2019 World Series

From BR Bullpen

2019 World Series
Washington Nationals logo
2019 World Series logo
Houston Astros logo
Washington Nationals
93 - 69 in the NL
4 - 3
Series Summary
Houston Astros
107 - 55 in the AL

Overview[edit]

The match-up in the 2019 World Series was unprecedented as the Washington Nationals were making their first appearance, becoming the penultimate franchise to make a maiden appearance in the Fall Classic, with only the Seattle Mariners yet to do so. Their opponents the Houston Astros were not habitués of the event either, making their just their third appearance, but given they had won the Series only two years earlier and had been outstanding from the get-go this year, they were heavily favored. However, upon closer look, the match-up was more balanced than would have seemed, as the Nationals had played outstanding baseball from May onward, after a dreadful start that almost cost manager Dave Martinez his job, and both teams featured tremendous starting rotations that could shut down any opposing offense.

It turned out to be a very weird in that the visiting team won all seven games, something that was completely unprecedented, with the Washington Nationals ending up winners, bringing the Nation's capital its first World Series title since 1924. In addition, most of the anticipated great pitching match-ups fizzled, with either of the two top-rank starters not delivering the goods. But one of the starting pitchers did everything that was expected of him, Washington's Stephen Strasburg, who was named the winner of the World Series Most Valuable Player Award thanks to two superb winning starts.

The Teams[edit]

Astros The Astros had run away with the AL West title - their third straight - by winning a franchise record 107 games during the regular season and posting the best record in baseball, before being challenged more than expected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series. They had then got past the New York Yankees for the second time in three years in the ALCS thanks to some solid starting pitching and a couple of walk-off homers, including one in the clinching Game 6.

The strength of the Astros was a starting rotation led by co-aces Justin Verlander (21-6) and Gerrit Cole (20-5), both 20-game winners and authors of seasons of 300 strikeouts; they were expected to finish 1-2 in the Cy Young Award voting, although it wasn't clear who would come out on top. Not satisfied with these two, the Astros had gone and acquired a couple more solid starters at the trading deadline, in Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 and 8-1 for Houston) and Aaron Sanchez, although the latter had suffered a season-ending injury and was not available. So the one weakness was the fourth spot, if needed, where it was likely that manager A.J. Hinch would use a bullpen game focused on the likes of Brad Peacock (7-6, 4.12), Josh James (5-1, 4.70) and Jose Urquidy (2-1, 3.95). In the bullpen, closer Roberto Osuna (4-3, 2.63, 38 SV) had been generally solid but was not immune to the occasional cough-up, as had been the case in the 9th inning of Game 6 of the ALCS, and Will Harris (4-1, 1.50) was one of the best middle relievers in the game. However, Ryan Pressly (2-3, 2.32), the other set-up man, had been felled by injuries during the season, and had had another flare-up in Game 6 of the ALCS, leaving him doubtful. As a result, Hinch was looking for his starting pitchers to pitch deep into the game, to minimize the amount of innings left over for the bullpen.

At the plate, the Astros had an MVP candidate in 3B Alex Bregman (.296, 37 2B, 41 HR, 122 R, 112 RBI), although he had had a quiet postseason so far as teams were pitching around him. But he was far from the only threat: lead-off hitter George Springer (.292, 39 HR, 96 HR) could beat you with speed or power; LF Michael Brantley (.311, 40 2B, 22 HR) was an outstanding pure line drive hitter; 2B Jose Altuve (.298, 27 2B, 31 HR), the ALCS MVP was one of the more complete players in the game; 1B Yuli Gurriel (.298, 31 HR, 104 RBI) had been the top run producer in the majors for a two-month stint in the second half of the season; DH Yordan Alvarez (.313, 27 HR, 78 RBI), the leading contender for the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year Award, had tremendous power even if he had gone into hibernation in the previous postseason round; and SS Carlos Correa (.279, 21 HR, 59 RBI in just 75 games) was another complete player who could beat you in all sorts of ways. The bottom of the order was a bit of a respite in comparison, but both catchers - Robinson Chirinos and Martin Maldonado - could hit the occasional home run and OFs Jake Marisnick and Josh Reddick were very solid defenders who were not automatic outs.

Nationals The Nationals were famously 19-31 on May 23rd and had already fired their pitching coach and were on the verge of doing the same to manager Dave Martinez before they turned things around and played as well as anyone over the last four months of the season, finishing at 93-69. Their poor start meant that they had had to go through the Wild Card Game to start the postseason. They managed to come back from a late-game deficit to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers, then had a couple more dramatic comebacks to upset the heavily-favored Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the Division Series. However, they had cruised through the NLCS, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in four games in which they never trailed, buoyed by some outstanding starting pitching. This had exorcised a history of poor postseason performances since moving to Washington, DC in 2005. They were considered underdogs for the World Series, but had been there before.

The Nationals had an MVP candidate of their own in 3B Anthony Rendon, who had led the National League with 126 RBIs and was a complete player, with 44 doubles, 34 homers and a .319 average. The lead-off tandem of SS Trea Turner .298, 37 2B, 19 HR) and RF Adam Eaton (.279, 103 R) featured outstanding contact hitting and speed, while the two other OFs, Juan Soto (34 HR, 110 R and 110 RBI) and Victor Robles ((86 R, 33 2B, 17 HR), had put up numbers belying their young age - they were 20 and 22, respectively. 2B/1B Howie Kendrick was coming off his best season with the bat at 35 (.344, 17 HR, 62 RBI) and having just been named the NLCS MVP, he was sure to be playing somewhere. Another grizzled veteran, 1B Ryan Zimmerman, was also enjoying an excellent postseason after not being a starter during the regular season, and the team had a number of candidates to play DH in power-hitting Matt Adams and Brian Dozier, who had both hit 20 HRs. The two catchers, Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki, were there more for their glove than their bat, but both had driven in some key runs in the run-up to the World Series.

But the team's real strength was on the mound, where they could match the Astros with their own tandem of aces in Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92, 243 K) and Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32, 251 K), and then go two deeper with Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.25, 238 K) and Anibal Sanchez (11-8, 3.85). Like the Astros, these men were expected to pitch deep in the game, but given they were four, there was also a chance that they could be asked to get a few key outs out of the bullpen at some point. The bullpen had been a sore point for the Nationals all season, but they had managed to patch the leaks by adding Daniel Hudson (3-0, 1.44, 6 SV) in an under-the-radar deal at the trading deadline. The veteran had pitched very well and earned the closer's designation, moving Sean Doolittle (6-5, 4.05, 29 SV) to set-up man and giving the Nats a solid pair to pitch the final two innings. The rest of the staff included question marks, like ageless Fernando Rodney (0-3, 4.05), equally capable of striking out the side or melting down completely, youngster Tanner Rainey (2-3, 3.91), and hard-throwing Hunter Strickland (2-0, 5.14), known more for his propensity to give up the gopher ball than for his success in retiring opposing batters.

Umpires[edit]

Jim Wolf served as the replay umpire for Games 1 and 2, then switched places with Alan Porter. Jerry Meals was the replay assistant. Porter, Eddings, Hoye and Barksdale were are working their first World Series.

Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Starters Time (ET)
1 Washington Nationals 5 Houston Astros 4 October 22 Max Scherzer (1-0) Gerrit Cole (0-1) 8:00 pm
2 Washington Nationals 12 Houston Astros 3 October 23 Stephen Strasburg (1-0) Justin Verlander (0-1) 8:00 pm
3 Houston Astros 4 Washington Nationals 1 October 25 Zack Greinke (0-0) Anibal Sanchez (0-1) 8:00 pm
4 Houston Astros 8 Washington Nationals 1 October 26 Jose Urquidy (1-0) Patrick Corbin (0-1) 8:00 pm
5 Houston Astros 7 Washington Nationals 1 October 27 Gerrit Cole (1-1) Joe Ross (0-1) 8:00 pm
6 Washington Nationals 7 Houston Astros 2 October 29 Stephen Strasburg (2-0) Justin Verlander (0-2) 8:00 pm
7 Washington Nationals 6 Houston Astros 2 October 30 Max Scherzer (1-0) Zack Greinke (0-0) 8:00 pm

Results[edit]

Game 1 @ Minute Maid Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Nationals 0 1 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 5 9 0
Astros 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 4 10 0
WP: Max Scherzer (1-0); LP: Gerrit Cole (0-1); SV: Sean Doolittle (1)
Home Runs: WAS - Ryan Zimmerman (1), Juan Soto (1); HOU - George Springer (1)
  • Attendance: 43,339

Game 1 was billed as a pitcher's duel for the ages, with Max Scherzer facing Gerrit Cole, but neither pitcher was dominant that evening, and each had a tougher time than usual. In fact, Cole suffered his first defeat since May as he was victimized by a number of key hits by the Nationals, including a couple of homers, giving them enough runs to hold on for a 5-4 win even though Scherzer was only able to give them 5 innings, victim of a high pitch count. The Astros used their normal line-up, with Martin Maldonado catching, while the Nationals decided to have Howie Kendrick be the DH, with Asdrubal Cabrera taking over at second base. The ceremonial first pitch was the work of the two catchers from the Astros' 2017 World Series win, Brian McCann and Evan Gattis. Before the game, a tribute was paid to umpire Eric Cooper, who had died suddenly on October 20th after working the Division Series only a few days earlier.

Trea Turner opened the game with an infield single against Cole that SS Carlos Correa fielded but was unable to turn into an out. He then stole second base on the next pitch, but Adam Eaton failed in his attempt to lay down a bunt, and Turner was stranded as Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto both struck out. For the Astros, George Springer set the tone by drawing a lead-off walk as Scherzer had a lot of trouble throwing strikes consistently. Jose Altuve singled on the next pitch, then after Michael Brantley struck out, Scherzer threw a wild pitch that allowed Springer to advance to third. Scherzer struck out Alex Bregman as well, but Altuve stole second base on the third strike, putting him in scoring position as well, and Yuli Gurriel drove in both runners with a double to left. Scherzer then struck out Correa to end the inning, but Houston was ahead, 2-0. With two outs in the 2nd, Ryan Zimmerman cut the lead in half with a homer to center field, giving a sign that this would be a contested game. It was fitting that it was the player with the longest service time for Washington who hit the franchise's first-ever World Series homer. Scherzer found more trouble in the bottom of the inning as he again walked the lead-off batter, Yordan Alvarez this time, but he then managed to retire the next three batters. There was no scoring in the 3rd, but both teams stranded runners, one by the Nationals and two by the Astros.

The Nationals tied the game in the 4th when Juan Soto became the fourth-youngest player in World Series history to hit a home run, with a very long drive to opposite field in left center that landed on the railroad tracks well above the field. Meanwhile, Scherzer continued to pitch out of trouble, as he placed two more runners on base before getting Altuve to hit a grounder to 1B Zimmerman to end the inning. He was now nearing 100 pitches after just four innings, so it was clear he would not last much longer. The 5th was the key inning, as Cole continued to allow baserunners, and this led to serious consequences. Kurt Suzuki drew a lead-off walk and Victor Robles followed with a single. Suzuki advanced to third on a fly out by Turner, then scored on a single by Eaton, giving Washington the lead for the first time. Rendon then hit a grounder to third, but the Astros were unable to turn a double play, as Robles advanced to third with two outs. Robles and Rendon then both scored on a hard-hit double by Soto that banged against the left-field wall out of Brantley's reach. It was now 5-2. Kendrick followed with another hard-hit ball, but Correa made a beautiful diving play to snag the line drive, saving another possible run. Scherzer then gave it all he had left in the tank in the bottom of the 5th, retiring the Astros in order for the only time and ending his night's work having needed 112 pitches to get through 5 innings.

Cole came back to pitch the 6th and also set down the Nats in order, with the help of a double play grounder by Zimmerman. Patrick Corbin, penciled in as the Game 3 starter, came out to pitch the 6th and gave manager Dave Martinez a good inning, getting a couple of strikeouts around a single by Alvarez - his third time on base in the game already, a sign that his struggles in the ALCS were behind him - before Aledmys Diaz, pinch-hitting for RF Josh Reddick, grounded out to second base. After another solid inning by Cole, youngster Tanner Rainey was tagged to pitch the bottom of the 7th for Washington and immediately surrendered a solo homer to Springer, cutting the lead to 5-3. It was a record fifth straight World Series game in which Springer had gone deep. He then walked Brantley and Bregman after one out and gave way to Daniel Hudson, normally the closer. Gurriel popped up to second for an infield fly, but Correa hit an infield single to load the bases before Alvarez struck out in a key situation. Will Harris took over for Cole in the top of the 8th and allowed a single to Soto, who stole second with two outs, but Cabrera struck out to end the inning. In the bottom of the 8th, Kyle Tucker batted for Maldonado and hit a lead-off single then moved to second on a fly out by Diaz. Springer followed with a double that was just inches from the top of the fence, Tucker scored and Houston had now cut the lead to one run, 5-4, with the tying run on second base. However, Hudson got Altuve to line out to right, then Sean Doolittle took over and retired Brantley, also on a fly ball, to end the inning. In the 9th, Joe Smith retired the Nationals in order and Doolittle came back to close out the win. He did this mechanically, striking out Bregman, getting Gurriel to fly out to center, and Correa to line out to Robles. The Nationals were up, one game to none.

Game 2 @ Minute Maid Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Nationals 2 0 0 0 0 0 6 3 1 12 14 2
Astros 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 9 1
WP: Stephen Strasburg (1-0); LP: Justin Verlander (0-1)
Home Runs: HOU - Alex Bregman (1), Martin Maldonado (1); WAS - Kurt Suzuki (1), Adam Eaton (1), Michael Taylor (1)
  • Attendance: 43,357

Game 2 was like a play in three acts: Act I, the 1st inning, was full of sound of fury, as both of the ace pitchers allowed two runs; then Act II, from the 2nd to the 6th inning, was a quiet one, with the pitchers taking over and shutting down the opposition's batters; Act III provided the dénouement with an explosion by the Nationals, who scored 9 runs over the final 3 innings to run away with game and put the Astros in a deep hole. On the mound, it was another battle of Cy Young Award candidates, with Justin Verlander facing Stephen Strasburg, and the only change in the starting line-ups was Robinson Chirinos, who had been Verlander's personal catcher all season, subbing for Martin Maldonado. The ceremonial first pitch was made by world champion gymnast and Houston native Simone Biles, who performed a back flip before throwing the ball.

As had been the case throughout the postseason, the 1st inning was a wild one, as both teams got to the opposite pitcher before he could find his groove. For Washington, Trea Turner led off with a walk and Adam Eaton followed with a single to left. Anthony Rendon then hit with a double high off the left-center field fence which took a long bounce back towards the infield, allowing both runners to score easily. No one was out, and the Nationals already had a 2-0 lead, but they could not build on it, as Verlander retired the next three batters, two of them by strikeout. It was then Strasburg's turn to be served a dose of that same medicine, as after striking out George Springer, he gave up a double to Jose Altuve. Altuve tried to catch the defense napping by breaking for third base, and it took a perfect throw by C Kurt Suzuki to get him, but it worked and it looked like Houston had squandered its chance to close the gap. But Michael Brantley followed with a single on a full count, and Alex Bregman absolutely crushed an off-speed pitch from Strasburg for a no-doubt two-run homer, and the two teams were back on even ground.

After those early fireworks, the game settled down for the next five innings. Both pitchers pitched like the aces they were, limiting traffic on the bases and stranding the few runners who did manage to get on board. The Astros started something in the 3rd when SS Turner bobbled a ground ball by Altuve and his rushed throw pulled 1B Ryan Zimmerman off the bag for an error, then Brantley singled to move him to third, but this happened with two outs and Strasburg was able to get Bregman to hit into a force out to end the inning, although he expended a lot of pitches. In the 6th, as Strasburg's pitch count was rising past the magical 100 mark, Yuli Gurriel hit a one-out double and Yordan Alvarez was issued an intentional walk after Strasburg fell behind 2-0 in the count. But Carlos Correa hit a soft pop-up to 2B Asdrubal Cabrera and pinch-hitter Kyle Tucker struck out to end the inning after a long battle, so after 6 innings, it was still 2-2 and Strasburg's night was done.

Verlander came back to pitch the 7th, but for the first time all season, he was not pitching to Chirinos, who had been pinch-hit for by Tucker, and Maldonado put on the tools of ignorance. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but on the second pitch of the inning, Suzuki hit a long home run to left center, and suddenly the Astros could not do anything right. Verlander walked Victor Robles and gave way to Ryan Pressly, who walked Turner in turn. Eaton advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt and Rendon hit a fly ball to short center for the second out. The Astros had been the first team not to issue an intentional walk during an entire season, following a deliberate strategy based on statistical analysis that made it clear that the strategy had a greater downside than upside; they broke with that rule now, giving a free pass to Juan Soto to load the bases, and it completely exploded in their faces. Howie Kendrick hit an infield single that ate up 3B Bregman to drive in a run, then Cabrera singled as well to send home two more. Pressly then threw a wild pitch to advance the remaining two runners 90 feet and Zimmerman singled to drive both of them in for an 8-2 lead. Josh James now came in for Pressly, but it was like closing the proverbial barn door after the horse had escaped. He got Suzuki to ground out, but Houston was in a deep, deep hole.

With that big lead, Dave Martinez had no qualms about sending in erratic Fernando Rodney, the oldest player in the majors, to pitch. Mind you, Rodney had been warming up in the 6th already, but he likely would have been summoned only if Strasburg had already lost control of the inning. But there was no need to worry now; Rodney did walk lead-off man Josh Reddick, but the next three batters made outs. In the 8th, Washington added more runs when Robles struck out but reached on a passed ball by Maldonado, then Eaton homered after one out. After a second out, Soto walked and Kendrick singled, prompting A.J. Hinch to call on the lowest man in the bullpen pecking order, Hector Rondon, who justified his lowly status by allowing a run-scoring single to Cabrera before recording the final out. The score was now an ugly 11-2 and the rest of the game was only perfunctory. Tanner Rainey retired the Astros in order in the bottom of the 8th, Chris Devenski allowed a 12th run on a solo homer by defensive substitute Michael Taylor in the top of the 9th, and Maldonado homered on the Nats' own version of Rondon, Javy Guerra, with one out in the bottom of the 9th. Guerra allowed a couple more baserunners before getting Jake Marisnick to ground out for the final out, but the game had been decided long before that. The Nationals were heading home with an unexpected two games to none lead; they also became only the third team to win 8 straight games in a single postseason, dating back to Game 4 of the NLDS.

Game 3 @ Nationals Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Astros 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 4 11 0
Nationals 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 2
WP: Josh James (1-0); LP: Anibal Sanchez (0-1); SV: Roberto Osuna (1)
Home Runs: HOU - Robinson Chirinos (1)
  • Attendance: 43,867

The World Series returned to Washington, DC for the first time since 1933 for Game 3. A capacity crowd clad all in red was hoping for another win that would have put the championship almost in reach, as a third stright loss would have been almost fatal for Houston. On the mound, because Patrick Corbin had been used in relief in Game 1, it was fourth starter Anibal Sanchez on the mound for the Nationals, while Zack Greinke was starting for Houston. Neither starter was particularly sharp, and both teams put a lot of baserunners on in the early innings, but the back-breaking hit never came for either side, so that it turned into a relatively low-scoring game in spite of all the movement on the bases. Still, the Astros were more opportunistic, and their early lead held until the end of the game even in Greinke was unable to complete the mandatory 5 innings to receive credit for the win. The ceremonial first pitch was performed by two veterans from the first edition of the Nationals, dating back to 2005, P Chad Cordero and C Brian Schneider.

The Astros showed that their bats were coming out of their torpor in the 1st inning, even if they failed to score. George Springer led off with a single and Jose Altuve followed by driving a ball to the deepest part of the ballpark, but CF Victor Robles managed to run it down for a spectacular catch negating a potential big inning. Sanchez then managed to get Michael Brantley to fly out, but after Springer stole second base, he struck out Alex Bregman. In the bottom of the inning, Anthony Rendon doubled with two outs but was stranded, the first of 12 runners to be left on base by the Nats that evening. The first run came in the 2nd when Carlos Correa doubled with one out and Josh Reddick followed with a single to left. The inning continued with a single by Robinson Chirinos which advanced Reddick to third. Up next was Greinke, with the DH not in effect, and he laid down a bunt, which advanced Chirinos to second, but Reddick was unable to advance. It seemed that this was a personal initiative, as manager A.J. Hinch did not seem very pleased when Greinke returned to the dugout. Still, Springer had a chance to break the game open, but he grounded out to SS Trea Turner to end the threat. Washington replied with back-to-back singles by Asdrubal Cabrera and Ryan Zimmerman to lead off the bottom of the 2nd, but Greinke struck out Kurt Suzuki and Robles grounded into a double play to end the inning. In the 3rd, the Astros doubled their lead when Altuve doubled to lead off and reached third as LF Juan Soto bobbled the ball in the outfield corner. Brantley followed with a single which deflected off Sanchez to make the score 2-0. Brantley stole second base after two outs, but he was stranded there as the Astros also collected runners left on base, with 10 during the game. In the bottom of the frame, Washington placed two more runners on base with one out, with a single by Turner and a walk to Adam Eaton, but Rendon hit a short fly ball on the next pitch for a second out. Greinke then walked Juan Soto to load the bases, but Greinke struck out Cabrera to end the threat.

After the Astros went down in order in the 4th, a rare occurrence in this game, Washington finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning. Zimmerman led off with a walk and after one out, Robles hit a line drive down the third base line that went all the way to the fence, allowing Zimmerman to score from first and Robles to reach third with a triple. Sanchez was up next, but his attempt to bunt failed and he struck out. It remains to be seen if a bunt could have scored Robles, given there was zero element of surprise. Turner also failed to cash in his teammate, as he hit a soft grounder to Greinke, and the inning ended with the score at 2-1. Both pitchers had need to expend a lot of pitches to get that far, and it was clear that neither would go very deep into the game. But for the time being, they kept at it. In the 5th, Houston increased its lead when Altuve hit his second double of the game after one out and scored on another single by Brantley. But again, they were unable to put up a crooked number even if Yuli Gurriel singled as well after a second out. In the bottom of the inning, Washington again put men on base, a single by Eaton and a double by Cabrera with two outs. That was the last straw for Greinke, who gave way to Josh James who had a tough battle with Zimmerman before striking him out in a key situation. This was the sole batter James would face, but it would earn him the win. Surprisingly, Sanchez returned for the 6th inning, even if the numbers showed clearly that he was very vulnerable when going through the batting order for the third time, and he had labored all night even if he had made a few close escapes. He got Reddick to line out on the first pitch on a great tumbling catch by RF Eaton, but Chirinos got to him next, lining a pitch down the left field line and off the foul pole for a homer. It was now 4-1, Astros. Kyle Tucker pinch hit for James and drew a walk, ending Sanchez's night. Ageless Fernando Rodney came in to pitch, and Tucker stole second base off him, taking third when C Suzuki's thrown ended up in the outfield. Rodney then completed a walk to Springer, as once again Houston was threatening to break the game open. But Rodney managed to extricate himself, even if Springer then stole second base, the fourth stolen base of the night for the Astros. With the infield playing in, Altuve hit a ball straight at 3B Rendon, who threw home to retire Tucker in a rundown. Altuve made it to second on the play, which led to an intentional walk to Brantley, but with the bases loaded, Bregman hit into a force out and once again, the Nats escaped by allowing just one run.

The scenario continued in the bottom of the 6th, with Brad Peacock now on the mound for Houston. Gerardo Parra pinch-hit for Suzuki, giving the crowd a chance to sing his walk-up song, the children's ditty "Baby Shark" that somehow had gone viral and become a symbol of the team's success. However, he did not go full Hollywood, as he struck out, but Robles followed with a walk, then with Matt Adams pinch-hitting for Rodney, he stole second base. Adams worked another walk and once again the Nationals had the tying run at the plate. Will Harris was called in to face Turner, who fouled a ball off a very sensitive part of his anatomy before striking out, then Eaton grounded out to third for yet another wasted opportunity. In the 7th, Joe Ross came out to pitch, his first appearance of the postseason. He was solid, getting the Astros in order, but so did Harris in his half of the inning. In the 8th, Ross gave up a two-out single to Springer, but nothing else. For Houston, it was Joe Smith's turn to take the mound, and while he gave up a one-out single to Howie Kendrick, pinch-hitting for Ross, he kept the Nats from scoring. In the 9th, another of the Nats' low-leverage pitchers, Wander Suero, gave the team a clean inning, setting up an appearance by Astros' closer Roberto Osuna in the bottom of the 9th. He gave up a one-out single to Eaton, but Rendon then popped out to the catcher and Soto struck out to end the game. The Astros were back in the series.

Game 4 @ Nationals Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Astros 2 0 0 2 0 0 4 0 0 8 13 1
Nationals 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 4 0
WP: Jose Urquidy (1-0); LP: Patrick Corbin (0-1)
Home Runs: HOU - Robinson Chirinos (2), Alex Bregman (2)
  • Attendance: 43,889

The Astros had to make a decision before Game 4 concerning their starting pitcher: go back to Game 1 starter Gerrit Cole on short rest, or try someone else in the hope it would would enough to keep them in the game, and then have their three aces ready on normal rest for the remainder of the series. A.J. Hinch settled on the second option, asking rookie Jose Urquidy to take the mound and hoping for the best. And the best was what he got, as Urquidy was superb, giving him five masterful scoreless innings and leaving with a solid 4-0 lead, which turned into a final score of 8-1 by taking advantage of a bunch of walks by Nationals relievers in the 7th. Meanwhile, Dave Martinez had no such dilemma, as Patrick Corbin was ready to go, but while he pitched 6 innings, they weren't particularly solid. Both teams made small changes to their starting line-ups, Hinch deciding to load his batting order with righthanders against the lefthanded Corbin by substituting Josh Reddick with Jake Marisnick; for his part Martinez was forced to start Yan Gomes behind the plate because of a hip injury sustained by Kurt Suzuki the previous night, while Howard Kendrick took over for Asdrubal Cabrera at second base. Washington Senators legend Frank Howard threw the ceremonial first pitch.

The Astros set the tone of the game in the 1st inning, as they got to Corbin quickly. It took the Nats starter all he had to strike out lead-off man George Springer after a long battle, but on the next pitch Jose Altuve singled and two pitches later Michael Brantley did as well to create immediate trouble. Again on the first pitch, Alex Bregman singled, scoring Altuve and advancing Bradley to third. Yuli Gurriel then hit a sharp grounder down the third base line that looked like a sure double, but 3B Anthony Rendon made a superb diving stop, although he could not throw anyone out. Brantley scored to make it 2-0. Corbin then walked Carlos Correa to load the bases and was on the verge of collapse, but Rendon again saved his skin when he started a double play on a sharp grounder by Robinson Chirinos, tagging third base himself to force out Gurriel and throwing out the slow-footed Chirinos at first. The Nats had escaped potential disaster, but now had to play catch-up ball. Urquidy was not one to cooperate however. He retired the first two batters in the bottom of the 1st quickly, both on pop-ups in foul territory, and after Rendon singled, got Juan Soto to line out to Bregman at third base. He had needed just 11 pitches, and then retired the Nationals in order in the 2nd as well, demonstrating that he was not fazed in the slightest by the magnitude of the stage. Corbin settled down for the next two innings, while Urquidy stranded Gomes who had led off the 3rd with a double. So in spite of Houston's strong start, the score was still just 2-0 after 3 innings.

The Astros began to walk away with the win in the 4th when they doubled their lead before making an out as Correa walked and for the second straight night, Chirinos hit a homer, a ball that easily cleared the left-field fence. Marisnick followed with a single, stole second base with one out and reached third on a ground out by Springer. Altuve then tried to surprise the Nats by bunting for a base hit, and it almost worked, but Corbin made a good play, fielding the ball and barely throwing out Altuve at first base, preventing a fifth run. Meanwhile, Urquidy was still cruising, getting another 1-2-3 inning against the heart of the order in the bottom of the inning. In the 5th, CF Victor Robles made a nice diving catch to rob Brantley of a potential lead-off hit, and both teams went down in order. That inning ended Urquidy's night with a great line, as in 5 innings he had given up just 2 hits, not walked anyone, and struck out four. Meanwhile, Corbin was still on the mound in the 6th, and again received help from his fielders with 2B Kendrick and CF Robles both making excellent catches off line drives to record the first two outs, before he struck out Marisnick. His night was done as well, but he had allowed 7 hits and 2 walks in his 6 innings, leading to 4 runs. Still, the Nationals were not out of the game, and almost managed to come back against the Astros' bullpen in the bottom of the 6th. The first man called up was Josh James, but he struggled with his control, walking pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra and Adam Eaton around a strikeout of Trea Turner. Hinch quickly called in Will Harris to snuff out the threat, but on his first pitch, Rendon lined a ball off his leg to load the bases with one out. Soto was up next. He also swung at the first pitch, but hit it straight at 1B Gurriel, who took the sure out at first base. Parra scored, but there were now two outs. Up next was Kendrick, and he couldn't put the ball in play, striking out to end the inning. The Nationals had had their chance, but had only managed to make the score 4-1.

Having had a scare the previous inning, the Astros worked on putting the ballgame out of reach in the 7th. With a nervous Tanner Rainey on the mound, who was throwing hard but missing his spots, pinch-hitter Kyle Tucker and Springer both drew walks, the latter on a pitch that was very borderline and could easily have been called strike three. Tucker was running on that pitch, and did not have a great jump, so what could easily have been a "strike 'em out, throw 'em out" double play turned into two men on with nobody out. Altuve then followed with a fly ball to shallow center for the first out. Substituting experience for youth, Martinez brought in veteran Fernando Rodney with the hope he would mimic what Harris had just done, but Brantley dropped a single to center to load the bases. Up next was Bregman, who had been relatively quiet in the series, apart from a monster home run in Game 2. To his credit, Rodney made a good pitch, a breaking ball that was low and inside, but Bregman somehow managed to not only get good wood on it, but drive it down the left field line just fair for a grand slam. The score was now 8-1, and the game was for all practical purposes over. That is why Martinez left Rodney in to pitch, even though he was obviously shaken and his pitches were now all over the place. He walked both Gurriel and Correa before Chirinos hit a grounder to Rendon that forced out Gurriel for the second out. Rodney then walked Marisnick as well and Tucker came up again for the second time of the inning with the bases again loaded. Mercifully, Martinez took Rodney out of the game and Wander Suero got to record the third out by striking out Tucker. Another sign that both sides were now looking ahead to Game 5 was that the next pitcher to take the mound for Houston was Hector Rondon, a man normally kept as far away as possible from any critical situation by manager Hinch. Even Hinch thought that Rondon could do no serious damage with a seven-run lead. This was tested as he put two runners on while recording two outs, forcing Hinch to ask Brad Peacock to pitch before finding out if Rondon could actually sabotage such a huge lead. Peacock got Turner to ground out to end the inning, with both Gurriel, with the ball, and Turner diving simultaneously for the bag, but Gurriel winning the sliding race by a few inches. The final two innings were played just for the record. With second-tier relievers on the mound, there were plenty of baserunners, but no scoring. The series was now tied, as the visiting team had won all four games. A three-game sprint would determine the winner.

Game 5 @ Nationals Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Astros 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 2 7 10 0
Nationals 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 0
WP: Gerrit Cole (1-1); LP: Joe Ross (0-1)
Home Runs: HOU - Yordan Alvarez (1), Carlos Correa (1), George Springer (2); WAS - Juan Soto (2)
  • Attendance: 43,910

The Nationals got some very bad news a couple of hours before the scheduled start of Game 5 when they learned that ace Max Scherzer would not be able to take his turn on the mound because of neck stiffness. Joe Ross was asked to make the emergency start, only two days after pitching a couple of innings in relief in Game 3. He was matched up against Gerrit Cole, who was unlikely to repeat the poor performance he had given in Game 1, so things lokked very gloomy for Nationals fans. The Astros made a couple of changes to their line-up, with Yordan Alvarez inserted in the outfield in place of the struggling Josh Reddick, and Martin Maldonado getting the start behind the plate even though Robinson Chirinos had homered in the last two games. Washington kept its line-up from Game 4. President Donald Trump attended the game and was heartily booed when shown on the video screen, but he did not throw the ceremonial first pitch (keeping up his record of never having done so since taking office); instead, it was one of his vocal opponents, chef Jose Andres, who had distinguished himself with his efforts to provide relief to Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2018 among other charitable work, who did the honors, to a rousing ovation.

As had been the case in Game 4 George Springer started off the game with a long at-bat, but this time he drew a walk. However, on the next pitch, Jose Altuve grounded into a double play, granting Ross a reprieve. He then retired Michael Brantley on a grounder to second and for once the 1st inning went off without fireworks as Cole retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the frame. The 2nd inning was a different story, however. Yuli Gurriel hit an infield single with one out and Alvarez made his manager look like a genius by blasting a line drive to center field. The only question was whether it had enough height to clear the fence, as it was hit plenty hard enough; it did, and the Astros were up, 2-0. But the Nationals had a chance to get back into the game immediately as Juan Soto and Howie Kendrick led off the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles, with Soto reaching third base. However, Ryan Zimmerman struck out and Victor Robles grounded into a double play and the opportunity was squandered, as Washington continued with its complete inability to get a hit with runners in scoring position ever since the series had moved to its home ballpark.

After a quiet 3rd inning, the Astros struck a killer blow in the 4th when Alvarez singled with two outs and Carlos Correa followed with another two-run homer, this one to left field. It was now 4-0, and Gerrit Cole was pitching like a Cy Young Award contender again, so things looked extremely bleak for the home side. Indeed, Cole shut them down completely until the 7th inning. Ross left after 5 innings, a valiant effort on his part, and he actually pitched decently, given the circumstances, apart from the two ill-timed long balls. Tanner Rainey took over in the 6th and was not plagued by wildness this time, getting a 1-2-3 inning, then Sean Doolittle took over in the 7th. Cole was the final out in the top of the 7th, manager A.J. Hinch electing to let him bat given he was having a very good night on the mound. He did give up a solo homer to Soto with one out in the bottom of the 7th, but was allowed to finish the inning, ending his night with 3 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings, with 9 strikeouts and just 1 run allowed - a typical performance for him that would result in a win. Daniel Hudson took the mound for Washington in the 8th, but it was not one of his better days: he gave up a lead-off double to Springer and with two outs, Gurriel singled him in, then in the 9th Maldonado singled with one out and Springer homered to left with two outs to make the final score 7-1. Wander Suero came in to record the final out, while for Houston Joe Smith pitched the 8th and Ryan Pressly the 9th, with nothing significant to report. For the fifth straight game, the visiting team had come out on top, and the momentum had completely turned around: the series was headed back to Houston with the Astros once again prohibitive favorites to win a second championship in three years.

Game 6 @ Minute Maid Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Nationals 1 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 2 7 9 0
Astros 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 0
WP: Stephen Strasburg (2-0); LP: Justin Verlander (0-2)
Home Runs: HOU - Alex Bregman (3); WAS - Adam Eaton (2), Juan Soto (3), Anthony Rendon (1)
  • Attendance: 43,384

Game 6 was a rematch of Game 2, on the same turf, with the same two starting pitchers, but now with the Nationals in a must-win situation. They received good news before the game when Max Scherzer threw some warm-up tosses without feeling any pain, and declared himself available to pitch Game 7 if it came to that. But before that, Stephen Strasburg would have to again win his duel against Justin Verlander, who in spite of his brilliant career that was likely to land him a spot in Cooperstown, had never won a World Series start in six attempts. The return of the DH played in Washington's favor, as they were able to put both Howie Kendrick and Asdrubal Cabrera in the starting line-up, whereas for Houston it just meant the return of the struggling Josh Reddick at the bottom of the batting order. The ceremonial first pitch was done by two legendary members of the NBA's Houston Rockets - Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. In the end, it was mission accomplished for Washington, who put an end to the strange batting woes that had affected them in their home ballpark: for a record sixth straight game, the visitors came out on top, 7-2, with Strasburg putting up another strong performance after a shaky 1st inning, forcing a Game 7.

As had become customary this postseason, the 1st inning was a wild one. Trea Turner led off the game with a soft ground ball towards third base; the only play for Alex Bregman was to field the ball bare-handed and throw immediately to Yuli Gurriel at first base. Umpire Jim Wolf initially called Turner out, but the Nationals appealed and a video review confirmed he was safe. Adam Eaton followed with a beautiful bunt down the third base line. This time, it was C Robinson Chirinos who made a nice play, and he did barely throw out Eaton at first base, but Turner was now on second. The next batter, Anthony Rendon, took advantage of a defensive shift by Houston to push a ball into the wide-open gap between first and second base for a single as Turner came in to score the game's first run. Verlander then retired the next two batters, and the Astros immediately went to work on Strasburg. George Springer, continuing his hot hitting, lined a ball into the left field corner that bounced to the wall for a lead-off double. He then advanced to third on a wild pitch and tied the score when Jose Altuve lifted a ball to the warning track in left. After a strikeout of Michael Brantley, Bregman came up and he crushed one of Strasburg's pitches high into the left-field stands for his third homer of the series, giving Houston the lead. Gurriel followed with another well-hit ball, a towering fly ball that barely stayed in the park because it was hit to the recess in the left field wall where Juan Soto caught it with his back to the fence; a few feet to the left and it would have been a homer, but Gurriel was denied by Minute Maid Park's quirky design.

After those initial fireworks, the game settled down as both starters found their groove. Both teams went down in order in the 2nd. In the 3rd, however, Verlander issued back-to-back walks to Eaton and Rendon with two outs, and expended a lot of pitches in the process of getting Soto to ground out to end the inning. Strasburg was much more economical as he reeled off another perfect inning, and in the 4th Verlander again had to labor hard, as he gave up a lead-off single to Kendrick and a walk to Ryan Zimmerman before recording the final two outs. The Astros broke Strasburg's streak of 9 consecutive outs when Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez drew back-to-back walks with two outs, but Carlos Correa struck out swinging to end the threat. The game then turned in the 5th inning. With one out, Eaton tied the score with a homer to right field, making it the second time in the series he had collected both a sacrifice bunt and a homer in the same game; it happened that the previous instance, in Game 2, had been the first time this particular feat had ever been accomplished in the Fall Classic! One out later, it was Soto who stepped on the big stage, absolutely crushing one of Verlander's pitches into the second upper deck in right field, some 403 feet away. Washington was now back in the lead as Verlander was clearly running out of steam. The Astros had a chance to tie up the score immediately as Reddick singled with one out and Springer followed with a double, putting both runners in scoring position. But Altuve was unable to drive them in this time, striking out by flailing wildly at a pitch in the dirt, and Brantley followed with a ground ball to shortstop. After 5 innings, the Nationals were ahead, 3-2, but the game was still anybody's to win.

Brad Peacock replaced Verlander in the top of the 6th and reeled off a perfect inning, striking out a pair. In the bottom of the inning, Houston wasted another chance after a lead-off single by Bregman. On the next pitch, Gurriel hit a grounder to shortstop, forcing out Bregman, but he did manage to beat out the relay to first, avoiding a double play. Alvarez followed with another potential double play ball, but it deflected off Strasburg and Rendon made a head's up play, picking up the loose ball and throwing to second to retire Gurriel. Correa then struck out again, and the score remained at 3-2. The Nats then added to their lead in the 7th, which was marked by what was the most controversial play of the entire Series. It started when Yan Gomes lined a pitch softly into right for a single. Turner was next up, and he hit a ball softly down the third base line, then beat Peacock's throw to first base while 1B Gurriel dropped the ball, allowing both runners to take an extra base. However, home plate umpire Sam Holbrook intervened, stating that Turner had run inside the baseline and thus interfered with the play. The result was that not only was Turner out, but Gomes had to go back all the way to first base. Manager Dave Martinez argued the call vehemently, and even convinced the officials to confer with Heaquarters to ensure the call was correct, but it stood. It is true that Turner had run inside the baseline, but not egregiously so, and this did not seem to have any impact on either Peacock's throw or Gurriel's ability to catch it, as he had drifted into the regular lane by the time he reached the first base bag. It's a call that is almost never made in any circumstance short of a collision at first base, so it was highly unusual and controversial. After the Game MLB Vice-President Joe Torre, who was in attendance, explained that the call had been made because Holbrook had judged that Turner had interfered with Gurriel's ability to catch the ball. While the arguments were going on, Astros manager A.J. Hinch replaced Peacock with Will Harris and when play resumed, Eaton popped out softly to third on his first pitch. From being in a perilous situation only a pitch earlier, Houston was now two-thirds out of the inning, but it was without counting on the next batter, Rendon, who achieved some redemption for the controversial call by hitting a homer to left field. Gomes scored and it was now 5-2, the game suddenly getting out of reach. Still, after the inning, Martinez who had not calmed down, was ejected by crew chief Gary Cederstrom, the first World Series managerial ejection since Bobby Cox's in Game 6 of the 1996 World Series.

Max Scherzer had been warming up in the Nats bullpen when Strasburg had some difficulties with a one-run lead in the previous innings, but he had now sat down, gearing up for a Game 7 start that looked increasingly more likely. Strasburg returned to pitch the bottom of the 7th and did so in beautiful fashion, retiring the Astros in order. In the 8th, Ryan Pressly pitched a 1-2-3 inning for Houston, and Strasburg again mowed down the opposition. In the 9th, the Nationals put the game completely out of reach against Chris Devenski, who had fallen to being used only in games that were already decided, a sign that Houston put little faith in its ability to come back from three runs down in the final inning. After two outs, Devenski gave up a double to Turner and hit Eaton with a pitch, and Rendon came through again, this time with a two-run double to center field, making the score 7-2. It gave Rendon 5 RBIs on the night. Strasburg returned to pitch the 9th, knowing he would have four months to rest before spring training, but after retiring Gurriel for the first out, he gave way to Sean Doolittle. He probably could have completed the game, as his pitch count was still a manageable 104, but why risk it? He had shut down the Astros since the 2nd, and had done absolutely everything that had been asked of him during his two starts. Doolittle did give up an inconsequential two-out double to Correa, but otherwise had little trouble nailing down the final two outs and ensuring the series would go the limit.

Game 7 @ Minute Maid Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Nationals 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 2 6 9 0
Astros 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 9 1
WP: Patrick Corbin (1-0); LP: Will Harris (0-1)
Home Runs: HOU - Yuli Gurriel (1); WAS - Anthony Rendon (2), Howie Kendrick (1)
  • Attendance: 43,326

Game 7 featured another dream pitching match-up, as for the first time ever two former Cy Young Award winners would face each other in a decisive World Series game: Zack Greinke for the Astros and Max Scherzer, revitalized after a cortisone shot, for the Nationals. There wasn't any shuffling of line-ups, except for Washington moving the struggling Victor Robles to the 9th spot, behind C Yan Gomes. Manager Dave Martinez had thought about starting Kurt Suzuki again at catcher, as he was now over his physical ailments, but in the end decided to stick with Gomes. And of course, just about every single pitcher was available to be used in relief, as there was literally no tomorrow. Two veterans of the Astros' 2005 World Series team, Hall of Famers both, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, threw the ceremonial first pitch.

The first six innings of the game were dominated by one man, Greinke, who put on an absolutely magnificent performance. Changing speeds brilliantly, fooling batters with a variety of slow curveballs and the occasion fastball, and consistently hitting his spots, he completely baffled the Nationals' hitters, facing only one over the minimum through that stretch as he reeled off what was easily his best performance of the postseason. He even shone as a fielder, makinng a number of nice plays when weak swings by the Nats hitters resulted in balls being hit back towards him. He only allowed two baserunners: Juan Soto who led off the 2nd with a single but was immediately erased on a double play thats Greinke started himself, and Howie Kendrick, who drew a one-out walk in the 5th, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Asdrubal Cabrera, but was stranded when Ryan Zimmerman popped out to first base. In contrast, Scherzer was not sharp, as his pitches kept missing the target. He had to battle hard to keep the game close as he allowed 7 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings and threw 103 pitches. But with all that traffic on the bases, the Astros were bound to score, and they did, although not as much as they would have liked. They stranded one runner in the 1st, but in the 2nd, Yuli Gurriel led off with a homer to left. The next two batters singled, but in attempting to bunt them over, Robinson Chirinos hit a short pop-up, Josh Reddick grounded to third and George Springer hit a line drive to left that Soto was able to catch for the final out. Two more batters were left on base in the 3rd, and again in the 4th, as the Astros were unable to deliver the hit that would have broken the game open. Playing with fire all night, Scherzer eventually got burned in the 5th, but again, it was only a first-degree burn: Michael Brantley led off with a single and after a strike out of Alex Bregman, was forced out at second by Gurriel. Yordan Alvarez then drew a walk and Correa followed with a single down the third base line, just out of Rendon's reach, on which both runners advanced two bases, including Gurriel who scored. It was now 2-0, but Chirinos then struck out to end the inning without further damage.

The score was thus still only 2-0 after 5, and after another 1-2-3 inning by Greinke in the top of the 6th, Patrick Corbin replaced Scherzer, who had given everything he had. Corbin was pitching on normal rest as he would have been the starter in this game had Scherzer not been forced to skip his scheduled Game 5 outing. With a lefthander now on the mound, A.J. Hinch brought in Jake Marisnick to pinch-hit for Reddick and he singled, but Corbin then took over, striking out Springer swinging and getting Jose Altuve to ground into a double play. Then, for the second straight day, the 7th inning was the pivotal one. Greinke started off by getting Adam Eaton to ground out, but he then left a pitch hanging against Anthony Rendon and the MVP candidate blasted it into the left field stands for a solo homer. Soto followed by drawing a walk and Hinch took a fateful decision, removing Greinke, who had throw just 80 pitches and had been almost flawless except for Rendon's homer, to bring in Will Harris. Harris, of course, had given up the back-breaking homer to Rendon in Game 6, and history repeated itself this time, with Kendrick delivering the killer blow. He sliced a ball down the opposite field baseline towards the right field corner. It had plenty of distance but looked like it would hook foul; instead; it smashed into the foul pole for a two-run homer. The crowd in Houston, already nervous because of all the missed opportunities, fell completely flat at that point. Harris continued to struggle, giving up a single to Cabrera, and Hinch now brought in his closer, Roberto Osuna, as he realized the game and the whole series was on the line at that point. Osuna walked the first man he faced, Zimmerman, but then got Gomes to pop up and Robles to fly out to right. Things could have been worse, but the Astros were still down, 3-2, and the momentum was now completely in the Nationals' camp.

Corbin returned to pitch the bottom of the inning and gave up a two-out single to Gurriel, but nothing else. The Nats then went back on the attack against Osuna in the 8th as Eaton walked with one out and stole second then scored when Soto singled with two outs. Kendrick followed with another single, prompting Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly, as his bullpen options were getting ever thinner. Corbin threw a third straight scoreless inning, this one with a pair of strikeouts and no baserunners, and Washington was just three outs away from their first title. They made it even more of a certainty in the top of the 9th, as Joe Smith gave up a lead-off single to Zimmerman. He was forced out at second by Gomes, but Robles, who had hardly done anything with the bat all series, then singled, and Smith walked Trea Turner to load the bases. Hinch then called on Jose Urquidy, the rookie who had given him an unexpectedly solid performance in Game 4, but he gave up a single to Eaton that scored two more runs, making the score 6-2. Urquidy retired the next two batters, but it was all over but the shouting. Closer Daniel Hudson was given the honor of pitching the final inning and he retired the by now completely depressed Astros hitters in order, striking out Altuve and Brantley for the final two outs. The Nationals had won their first World Series, and also become the first team ever to be crowned champions without winning a single game at home. Stephen Strasburg, who had been masterful in winning Games 2 and 6, the latter in a must-win situation, was named the winner of the Willie Mays Award as the series' most valuable player.

Miscellaneous[edit]

Due to their sweep in the NLCS, the Nationals had a full six days off before Game 1. This was considered a huge disadvantage, as almost all teams put in that situation before them had struggled badly in the ensuing World Series, especially at the plate. The lone exception was the 1995 Atlanta Braves. The Astros had a potential disadvantage of their own as they had not a single lefthanded pitcher on their roster: all 12 players listed as pitchers were righthanded, precluding any attempt to play the match-up game. This had never happened since the 1903 World Series, when neither team had a lefthander - at a time when teams used many fewer pitchers and hardly any relief pitchers.

The Nationals' 50-game start of 19-31 was the worst of any team to win the World Series; the 1914 Boston Braves had been 20-30 and were the only other team to have been as many as 12 games below .500 during a season ion which they won the Fall Classic. More recently, the 2003 Florida Marlins had also started poorly, at 21-29, before turning things around.

In a rather unusual twist, the two teams shared a spring training facility, the Fitteam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, FL.

The Nationals held their victory parade on November 2nd, making their way through a see of red-clad fans on the National Mall. They then attended a Washington Capitals game the next day; the two teams had grown close when the NHL's Caps captured their first Stanley Cup title in the spring of 2018, and stars from both teams had often been seen at the others' games. The traditional White House visit also came very quickly, on November 5th. As had been the case in other recent visits during the Donald Trump Administration, this one came with a dose of controversy: on the one hand, a number of players turned down the opportunity to attend for reasons similar to those for which the President was greeted by loud boos when he attended Game 5, but on the other a few players, most notably Kurt Suzuki and Ryan Zimmerman took the opportunity to make very political gestures in support of the President, something not usually seen at such events.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Associated Press: "Capital hill: Astros, Nats put World Series eyes on pitching", USA Today, October 20, 2019. [1]
  • Christine Brennan: "Nationals swing and miss with partisan play at White House celebration", USA Today, November 4, 2019. [2]
  • Chris Bumbaca: "Behind the numbers: How Nationals-Astros World Series was one out of 1,420", USA Today, October 31, 2019. [3]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "Nats make road-win history, capture 1st WS title", mlb.com, October 31, 2019. [4]
  • Richard Justice: "7 World Series storylines to watch", mlb.com, October 21, 2019. [5]
  • Matt Kelly: "Experts predict World Series winner, MVP", mlb.com, October 21, 2019. [6]
  • Matt Kelly: "Home field's never been this big a disadvantage: Road teams go 7-0 in historic World Series as Nats win title", mlb.com, October 31, 2019. [7]
  • Gabe Lacques: "As pitch-tipping paranoia lingers, Astros and Nationals will have their eyes on each other in World Series", USA Today, October 20, 2019. [8]
  • Gabe Lacques: "World Series preview: Breaking down the Astros vs. Nationals matchup", USA Today, October 22, 2019. [9]
  • Sarah Langs: "Aces all over: WS a matchup of big-time arms", mlb.com, October 20, 2019. [10]
  • Sarah Langs, Matt Kelly and Andrew Simon: "13 stats that explain the Nats' clutch comebacks: Washington took unlikely path to its first World Series title", mlb.com, October 31, 2019. [11]
  • Bob Nightengale: "With aces lined up, Astros and Nationals ready for an old-school World Series: 'We need that in 2019'", USA Today, October 22, 2019. [12]
  • Bob Nightengale: "'We’ll be fine': Astros confident in World Series comeback against Nationals", USA Today, October 24, 2019. [13]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Nationals' Cinderella story ends with first World Series championship in nation's capital since 1924", USA Today, October 31, 2019. [14]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Astros' decision to pull Zack Greinke in Game 7 will face scrutiny forever", USA Today, October 31, 2019. [15]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Nationals GM Mike Rizzo on White House visit: 'We weren't trying to make a political statement'", USA Today, November 11, 2019. [16]
  • Mike Petriello: "Who has edge? Nats-Astros position by position", mlb.com, October 20, 2019. [17]
  • USA Today: "World Series predictions: Astros are heavy favorites over Nationals", USA Today, October 22, 2019. [18]

Related Sites[edit]

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1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949
1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959
1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969
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1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989
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