26 ERA.

Starting pitching longevity has been key for both sides in the Series, but more so for the Astros. This season, Keuchel at home has averaged just six-and-one-thirds innings per nine-innings over 11 appearances.

For Kershaw, the Dodgers' ace has actually done as good on the road as his home appearances. Kershaw went 9-2 both at home and on the road in 2017 with a 2.06 ERA as the visiting starter. Kershaw averaged six innings of work, emphasized by the fact that his appearance in Game 1 reached rare territory of the seventh inning.

For Astros batters, something will have to give in this matchup. At Minute Maid Park, no opposing pitcher struck out 10 Astros in a single game this season. In fact, Houston's offense had the lowest strike out rate in the Majors in 2017.

In Game 1, Kershaw struck out 11 Houston batters.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. This will mark the Astros' final home game of the year at Minute Maid Park.

Game 6 is scheduled for Tuesday in Los Angeles. Game 7, if necessary, is slated for Wednesday.

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sportsHouston AstrosLos Angeles Dodgersworld seriesMLBbaseballHouston
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