Washington Nationals (defeated STL in 4) vs. Houston Astros (defeated NYY in 6)
Game 1- Tuesday, October 22nd, 8:08 PM ET, in Houston, FOX
Game 2- Wednesday, October 23rd, 8:07 PM ET, in Houston, FOX
Game 3- Friday, October 25th, 8:07 PM ET, in Washington, FOX
Game 4- Saturday, October 26th, 8:07 PM ET, in Washington, FOX
Game 5 (if necessary)- Sunday, October 27th, 8:07 PM ET, in Washington, FOX
Game 6 (if necessary)- Tuesday, October 29th, 8:07 PM ET, in Houston, FOX
Game 7 (if necessary)- Wednesday, October 30th, 8:08 PM ET, in Houston, FOX
The Nationals are appearing in their first World Series in franchise history. They were able to sweep the Cardinals in the NLCS off of the backs of dominant pitching performances. Both Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer carried no hitters through six innings in Games 1 and 2 respectively. Sanchez lost his bid in the eighth inning with Jose Martinez’s pinch hit single being the only hit of the game for the Cardinals. Scherzer lost his in bid in the seventh inning, but ultimately went seven innings with just that one hit allowed and 11 strikeouts.
All together, the Nationals pitching staff allowed just 6 runs on 16 hits through four games of the NLCS. Their starting pitching was brilliant, with Sanchez, Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin combining for 26 2/3 innings and allowing just four runs. All four runs were allowed by Corbin in Game 4, a game the Nats led 7-0 after the first inning.
Howie Kendrick was named NLCS MVP. The 36-year-old went 5-15 in the series, with four of those hits being for extra bases and collecting four total RBIs. The biggest challenge for Kendrick and the Nationals’ offense will be the long layoff they have had between the NLCS and the World Series. They last played on October 15th, a full week before Game 1 of the World Series.
Player to Watch- Anthony Rendon
Rendon has been on fire this postseason, hitting .375 across 32 at bats with a 1.059 OPS. He has five extra base hits including a home run and 7 RBIs.
The Astros find themselves in their second World Series in franchise history and second in three years after winning it all in 2017. Although their pitching was not as dominant as the Nationals, Houston was still able to hold the high-powered Yankees offense in check long enough for their offense to do their job. Houston had two walk-off wins from home runs in this series, one from Carlos Correa in the 11th inning of Game 2 to tie the series at 1-1, and the other from Jose Altuve with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in Game 6 to win the series.
Gerrit Cole made just one start in the series, a 7 shutout inning performance on the biggest stage in baseball at Yankee stadium. Cole’s excellent start came in Game 3 and gave the Astros the series lead they would not relinquish. Outside of that start from Cole, the Astros’ starting pitching wasn’t dominant but was able to get the job done.
Altuve was named ALCS MVP after his two-run blast to clinch the series. Overall, he went 8-24 in the series, good for a .333 average. Altuve also knocked in four runs. The combo of Altuve, George Springer, and Carlos Correa provided the Astros with numerous clutch hits that fueled the series. Michael Brantley also turned in a solid series with a .280 average across 25 at bats.
Player to Watch- Yordan Alvarez
The 22-year-old Alvarez has struggled mightily this postseason, hitting just .171 across 41 at bats with 19 strikeouts. This is after hitting .313 with 27 home runs and a 1.067 OPS in the regular season. Can the rookie shake off his rough postseason start and become a factor in the World Series?