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Media Day arrives Monday at Dodger Stadium

October 23,2017 07:12

Dodger Stadium will be shining in the Southern California sun when the Dodgers and Astros report to work Monday to prepare for what is sure to be -- literally and figuratively -- a heated battle for baseball's top prize. Game 1 of the 2017 World Series ...

Today is World Series Media Day at Dodger Stadium, where the expected 100-degree temperatures are a fitting forecast for the first Fall Classic to feature two 100-win teams since Reds-Orioles in 1970. Media Day is an appetizer event in which the members of the 25-man rosters, coaches and managers will step in front of the cameras and discuss their path to and plans for a World Series featuring two superpower, star-laden squads.
• Gear up for the World Series: Astros | Dodgers
"They led the Major Leagues in wins for a reason," Astros Game 1 starter Dallas Keuchel said of the Dodgers. "They're not to be taken lightly, but we're not to be either."
MLB.com will have wall-to-wall coverage of Media Day, including a live stream from media day hosted by Alyson Footer. There will also be live look-ins at player interviews during team media sessions, and both Justin Turner and Jose Altuve will have their full availability streamed on MLB.com and the MLB At Bat App. On top of all that, we will livestream batting practice and all podium interviews for the managers and Game 1 starters. The schedule is as follows (all times ET):
6-6:45 p.m. -- Dodgers full-team media availability7:30 p.m. -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts in interview room7:45 p.m. -- Game 1 starter Clayton Kershaw in interview room8 p.m. -- Dodgers batting practice
8-8:45 p.m. -- Astros full-team media availability8:45 p.m. -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch in interview room9 p.m. -- Keuchel in interview room9:30 p.m. -- Astros batting practice
The In Real Life feed available at MLB.com will also have live updates with quotes, color, on-demand video, photos and the best of social media from the scene.
We should see plenty of K's in Game 1 of the World Series, with Kershaw and Keuchel getting the ball for the Dodgers and Astros, respectively. Roberts will stick with the plan from the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World by pitching Rich Hill at home in Game 2 and Yu Darvish on the road in Game 3. Hinch will naturally give the ball to Justin Verlander on regular rest in Game 2.
"They're two elite pitchers," Roberts said of Keuchel and Verlander. "They're two different types of pitchers. Obviously, Keuchel, pinpoint command with the fastball and can really pitch to the bottom of the strike zone. Where Verlander really pitches more to the top of the strike zone with plus velocity and three-pitch mix. We've got our work cut out."
• Position-by-position breakdown
Beyond Houston's co-aces, Media Day could shed more light on the rotation plans beyond those answers. The Astros started Charlie Morton in Game 3 and Lance McCullers Jr. in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, and the duo operated in tandem in Game 7, with Morton pitching five scoreless innings to start the game and McCullers following with four shutout frames to send Houston to the World Series.
By far the biggest roster decision to be made involves the return of Dodgers star shortstop Corey Seager, who missed the NLCS with a sprained back. The Dodgers got a big performances from September callup Charlie Culberson in his absence, but the 23-year-old Seager is expected to be back at shortstop for Game 1. Will Culberson remain on the World Series roster?
"Right now we haven't made that decision," Roberts said on Sunday.
On the Astros' side, a key decision will be whether to activate outfielder Jake Marisnick, whose right thumb injury has held him out of October action. He'll participate in Monday's workout to determine his readiness to potentially replace outfield reserve Derek Fisher, who saw little action in the ALCS. Marisnick was actually high school teammates with Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes in Riverside, Calif., about an hour east of Dodger Stadium, and that's one of a number of unique connections between these two clubs.
"I'd love to be a part of this," Marisnick told reporters. "I'd love to get on the field."
• How do Astros, Dodgers match up?
There will be a lot of eyes upon the players, of course, but there will also be a ton of media attention given to bench coach Alex Cora, the newly named manager of the Boston Red Sox. Cora won't officially take on his new duties until after the completion of the World Series, and both he and the Red Sox will refrain from further comment on his new job until after he makes the transition in teams. But Media Day will give reporters the opportunity to pick Cora's ample baseball brain to get a sense of what made him so attractive to the defending American League East champs.
Plenty other story lines are woven into this Series between the former NL West rivals. Roberts and Hinch are good friends from when they both worked for the Padres. They had breakfast in January and remarked at how cool it would be to face each other in the Fall Classic. Now here they are, the center of attention.
• 10 reasons World Series will be Classic
"To be able to manage against him in the World Series is going to be pretty special," Hinch said after the Astros won the ALCS. "They're really good. We had our hands full with the Yankees. I watched some of their series, and we'll study up on the plane [to Los Angeles]. We'll be prepared by Tuesday, but they have the most wins in baseball for a reason."
Yasiel Puig always seems to be the center of attention with his enthusiastic play, and this Series pits him opposite another Cuban baseball legend -- Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel. This will be a good time to reflect on how far they've come, and Keuchel and Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe -- former teammates at the University of Arkansas -- can do the same.
Kiké Hernandez, the Dodgers' NLCS Game 5 hero with three home runs, will be suiting up opposite the Astros club that gave him his first big league opportunity in 2014. He and Astros stud shortstop Carlos Correa are still tight, and they each have taken time from their title runs to help with hurricane relief for their native Puerto Rico.

We've spent all season talking about the brilliance of these two ballclubs, and they are properly paired on the Series stage.
"They're the best team in the NL," McCullers said of the Dodgers. "Even though we didn't have the best record, I felt we were the best team in the AL. It's going to be a heck of a series. They've got a lot of tough pitching, they can hit, they can play defense, they can run -- very similar to us."
With Media Day upon us, the stage is set. It's lights, camera and action in L.A., and these are two teams that are going to bring the heat.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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