MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
OK. Let's talk baseball because the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing Game 6 of the World Series tonight. And baseball fans are wondering what thrills these two teams are going to produce next. It has already been a Series filled with home runs and stunning comebacks. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman is in L.A. for the grand finale today or maybe tomorrow. Hey, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi. How are you?
KELLY: I'm well and glad to have you with us although a little jealous of your assignment.
KELLY: I'm going to set the stage by reminding people that the game tonight follows this 13-12 win on Sunday by Houston. Baseball watchers are calling that one of the greatest World Series games ever - greatest ever? Really, Tom?
GOLDMAN: Pretty close...
GOLDMAN: ...Darn right.
KELLY: OK. So tonight the Astros want this - goes without saying. With a win, they would claim their first-ever championship. But the Dodgers, of course, are back home. So who's your money on going into tonight's game?
GOLDMAN: Oh. Well, No. 1, I never bet, Mary Louise...
KELLY: (Laughter) Never, never.
GOLDMAN: ...But you know, this isn't too complicated. The Dodgers can't lose tonight, or they are out. Houston can lose and still win the Series in a Game 7. You know, and this has to give the Astros an extra layer of relaxation. But you don't want to be too relaxed and figure, hey, we got this because all the pressure's on the Dodgers. And so Houston has to keep this edge. And to help them do that, the manager of the Astros, A.J. Hinch, has been urging his players to think back to when the Astros were down 3-2 in the American League Championship Series and the determination they had to win that series, which they did. He wants players to know the Dodgers are feeling that same determination, and beware a determined team.
KELLY: I gather one factor tonight is going to be relief pitchers who are tired. They've seen a lot of action. They've been giving up a lot of big runs and hits. How might that play out?
GOLDMAN: You know, hard to say - I would say that both bullpens have shown signs of fatigue. And this is partly why balls are flying out of the ballparks at a record rate. So we will have to see how many relievers are used and how effective they are or aren't.
KELLY: And part of that balls flying out - do you to tell us about the controversy over juiced balls?
GOLDMAN: Well, we're not quite sure that they are juiced balls. I mean, everyone always loves to talk about juiced balls. But there is - Sports Illustrated came out with an article a couple of days ago that said the balls used in the World Series actually are slicker than the balls they use in the regular season. And this can, in fact, affect certain kind of pitches, like the slider. So - but the thing is it's kind of affected both teams, pitchers on both sides. And so at this point, I think we can say it's not a conspiracy theory. No one is gaining an advantage at this point.
KELLY: All right. Thanks so much, Tom.
GOLDMAN: You're welcome.
KELLY: That's NPR's Tom Goldman gearing up for the action tonight in Los Angeles.
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