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Sports World Series preview: Nationals chase 1st title against behemoth Astros

04:35  22 october  2019
04:35  22 october  2019 Source:   thescore.com

MLB playoffs: Ranking the four potential World Series matchups

  MLB playoffs: Ranking the four potential World Series matchups What would make the most compelling and intriguing World Series? We break down each potential showcase and rank which would be best.Here are the four divisional series survivors – New York Yankees, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals. Now it's down to the best-of-seven League Championship Series.

World Series Preview : Three Questions That Will Define Astros - Nationals . A somewhat unexpected matchup between the Astros and Nationals begins Tuesday night. Washington is chasing its first title since coming to town in 2005 while Houston seeks a second championship in three

The Astros are a team many people believed would be here all along. The Nationals were left for dead a couple of months into the season. Now they get set to collide in what should a tantalizing World Series featuring three-deep starting rotations and dangerous lineups.

Max Scherzer holding a baseball bat© Rob Carr / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The 2019 Fall Classic is set, with the Houston Astros looking to propel themselves into legitimate dynasty territory with their second championship in three years. The only thing standing in their way is a potent Washington Nationals club that's routinely underperformed - until now.

Here's everything you need to know about this year's World Series:

How to watch

* - if necessary

Projected rosters

Rotation

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The first three games will feature starters with a combined five Cy Youngs between them - and a sixth pending, with Cole or Verlander likely earning this year's Junior Circuit nod. Game 4, however, is completely up in the air. Particularly for the Astros.

Three takeaways from Nationals' Game 2 World Series win over the Astros

  Three takeaways from Nationals' Game 2 World Series win over the Astros The Nationals head home to D.C. up 2-0 in the World Series after their 12-3 win over the Astros in Game 2.The Nationals used a six-run seventh inning to pull away from the Astros and take Game 2 of the World Series 12-3.

Houston Astros and Washington Nationals , two teams with a less than illustrious past, take centre stage in World Series having beaten dynasties on the way.

World Series preview : How the Nationals and Astros stack up. The 115th World Series kicks off Tuesday night when the Houston Astros play host to the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park.

The Nationals will almost certainly entrust Sanchez with one start, especially after his stupendous performance against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS. The Astros, on the other hand, have given Miley just 2 2/3 innings so far this postseason and didn't even include him on their ALCS roster.

But with the New York Yankees' heavily right-handed lineup in the rearview mirror, the Astros will probably want to deploy a lefty, and Miley is their sole southpaw. Of course, even if Miley gets a start, it could quickly become a bullpen game.

Alternatively, Brad Peacock and Jose Urquidy could be options.

Lineup

The Nationals have a ton of options beyond their top four hitters. Instead of giving Kendrick designated hitter duties, they could go with Zimmerman in that role. Zimmerman's more likely to garner a pinch-hit, however, and he's easier to replace defensively. In a late runners-on situation, look for Dave Martinez to turn to Matt Adams at that spot.

Three takeaways from Astros' Game 3 World Series win over Nationals

  Three takeaways from Astros' Game 3 World Series win over Nationals Houston beat Washington 4-1 on the road to get back into contention for its second championship in three seasons. The Astros were led by José Altuve, who finished 2 of 5 at the plate with two runs scored. Meanwhile, Asdrúbal Cabrera and Adam Eaton led the Nationals' losing efforts as they both finished 2 of 4 on the night.Josh James was awarded the win after 1/3 inning of work while Roberto Osuna got his second save. Aníbal Sánchez was stuck with the loss.Houston's victory broke Washington's eight-game winning streak in the postseason.

Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel celebrates after forcing out Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager in the 9th inning to win Game 7 Houston won 101 times this year to take the AL West, then won Games 6 and 7 at home in the AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

The 2019 World Series between the Nationals and Astros will begin on Tuesday night. Obviously winning Game 1 bodes well for the victor -- after all, it means they need just three more victories to secure the title , whereas their opponent still requires four -- but how big is the swing between winning

Further down the lineup, Martinez could opt for Brian Dozier over Cabrera at second base, though the latter got more reps and performed better down the stretch.

Beyond that, count on the inclusion of Michael A. Taylor as a late-inning defensive replacement/pinch runner, with Kurt Suzuki continuing his tandem with Gomes behind the dish.

The Astros are so deep they can specifically tailor their bench pieces to their opponent. Martin Maldonado will be included to work catcher alongside Chirinos, with Jake Marisnick and Aledmys Diaz the obvious defensive options in the outfield and infield, respectively.

Assuming Houston goes with an eight-man bullpen, the Astros will have one spot for either Myles Straw or Kyle Tucker. With three games taking place in a National League park, expect Straw to be the option; he's the better pinch runner, and manufacturing runs against the Nationals' rotation could be the difference.

Nationals' ice-cold offense can't find big hit as World Series lead disappears

  Nationals' ice-cold offense can't find big hit as World Series lead disappears The Nationals offense has suddenly gone silent. After scoring 17 runs in the first two games, they have only scored two runs in their last two losses.After scoring 17 runs in the first two games of the World Series, the Nationals have only been able to score a meager two runs in their last two losses to the Houston Astros in Games 3 and 4 at Nationals Park.

The Astros and Nationals will square off with a title on the line.

The 2019 World Series will pit the American League champion Houston Astros against the By virtue of the superior regular season record, the Astros have home-field advantage in this World All that in one series for the belt and the title . What's more is that if the series goes the full seven games

Bullpen

Washington's bullpen was dubious during the regular season, to say the least, and it seems Martinez still doesn't trust anyone except Doolittle and Hudson to do the heavy lifting.

That said, Rainey and Rodney will likely have to enter in a big moment at some point - regardless of how many times the Nats call on starters out of the 'pen. Strickland and Suero are bubble options, and either could be left off for Javy Guerra. Either way, it seems unlikely any two of those pitchers appear in the same game.

The biggest question in the Astros' bullpen is whether or not Pressly is healthy. If not, Bryan Abreu is the likely addition. The 22-year-old rookie struck out 40.6% of batters he faced at the major-league level over a short 8 2/3 innings of work, and he's already made one playoff appearance in a mop-up role.

Pressly's health aside, Osuna and Harris remain in the highest-leverage roles. Smith will serve as the bridge man with Peacock, James, and Urquidy as multi-inning options.

Epic pitching matchup

a man holding a baseball bat: Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images Sport / Getty© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Talk surrounding this World Series will be all about the pitching. And deservedly so: These are likely the two best rotations to ever go head-to-head in the Fall Classic.

Three takeaways from Astros' World Series Game 5 win over Nationals

  Three takeaways from Astros' World Series Game 5 win over Nationals The Astros haven now won three straight to take a 3-2 series lead over the Nationals as the teams head back to Houston for Game 6.Many thought Houston was dead in the water after Washington stole the first two games on the road to take a 2-0 series lead. But the veteran-laden team never folded and stormed back to win all three games in D.C.

Our experts seem to be torn on the outcome of the Fall Classic, but most expect a lengthy series .

This year pits the Houston Astros against the Washington Nationals . After defeating the New York Yankees 6–4 on Saturday to secure their spot in They last won the title in 2017. After besting the St. Louis Cardinals last week, the Nationals are headed to the World Series for the first time since the

The Nationals have ridden the outsized contributions of Strasburg to their first pennant. The No. 1 overall pick of 2009 currently has the third-lowest postseason ERA in MLB history among starters with at least six starts, trailing only Sandy Koufax and Christy Mathewson.

Houston, meanwhile, is coming off a franchise-best 107-win regular season and its third straight 100-victory campaign. This team is a juggernaut in every sense of the word. Cole best personifies the Astros' dominance, having not lost since May, including postseason play.

Nats make it after losing Harper

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The biggest story in D.C. heading into the World Series is the Nationals' exorcism of playoff demons past in their first season without Bryce Harper. Harper left as a free agent this past winter, signing a 13-year, $330-million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

It should be noted: Harper is still one of the best hitters - if not the best - to ever play for the Nationals, and his absence is certainly not an asset to Washington.

In his place, however, is a budding superstar, a 20-year-old who stands poised to become a household name as he takes the sport's biggest stage. Juan Soto finished as the runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year as a teenager in 2018 and has been one of the most elite hitters in the league ever since. He also absolutely oozes confidence.

MLB bans women who flashed their chests behind home plate during Game 5 of World Series

  MLB bans women who flashed their chests behind home plate during Game 5 of World Series MLB has indefinitely banned two women who flashed their chests on television during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night. MLB spokesman Michael Teevan told USA TODAY Sports that the league has "distributed a letter to the individuals in question, and the letter set for an indefinite ban for each."The league's letter informed the women that they violated the league's code of fan conduct by exposing themselves to "promote a business.

The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals will play in the 2019 World Series . Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman were teammates at Virginia for one season in 2005 when the Cavaliers made a run to NCAA regionals.

The Astros celebrated with pitcher Charlie Morton after defeating the Dodgers to claim their first World Series title .CreditCreditMatt Slocum/Associated Press. With their backs against the wall, the Dodgers went to their biggest gun early, and brought in Clayton Kershaw as a reliever to start the third.

3 things to watch for

Corbin vs. Greinke

Patrick Corbin, Zack Greinke are posing for a picture: Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty

Though it may pale in comparison to the matchups of the first two games, Game 3 will feature a duel between two pitchers who were Arizona Diamondbacks teammates just one year ago. Both have also made notable appearances at Nationals Park as members of the NL All-Star team. Now, they clash as foes in the biggest battle of all.

Corbin used an incredible platform season with the Diamondbacks to earn a six-year, $140-million payday in Washington this past winter. In his first season as a National, he didn't disappoint. The left-hander threw the second-most innings of his career, authoring a 3.25 ERA and 3.49 FIP. And though he's allowed 11 runs over 13 1/3 innings this postseason, Corbin's peripherals are remarkable - he's struck out 26 of the 63 batters he's faced.

The veteran Greinke, meanwhile, joined Houston as a midseason acquisition from Arizona this year. The 35-year-old posted a 3.02 ERA and 3.28 FIP over 10 starts with his new club down the stretch, but he's looked rather beatable in the playoffs, mustering a 6.43 ERA and 6.86 FIP in three games.

Yordan Alvarez, pinch hitter

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Neither team will be able to play its designated hitter once the series moves to Nationals Park for Games 3-5, which means Alvarez will take a seat on the bench.

This really isn't the worst development for the Astros after the rookie slugger went a measly 1-for-22 with two walks and 12 strikeouts in their ALCS clash with the Yankees. A bad series doesn't mean they've given up on the 22-year-old, though. Alvarez is still likely to pinch hit, doing so in at least one big moment.

Don't look for Alvarez to come off the bench against lefty closer Doolittle, but bet on AJ Hinch deploying him with runners on against Hudson or perhaps Rodney.

Nats generating runs

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Runs will be at a premium in this series, and the Nationals know it. Expect Turner to get the green light, along with one or both of Robles and Taylor.

Watch for Washington's baserunners to test Chirinos' arm when he's behind the plate. He's been essentially league average - or just below - at preventing the run game throughout his entire career. Testing Maldonado, however, might be too dangerous for Martinez to stomach.

Maldonado went 17-for-35 catching would-be thieves last season, leading the league with a 49% rate. Steals are good, but running into outs is very, very bad.

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Gerrit Cole's comments after World Series loss could mark odd finish to Astros tenure .
Cole, now a free agent, went unused in Game 7.The star right-hander, now a free agent, was not in a good mood afterward in ways that perhaps went beyond losing a championship decider. Held out by manager A.J. Hinch in the 6-2 defeat — apparently because he was being saved for a closer's role that never materialized — he did not want to speak with reporters.

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