The Astros made it for the second time in three years, and for only the third time in their history. The World Series, that is.
They beat the Evil Empire in the ALCS, thanks to great pitching and walk-off homers by Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve in Games 2 and 6, respectively. Thus, they have earned the right to take on the NL champions, the Washington Nationals, for all the glory.
Let’s get to know our worthy opponents, position by position, and see how they stack up statistically to our Stros.
The Astros won the AL West with a record of 107-55, the best record in baseball. They scored 920 runs, while allowing only 640. This was the largest run differential in baseball.
The Nationals got into the playoffs the hard way, as a Wild Card team. To their credit, they beat the team with the best record in the NL, the Dodgers, to get to the NLCS. Then they crushed the St Louis Cardinals in four games to get to the World Series. Their season record was 93-69. They scored 873 runs while allowing 724.
These are the slash lines of each team respectively.
.265/.342/.454....wRC+ 103...HR 231
.274/.352/.495....wRC+ 125...HR 288
Let’s break this down position by position.
Astros: Robinson Chirinos, OPS .790, rWAR 3.8...Martin Maldonado, OPS .781, rWAR 0.5
Nats......Yan Gomes...........OPS .704, rWAR 1.3.....Kurt Suzuki.............OPS .809, rWAR 0.4
Astros: Yuli Gurriel....... OPS .884, rWAR 3.2
Nationals: Matt Adams OPS .741. rWAR 0.0 (note, utility player Howie Kendrick gets many of the 1B ABs, OPS .966, 2.6 rWAR)
Advantage: toss up with Kendrick at first
Astros.......Jose Altuve OPS .903, rWAR 3.7
Nationals: Brian Dozier OPS .771, rWAR 0.7
Astros......Carlos Correa OPS .926, rWAR 2.9
Nationals Trea Turner.....OPS .850, rWAR 2.4
Astros....... Alex Bregman.....OPS 1.015, rWAR 8.4
Nationals: Anthony Rendon OPS 1.010, rWAR 6.4
Advantage: slim advantage Astros but very close. fWAR 8.5 to 7.0 Two MVP candidates going head to head.
Astros.......Michael Brantley, OPS .875, rWAR 4.6
Nationals: Juan Soto.............OPS .949, rWAR 4.7
Advantage: slightly to Nationals
Astros......George Springer, OPS .974, rWAR 6.2
Nationals, Victor Robles......OPS ..745, rWAR 4.1
Astros......Josh Reddick, OPS .728, rWAR 1.2
Nationals: Adam Eaton.. OPS .792, rWAR 1.6
Astros..........Yordan Alvarez, OPS 1.067 rWAR 3.7, Aledmys Diaz........ OPS .823, rWAR 1.4
Nationals....Howie Kendrick, OPS .966 rWAR 2.6, Asdrubal Cabrera OPS .783, rWAR 1.7
Advantage: Astros (caveat: In ALCS Yordan Alvarez was hitting 0.45 with 12 Ks in 24 PAs)
We will do a more detailed breakdown of the pitching matchups for Tuesday, but we’ll look at the general picture here.
Astros........ERA 3.61, ERA- 81 xFIP 3.64, SIERA 3.73, K/9 10.54, WHIP 1.09
Nationals...ERA 3.53, ERA- 79 xFIP 3.94, SIERA 4.11, K/9 9.68, WHIP 1.19
Advantage: Toss up. Nats have slight advantage in ERA, Astros in advanced stats. Nats go four deep in starting pitching, the Astros only three deep.
Astros.........ERA 3.75, ERA- 84, xFIP 4.06, SIERA 3.83, K/9 9.86, WHIP 1.20
Nationals....ERA 5.69, ERA- 126, xFIP 5.03, SIERA 4.47, K/9 9.01, WHIP 1.48
On paper it looks like the Astros have the clear edge. But they play the games on the field, and there are only seven of them. Anything can happen.
World Series GAME 1 INFORMATION:
DATE: October 22, 2019
VENUE: Minute Maid Park
GAME TIME: 8:08 PM EDT
TV: Fox Fox-Int
Radio: ESPN Radio; Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2;
SB Nation is partnering with StubHub to point you in the direction of what currently appear to be some reasonably priced tickets that are still available for Game 1.
Here’s a LINK TO STUBHUB’S LISTING of available tickets for Game 1 of the WS.