World Series Live :: The Nationals stood toe-to-toe with Astros all-world pitcher Gerrit Cole and lived to tell the tale. Cole had been virtually flawless in each of his previous three playoff outings against the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays before giving up eight hits and five earned runs on Monday night to the Nationals. It was one of those back-breaking performances that served as a statement victory.
All of the talk of destiny and the Nationals seems to be legit.
After stealing the series-opening game in the World Series, the Washington Nationals will aim to put the Houston Astros on the ropes early in a much-anticipated Game 2 on Wednesday. Monday’s win marked the seventh consecutive victory for the red-hot Nationals, while simultaneously putting the confident Astros on notice. Knocking off this Nationals team will take an even greater effort than the Astros showed against the New York Yankees. Stephen Strasburg is slated to start on the mound in Wednesday’s rematch opposite of Houston’s Justin Verlander.
Destiny could be real for the Nationals
Haha do you guys remember when Juan Soto didn’t make the All-Star team this year?#ChildishBambino // #STAYINTHEFIGHT pic.twitter.com/vx0C5SJETa
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 23, 2019
Imagine the confidence their batting lineup must have preparing for Game 2 after dismantling Cole on the mound in the opener. The talk of the season has been which MLB team was capable of surviving the murderer’s row pitching rotation for the Astros. We might have received our answer on Monday.
Strasburg hopes to pick up where Max Scherzer left off when he gets the green light to toe the rubber against the Astros on Wednesday. The 31-year-old veteran righty compiled a 3.32 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP and 18-6 record on the season. He has been money for the Nationals throughout the postseason, earning decision nods in three of his last four performances.
Astros in a dangerous spot
This feels awkwardly like the same position the Nationals put the St. Louis Cardinals in during the NLCS. Losing at home with your first option on the mound in a big playoff game is a dagger right into the heart, particularly when your option was Gerrit Cole.
However, an even worse case scenario would be losing the first two games and being forced to travel to the rollicking madhouse that will be Nationals Park for the next three games. Wednesday’s game is officially a must-win situation for the Astros. The Nationals are simply too hot of a team to put themselves in a position of potentially going down 0-3 to start the series. No pitching rotation is good enough to pitch the Astros back from that sort of deficit.
Verlander hopes to quickly turn things around when he gets the starting nod at pitcher on Wednesday. The 36-year-old righty has lost two of his last three playoff appearances. He recently allowed five hits and four earned runs in seven innings to the New York Yankees. His ERA on the season stands at a 2.58 with a 0.80 WHIP and 21-6 record.
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Nationals are 29-10 in Strasburgs’ last 39 starts during game 2 of a series.
Nationals are 59-23 in Strasburgs’ last 82 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance.
Nationals are 90-35 in Strasburgs’ last 125 starts.
Astros are 7-19 in the last 26 head-to-head meetings.
Home team is 2-5 in Holbrooks’ last 7 games behind home plate.
Astros are 1-8 in the last 9 head-to-head meetings in Houston.
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It’s time to stop doubting the Nationals and give them the respect they deserve.
The Astros’ pitching rotation spearheaded by Cole was treated like the Boogeyman headed into this series, and the Nationals promptly handed him his first loss in the postseason on the road. As great as Verlander has been for the Astros all season, he hasn’t been nearly as dominant when it mattered in the postseason.
He has given up four runs apiece in two of his last three outings. Now, he’ll be stepping on the mound against the hottest lineup in baseball and forced to match the same defensive intensity as a Nationals rotation being led by Strasburg, who has been everything the Astros hoped Verlander would be in the playoffs. He has given up only four runs combined in four postseason outings.
The Astros are in trouble early in the series as they sink closer to checkmate on the board with the surging Nationals. Believe the hype. Give me the Nationals in Game 2 on Wednesday.