Well, if anyone took the Nationals lightly before last night, they have to be stubborn mules if they still do so this morning.
Is Juan Soto the next Willie Mays? The next Ken Griffey Jr.? The next Barry Bonds? The next Mike Trout? Wait, none of those guys hit a home run in a World Series Game when they were 20, much less in their first one, and with a 2 RBI double and stolen base to boot.
Somebody kidnap that guy.
Gerrit Cole picked the wrong night to have his worst game since May, giving up five earned runs in seven innings. But, it kills me to say this, the Astros may have lost last night’s game due to a lack of hustle at critical times. Michael Brantley did not appear to run full speed on a Yuli Gurriel bloop hit and had to stop at third where he was eventually stranded. And George Springer thought he had a home run and just watched his fly ball hit the fence. His double should have been a triple, and if he had been on third, he would have scored on a sac fly.
The Astros lost at home, 5-4, on a night when their formerly unhittable ace was pitching. Not an auspicious beginning to the World Series, with three more tough Nats pitchers waiting in the wings.
One or two silver linings in this game. The Astros got to the weak Nationals bullpen early, and showed they can score off it. And Patrick Corbin was brought in for an inning, calling into question whether he starts Friday as was optimal for the Nats, or Saturday.
Yordan Alvarez had more hits yesterday than in the entire ALCS, although he struck out with the bases loaded.
On the other had, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa continue to slump, going 1 for 9 between them with three strikeouts each.
The Astros left 11 runners in scoring position, (at the end of each inning) including three each by Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Bregman, Correa, and Alvarez.
If there was a game where the odds favored the Astros the most, it was probably last night’s. But it’s baseball. Remember, the Stros lost Game 1 at home to the Yankees and then beat them in a bullpen game. That wasn’t supposed to happen. There are six more games, and we know the Astros well enough to know that they will pick themselves up and fight again.
Tonight the other head of the Astros’ three-headed pitching monster goes to the mound, Justin Verlander. But the Nats counter with the second head of their three-headed pitching monster, Stephen Strasburg.
Post-season: 1-2, 3.70 ERA, 29 Ks in 24.1 IP, 1.07 WHIP
2019.............21-6, 2.58 ERA, 300 Ks, 223 IP, 0.80 WHIP
Post-season: 3-0, 1.64 ERA, 33 Ks in 22 IP, 0.86 WHIP
2019.............18-6, 3.17 ERA, 251 Ks in 209 IP, 1.04 WHIP
Clearly, Strasburg comes into this game hot, whereas Verlander has been a bit below his season and career averages so far in the post-season. Verlander will probably need to be at his best, and hopefully the Astros can get to Strasburg early, or at least get three or four cracks at the Nats bullpen.
For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure
Game 2: Wednesday, October 23rd @ 7:07 pm CDT
Listen: Nationals - 106.7 The Fan, ESPN Radio / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 850 AM, ESPN Radio
Watch: FOX, FOX-INT
Here’s a link to StubHub’s LISTING of available tickets for Game 2 of the WS