Welcome to the 2019 World Series which, in grand MLB tradition is between a team that pretty much everybody expected to be here and a team that snuck its way in. The Houston Astros were the best team in baseball for a long stretch, winning a ridiculous 107 games, a handful more than the New York Yankees team that they defeated in the American League Championship Series.
The Washington Nationals’ 93-96 regular season record doesn’t look too bad in a vacuum, but it was only enough for a second place finish in their division and only guaranteed an appearance in the National League Wild Card game. Of course, they beat the Milwaukee Brewers in that game, stunned the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and then swept an inert St Louis Cardinals team on their way to the World Series. Essentially, we’re getting the best team in baseball vs. the hottest team in the postseason.
How did they get there? Well, it turns out that starting pitching is somewhat important. Houston has the luxury of putting out Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke as their top three alongside a very potent lineup of hitters. The Nationals are countering with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and an impressive postseason run by veteran Anibal Sanchez. The Nationals bullpen is, well, not quite as good as the Astros’, but it hasn’t mattered much recently. One of the advantages of skipping a Game 5 and 6 is that you don’t have as many innings for your lesser pitchers to eat up.
So, who has the advantage in this all-important Game 1? Well, Strasburg and the Astros have the luxury of starting this game at their own stadium but the Nationals have Gerrit Cole who hasn’t lost since May. Can Houston’s bats find a way to get to Cole or at the very least get to Houston’s relievers, or will the Nationals pull off the upset and reclaim home field advantage?
Well, we’re about to find out. If you would like to contribute to the blog, you can email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to @HunterFelt throughout the next few hours and we’ll include them in this liveblog along the way. It’s Game 1 of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park. First pitch is scheduled around 8:08pm EST but we’ll be back well before then.
Hunter will be here shortly, in the meantime here’s how the two teams are shaping up before tonight’s game: