And then there were 2. After weeks of play, Major League Baseball is down to two teams. On one hand, you have the heavily favored and former World Champion Houston Astros. On the other hand you have the scrappy underdog team making their first appearance in the World Series, the Washington Nationals.
Below we will be looking at the two teams in depth, as well as giving you our predictions for the World Series and MVP. Be sure to let us know who you have winning the Fall Classic!
Edit: These picks were made before Game 1 of the World Series.
The Houston Astros are in the World Series once again. After going 5 games with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Astros went up against the 103-win New York Yankees.
After dropping Game 1 in Houston in decisive fashion, the Astros bounced back to win the next 3 games, taking a 3-1 series lead. The Yankees battled back in game 5 by a score of 4-1. But in game 6, following late heroics from Jose Altuve, the Astros find themselves playing in the World Series once again.
The Astros obvious strength is its starting rotation. Gerrit Cole has been on a tear that we haven’t seen in quite some time. In Game 3 he pitched 7 scoreless innings, leading his team to the Game 3 win. Zack Greinke pitched solid as well, allowing only 3 runs in the Game 1 loss, and only 1 run in the Game 4 win.
As for the third piece to that dominant puzzle, Justin Verlander? He is in post season form as well…for the most part. In Game 2 after 6.2 innings, Verlander only allowed 2 runs on five hits. Game 5 was a different story however, where Verlander gave up 4 runs in 7 innings, registering the loss.
Houston’s bats didn’t do as much damage as we know they can do, but they got quality at-bats and solid hits at the right time. Carlos Correa hit a walk off home run off of J.A Happ in Game 2, and as mentioned before, Jose Altuve hit the walk-off 2 run homer in Game 6.
I have two concerns on this team. Alex Bregman, and rookie Yordan Alvarez. After hitting .296 in the regular season, MVP-candidate Alex Bregman is just 3-18 in the postseason. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention he has drawn a team leading 7 walks in the ALCS.
Alvarez has been totally silent. He batted .313 with 27 home runs in the regular season but hasn’t done anything in the postseason. He’s gone 1-22 with a team leading 12 strikeouts. If Bregman begins driving in runs, and Alvarez can find his groove again, Houston will definitely be sitting pretty.
You know what cliche gets old? The “if I would’ve told you this was going to happen would you believe me?”. I just feel it gets used at way to much. With that being said, if I would’ve told you at the beginning of the year that the Washington Nationals would be in the World Series, would you believe me?
After taking the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers to 5 games in the NLDS, the Washington Nationals marched right into Busch Stadium and punched the St. Louis Cardinals right in the jugular. Game 1 was an absolutely incredible display of excellent pitching. Anibal Sanchez had a no-hitter going into the 8th inning of Game 1. A two-out single by Jose Martinez broke that up, and Sean Doolittle came in for the save for a one-hit shutout by the Nats.
Game 2? More dominant pitching. This time by Nationals ace Max Scherzer. Scherzer took his cue from Sanchez, and didn’t allow a hit going into the seventh inning, when Paul Goldschmidt singled off of him. Scherzer exited the game giving up only the one hit with 11 strikeouts.
In Game 3 the Nationals stuck to the script and dominated the Cardinals hitters. Stephen Strasburg pitched seven innings, giving up seven hits, one run, and fanning 12. St. Louis was held to 2 runs in 27 innings of baseball. The lights were turned out pretty early for the Cardinals, when Washington scored 7 runs in the very first inning of Game 4. They held on to the lead, winning 7-4 to earn their very first trip to the World Series.
The Nationals have 3 top starting pitchers, and an Anibal Sanchez that has looked incredible in the postseason. Looking at the offense, this team won’t hit as many home runs as Houston, but they play team baseball with 20 RBIs in the 4 games of the NLCS.
Anthony Rendon has been on fire with a .417 batting average with 4 walks. The NLCS MVP, Howie Kendrick, batted .333 in the NLCS with a team leading 4 RBIs. After hitting 2 home runs in the NLDS, Juan Soto was silenced in the NLCS, going 3-16 with a team worst 7 strikeouts.
I may be alone in this opinion, but I believe Washington’s starting rotation matches up pretty well, if not better than Houston’s. The one thing I question about this Nationals team is the long ball. In playoff baseball home runs don’t mean as much but they are still very important. The entire Nationals team only hit 2 home runs in the NLCS, and 5 in the NLDS. Those 7 home runs in NLDS/NLCS are half of what the Astros have hit in the ALDS/ALCS.
It will be an uphill battle for the Nationals, but we could very well be looking at one of the most incredible upsets in World Series history. Imagine the narrative. A team that is in their very first World Series, beating a team that has been in the ALCS for the past 3 years, and the 2017 World Series Champions. The story would be one for the ages.
Mike Rosa – Nationals in 6/Adam Eaton
Andrew Gelinas – Astros in 5/Alex Bregman
Hunter Meine – Astros in 6/Jose Altuve
Bryan Beggs – Nationals in 6/Juan Soto
Kyle Hernandez – Astros in 7/Alex Bregman
Circus Monkey – Astros in 5/Jose Altuve
Nick Lombardi – Astros in 7/Jose Altuve
Elizabeth Losoya – Astros in 6/Jose Altuve
Matthew Boyce – Nationals in 6/Anthony Rendon
Andrew Ashworth – Nationals in 5/Trea Turner
Jake Jollymore – Astros in 5/Jose Altuve
Photo Source: Kyle Hernandez – GCSN
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