The Houston Astros are on the verge of creating a dynasty. The only roadblock left is the Washington Nationals. The same Nationals who staved off elimination against the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers. They also swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. Now the two are set to face off with superstars on both teams. Here are predictions from some of the writers at The Game Haus for the 2019 Fall Classic:
These two teams are very evenly matched, and this makes for an exciting World Series. The rotations are even, with the Astros sending Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Zack Greinke to mound while the Nationals counter with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin. With Greinke’s struggles this postseason, I give a slight edge to the Nationals here.
On the hitting front, the edge tilts to the Nationals as well. They pounded the Cardinals in their sweep, while the Astros struggled to find offense against the Yankees. The Nationals are well rested having not played a game in a week, but that could also be a problem as they could also struggle to get hot again.
In the end, I feel the Nationals are the hotter and stronger of the two teams. It will come down to the starting pitching, where the Nationals will win the Series in six games, with Scherzer winning Most Valuable Player.
The Nationals surprised a lot of baseball fans not only by making the World Series, but doing it impressively. After defeating an impressive Dodgers team in the NLDS, they convincingly swept the Cardinals to make it to the Fall Classic. Some people likely counted them out of the playoffs when they were sitting at 19-31 through their first 50 games of the regular season. Nonetheless,
here they are representing the National League in this year’s World Series.
The Astros are not as surprising as a team to see in the World Series. They’ve been pretty
consistent throughout most of the season on both sides of the ball. When Justin Verlander, Gerrit
Cole and Zack Greinke are all on the same rotation, that can be really beneficial to a baseball
team. They did have to play more games in their Championship Series as they defeated the
Yankees in six games.
This series is pretty balanced in terms of pitching rotations. The duos of Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer along with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole can cause an interesting first couple of games. The Astros likely have the edge in the bullpen, however, which can end up playing a pretty big role in this series.
Another aspect can be how the Nationals handle this long rest period. They clinched on October 15, so by Game 1 it will have been about a week since the Nationals played. This can benefit the pitchers by giving their arms a break. However, the hitters may need time to readjust to in-game pitching.
Prediction: Astros in seven. The Nationals have gotten hot at the right time, but this time off
may cause a slow start.
This series will be remembered by the marquee pitching matchups. Houston will throw out Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Zack Greinke. Washington will counter with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and Anibal Sanchez. Cole hasn’t lost a game since May, and is 3-0 with a .40 ERA so far in the playoffs. But he is just another obstacle to overcome. Washington has been counted out all season, and they have used to that to fuel their run. Max Scherzer is back in the World Series after losing in 2012. He won’t let this opportunity slip by and will outduel Cole twice.
The Astros offense will need to jump on Washington’s starters early or it will be a long night. Jose Altuve will definitely hit another home run this series. After all, he’s hit the most homers in the playoffs by a second baseman. But he will need the rest of his teammates to step up and help him out. Unfortunately, Washington’s pitchers will slow Houston down enough for the Nationals to win the World Series. They will become the second team ever to sweep their Championship opponent and win the fall classic.
Nationals in seven.
In what should be an incredible World Series the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals will likely both be bloodied once the dust has cleared. There are many who will be deciding who they think will win based on their gut, heart and their brain. This prediction changes every time one is used over the other. But, as a journalist using a brain and statistics normally fares better in today’s world. That is not to say that heart and guts don’t matter in a series like this but, the problem is that it is a push for both teams in that regard.
So when looking at it analytically it is important to see where the advantages lie. In most every batting statistic the Astros are ahead of the Nationals. They were the best team batting average wise, on-base, slugging, etc. The only place the Nationals have an advantage is on the base paths where they stole more bases. Houston also has the advantage in the pitching department. A better ERA, strikeouts, walks, batting average against and more. Luckily the Nationals matchup well in their starting pitching with Scherzer, Strausberg and Corbin leading the way. The problem is that once they are out of the game, the bullpen has been shaky. Even in the fielding department, the Astros are better than the Nationals.
Considering all of this, this series should go the Astros. The official prediction being the Houston Astros in six games. The Nationals are not far behind in most categories but the problem is that they are behind in basically every single one of them. If the Nationals can win in the hearts and hustle department they will have a chance. If not then Houston should come out victorious.
The Nationals have come on strong since starting slow, but the Astros have been a great team all season. They have the offense and pitching to get this thing done. After Jose Altuve’s heroics in the ALCS, they should be heavily favored in this game.
Max Scherzer and the Nationals’ starting pitching may win them or game or two in this series, but the Astros will take the series when it is all said and done. Altuve is the living version of Pablo Sanchez of the Backyard Baseball video games, so going with anyone other than the Astros feels wrong. Washington has a nice story, making it to the World Series without Bryce Harper, but that story is coming to an end.
Prediction: Astros in six
Feature Image From Baltimore Sports and Life