It’s going to be an awkward 4th of July barbecue next week: Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond homered off brother-in-law Josh Roenicke in the game against the Rockies on Thursday.
The two had never faced each other before this week, but they’ve done so twice during the four-game series, with Desmond winning both battles. The red-hot Desmond tripled off Roenicke back on Monday.
Both Desmond and Roenicke are having nice seasons. Desmond is second among major league shortstops with 13 homers and first with 36 extra-base hits. Roenicke entered the day 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA in 44 1/3 innings out of the pen for Colorado, though it looks like he might end up with the loss in this one.
As for their relationship, Roenicke is married to Desmond’s sister. According to MLB.com, Josh and Nikki met in Florida in 2006 while Josh was in spring training with the Reds. They married in 2010.
The Dodgers and Astros have selected their starters for Game 1 of the World Series. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will open the series for the Astros, while fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the first of two home games at Dodger Stadium.
Keuchel, 29, has been a steady presence for the Astros this postseason. He clinched Game 2 of the ALDS with 5 2/3 innings of one-run, seven-strikeout ball against the Red Sox and returned for his second postseason win with seven scoreless innings against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS. He was outmatched in Game 5 of the Championship Series, however, scattering four runs and eight strikeouts across 4 2/3 innings while the Yankees worked their way up to a 5-0 shutout. Nevertheless, he’s perhaps the Astros’ strongest arm behind ALCS MVP Justin Verlander and has not surrendered a single home run in 17 1/3 consecutive innings this postseason.
Kershaw, on the other hand, has had a less consistent track record in the playoffs. While his postseason yips have been well-documented thus far, his struggles on the mound haven’t always led to disaster — at least not this time around. The Dodgers are 3-0 in all three of Kershaw’s starts this month and enjoyed a quality start from their ace during Game 5 of the NLCS last Thursday. The 29-year-old southpaw recorded his second win of the playoffs with a run, three hits, a walk and five strikeouts over six innings. Unlike Keuchel, he’s given up a home run in each of his outings to date (and four homers in Game 1 of the NLDS).
Game 1 is set for Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM ET. The Dodgers have home field advantage through Games 1 and 2 before the series moves to Houston, and will try to capitalize on that advantage in order to extend their postseason winning streak at Dodger Stadium. They’re 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road this October, while the Astros boast a 6-0 advantage in Houston and a significantly less impressive 1-4 record away from home.