When Javy Baez, Ryan Zimmerman and the rest of the Nationals walked off the field in Houston following a 12-3 drubbing of the Astros, the Nation’s capitol was buzzing with the potential celebration that could follow in the coming days. Given how the series started, two straight wins for Washington, it seemed reasonable to suspect they would have an opportunity to win their first World Series at home.
Not so fast.
In the span of three days the 2017 World Series Champion Astros flipped the script, outscoring the Nationals 19-3 in three straight victories. Astro starters Zack Greinke, Jose Urquidy, and Gerrit Cole combined to allow just one run over 16 innings and the Astros didn’t trail for a single moment during the three games in Washington. Alex Bregman had a lot to do with that, especially in Game 4 with five RBIs. The Astros were so dominating on the road that their +16 run differential was tied for the largest margin for a team on the road in the World Series.
As expected, the MLB odds at SBD favor the Astros to close the series out at home. However, as good as the Astros were in Washington, the Nationals were almost as good in Houston. And now they will trot out Game 2 starter Stephen Strasburg for a hopeful repeat of his seven-inning, six strikeout performance in the victory. And, just like in Game 2, he will oppose Justin Verlander who will look to rebound from his shaky performance.
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It’s not all doom and gloom for the Nationals as they could potentially right a wrong if the series goes seven as there is hope Max Scherzer could be ready to go. Of course, Scherzer was slated to start game five but a late scratch derailed hopes of Scherzer stopping the Astros. However, it could work out quite well if he is healthy enough by game seven in Houston on Wednesday.
However, it won’t matter much unless they get the performance from Greinke and the offense that they didn’t get back home in D.C. In game two, the Nationals lineup got seven hits and four runs off the six-foot-five righty and they will need much of the same on Tuesday. In fact, they need to jump on Verlander early or it could be a long night for both teams for two entirely different reasons.