World Series Preview: Houston Astros vs Washington Nationalsby Daniel Corrigan October 22, 2019
Daniel Corrigan | October 22nd, 2019
The Fall Classic is finally upon us. The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals will face off in this year’s World Series. This is the second time in three years for the Astros and the first-ever appearance by the Washington Nationals. The Astros finished off the Yankees in six games in the ALCS and the Nationals swept their way past the Cardinals in the NLCS.
|Game 1||Nationals at Astros||Tuesday, Oct. 22||8:08 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Game 2||Nationals at Astros||Wednesday, Oct. 23||8:07 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Game 3||Astros at Nationals||Friday, Oct. 25||8:07 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Game 4||Astros at Nationals||Saturday, Oct. 26||8:07 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Game 5*||Astros at Nationals||Sunday, Oct. 27||8:07 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Game 6*||Nationals at Astros||Tuesday, Oct. 29||8:07 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Game 7*||Nationals at Astros||Wednesday, Oct. 30||8:08 p.m. ET||Fox|
The Washington Nationals:
The Nationals were left for dead in May when they were 19-31 with a 0.01% chance of winning the World Series. Behind their deep starting rotation and the emergence of Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto, the Nationals won the pennant and are now going up against the monster in the American League.
The Nationals feature a starting rotation that has Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and Anibal Sanchez. Scherzer (Led NL in FIP 2.45, K/9 12.7, and K/BB 7.36) is a three-time (might be a four-time,) Cy Young Award winner. He has been consistently dominating throughout his entire career. Strasburg (Led NL in wins 18 and IP 209) is a former number one overall pick. He has had a very good career and has even had a big “bounce-back” year. He always seems close to breaking into the Cy Young candidate that he is, and he now has his shot to shine in the World Series. In the NLCS, Sanchez took a no-hitter through 7.2 IP. The next day, Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh. The only other time that this has happened in playoff baseball history was in the 2013 ALCS when Scherzer and Sanchez did it the first time while members of the Detriot Tigers.
It’s safe to say that the Nationals will rely on their deep rotation to deliver them the World Championship. If they continue to be as dominant as they have been throughout the whole postseason, they have a fighting chance.
The biggest problem all season for the Nationals was their bullpen. Daniel Hudson has been very solid since being inserted into a closer role. I would say that Sean Doolittle is their best talent, especially since he throws a lot of strikes only allowing 15 BB in 60 IP. The Nationals have a chance to help with baseball history. If Fernando Rodney gets an appearance in this World Series, he will have pitched in the AL/NL Wildcard, ALDS/NLDS. ALCS/NLCS, and will have appeared in the World Series for both an NL and AL team. But Rodney is a complete adventure. If all goes according to plan, the Nationals will not have to rely on their bullpen too much. The bullpen will also feature Hunter Strickland, Tanner Rainey, and Wander Suero, who have all had postseason struggles but were not relied upon much in the NLCS.
The Nationals were 2nd in the NL in runs (873) and OPS (.796.) They have a sneaky good lineup. Nowhere near the talent the Astros have but have had some timely clutch hits to will themselves to the World Series. They are led by NL MVP candidate Anthony Rendon and young superstar Juan Soto. Mr. National, Ryan Zimmerman, has been a wonderful story this postseason. He’s had clutch hits, played great defense, and has that calming influence which comes from being a 15-year veteran, all with the Nationals. Trea Turner is solid in the field and is your leadoff hitter. Howie Kendrick came up huge in the NLDS with a game-five grand slam against his old team. The question will be who is the catcher? Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki are both decent but Gomes is the more talented behind the plate. The Nationals will have to rely on timely hits and smart baserunning to beat the heavily-favored Astros.
How The Nationals Will Win:
If the rotation continues to be sharp and the lineup continues to get clutch hits. It’s almost like they have to have everything go according to plan. Unlike the Astros, if something goes wrong, the Nationals don’t have a backup plan.
The Houston Astros:
The Astros have arguably the best rotation in baseball. Gerrit Cole (Led AL in ERA 2.50, FIP 2.64, ERA+ 185, K/9 13.8, and Ks 326) will be the Cy Young winner for the AL. His teammate, Justin Verlander (Led AL in Wins 21, IP 223, WHIP 0.803, and K/BB 7.14) will be the runner-up for the Cy Young. Even with a poor postseason, Zack Greinke is one of the biggest pitching names in baseball. After this, it’s a little shaky, but Brad Peacock is decent. It is still up in the air if game four will be a bullpen game or not, but the Nationals have their hands full with their first three starters.
The Astros will roll with a bullpen featuring Roberto Osuna, Hector Rondon, and Will Harris. The Astors are still waiting on the news if Ryan Pressly will be available to pitch in the World Series. The bullpen shouldn’t be relied upon much in the first three games but will need to be ready for a bullpen game this series. Wade Miley was left off the ALCS roster and is their only lefty. I would be shocked if he was not on the roster just for righty-lefty matchup scenarios.
Where do we start? How about Alex Bregman, who could very well steal the MVP from Mike Trout (he won’t, but he was still awesome this season.) Bregman hit 41 home runs this season with a slash line of .296/.423/.592/1.015. Behind him is ALCS hero Jose Altuve. He hit a walk-off home run against the Yankees in game six to send them back to the World Series. Oh yeah, this lineup also features George Springer, Carlos Correa, Michael Brantley, and Josh Reddick. Yordan Alvarez will be the AL rookie of the year but had a terrible ALCS. Going 1-22 with 12 strikeouts in his first taste of postseason action. He will be in the lineup for the first two games, but once they head to an NL ballpark with no DH he may be limited to a pinch-hitting role.
How the Astros Will Win:
Just play your game. They are much more talented than the Nationals. If the pitching can hold, and the offense continues to be hot, they should have no problem.
Prediction: Astros in Seven
This may be generous. I love this Nationals team a lot. I can’t wait to hear Baby Shark during the World Series. I just think the Astros are too much for the Nationals to handle. The lineup of the Astros will be the biggest factor. Both teams have great pitching staffs, the Astros are just too talented.
Questions and comments?
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images