World Series Woes In Washington

The Houston Astros leave Washington with a 3-2 lead and with a chance to win their second World Series in three years.

Homecoming Upsets During World Series

The momentum of the World Series has changed hands as the Houston Astros strolled into the Nation’s Capital over the weekend and dominated. The Washington Nationals, who were leading in the series 2-0 entering play Friday, lost all three home games against the Astros. Not only have the Astros gained some steam, they now hold the series lead as they head back to Minute Maid Park Tuesday for Game 6, and if necessary, Game 7.

The Nationals played their worst postseason baseball over the weekend. They had the chance to clinch the franchise’s first World Series title in its history. However, that was not the case as the World Series baseball returned to D.C. for the first time in 86 years. Washington did not hold the lead for their entire homestand and was outscored by Houston 19-3. The Washington batting order also recorded 32 strikeouts over the three games in D.C., with 13 of them coming on Fridays Game 3.

(Patrick Semansky/Assoicated Press)

Can Astros Continue Momentum?

However, “home-field advantage” hasn’t really applied to either team throughout the series. This might surprisingly give an advantage to Washington entering the final two games. The Astros have lost both games in Houston so far and seen the same lack of offense at home in their lineup that Washington had at Nationals Park. Alex Bregman, an AL MVP candidate and Astros third baseman, was nearly invisible in Houston to begin the Series. He went 1-8 with three strikeouts during the first two games at Minute Maid Park. Bregman also made multiple defensive errors to help Washington tack on 10 runs in the final three innings of Game 2.

Astros Are The Best Team In Baseball.

The script has seemed to change for Bregman and the Astros offense. They once again began to show the explosive play that they are capable of. The outstanding pitching of Gerrit Cole in Game 4 proved why this Astros team is dangerous and were favorites to win it all even in the preseason. We must remember that the Astros won 107 games during the regular season, clinching the AL West by 10 games. They dominated throughout the entire year. Adding Zack Greinke at the trade deadline only made the rotation even stronger next to CY Young finalists Cole and Justin Verlander.

Photo by Bryan C. Parker

Houston, The Astros Have Landed.

The World Series will end in Texas. No matter if it ends Tuesday, or goes the distance for Game 7 Wednesday, Minute Maid Park will crown baseball’s new World Champion. Game 6 will feature the same pitchers from Game 2 of the Series. Stephen Strasburg will be taking the mound for the Nationals and Verlander for the Stros.

Strasburg has been spectacular this season and has continued his impressive pitching throughout the postseason. His postseason ERA is 1.93 and has 40 strikeouts in only 28 innings of play. Strasburg has been the most reliable pitcher for the Nationals all season. A strong outing is a must out of Strasburg if the Nationals stand any chance of forcing a Game 7.

Verlander has had a season to remember. The 36-year-old right-hander threw 300 strikeouts in the regular season and is a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award. However, Verlander has not carried that impressiveness into the postseason. With an ERA of 4.15, He is only 1-3 in the five appearances for Houston so far in the playoffs. In Verlander’ 6 career starts in the World Series he still hasn’t found his first win. As his age continues to rise, this very well could be his final chance to change one of his worse statistics on what has been a no-doubt Hall of Fame career.

What If The World Series Goes To Game 7?

If the baseball gods allow us to see one of best things in sports, a Game 7, the drama would be too much to handle. With the recent injury of Max Scherzer, who was a game day scratch in Game 5 due to a neck injury, the starting pitcher for the Nationals remains an unknown for a possible winner-takes-all matchup. Many have speculated that he would indeed be ready to start, but the last time Scherzer dealt with this nerve injury in his neck he was out for almost a month. Yet Some are hopeful for a 72-hour turnaround? If a Game 7 is pleasantly presented upon us, Scherzer may still not be ready to suit up. If Scherzer cannot go, expect Anibal Sanchez or Patrick Corbin to Start Game 7 for Washington. The Astros would more than likely go with their trade deadline acquisition Zack Greinke.

Nationals World Series
Rob Carr (Getty Images)

Game 6 is Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

If necessary, Game 7 will be played in Houston Wednesday at 8 p.m. Eastern.


Christian S. Rauh is a sports writer for Overtime Heroics.

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