Manager: Dave Roberts vs. A.J. Hinch

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Winner of NL Manager of the Year honors in 2016 and a contender again, Roberts has been very successful in his two years at the helm. Lauded for his communication skills, he's notably gotten through to Puig where predecessor Don Mattingly failed, and generally maintained a more harmonious clubhouse. To the chagrin of outsiders who expected more urgency, he didn't panic during the team's 1–16 skid, and just about everything he's done in the postseason has worked, save for pushing Kershaw into the seventh inning in the Division Series opener and not pinch-hitting for Utley with Barnes in the eighth inning of NLCS Game 4. He's gotten the Dodgers to the promised land of the World Series thanks to a quick hook with his starters and trust in his relievers. Per the front office's mandate, he doesn't play a lot of small-ball; the Dodgers had just four position player sacrifice bunts in 2017, last in the majors, and they ranked 10th in the league in stolen base attempts (105 with a 73.3% success rate) and 13th in hit-and-runs (70).

In his third season as the Astros’ skipper, Hinch’s team won 101 games (just one win shy of setting a new franchise record for single-season victories), its first AL West title and its first AL pennant. A long-time catcher, the 43-year-old doesn’t have much in the way of experience as a manager, but he hasn’t needed it with a group this talented, particularly on offense.

With power all through his lineup, Hinch doesn’t play a lot of small ball: Houston was bottom five in the league in sacrifice hits (just 11 all year). He also rarely if ever went to his bench, with Astros hitters compiling only 65 pinch-hit at-bats on the year, third fewest in the game. He hasn’t tinkered with his lineup much at all in the postseason, staying with a set starting nine save for plugging in Evan Gattis at DH over Carlos Beltran late in the ALCS. That consistency has occasionally been to his detriment, such as leaving Josh Reddick in the second spot through the first six games of the ALCS despite his rightfielder going hitless in all of those contests. Pitching-wise, Hinch has a long leash for starters he trusts, such as Dallas Keuchel or Justin Verlander, but he's far quicker to make moves with the back of his rotation and when his relievers are struggling—something he’s had to deal with a lot throughout the playoffs.

Edge: Dodgers