The Astros lost Game 6 of the World Series to the Nationals 7-2 with the winner-take-all game seven at Minute Maid Park Wednesday night. Stephen Strasburg was masterful and the long ball really hurt the 'Stros even with Justin Verlander on the hill.
This has genuinely been one of the weirder World Series in recent memory. The games have been decided by an average of five runs per contest with the loser scoring more than three runs only once and one run three times. Then there is the fact that this is the first series in the history of sports that has ever seen the road team each of the first six games.
And Game 6 had plenty of oddball moments, enough in fact that it seemed like a good candidate for four winners/four losers.
The Road Team
Never have we seen this kind of road dominance in a seven-game series and it is absolutely confounding. The Astros won 60 games at Minute Maid Park in the regular season, yet they have dropped three at home in this series. It is one of the strangest things you'll ever see in sports.
The Nationals Pitching Situation
It is hard to imagine the pitching lining up better for the Nats going into game seven. Strasburg went eight-and-a-third allowing nearly their entire bullpen and other starters to rest. Max Scherzer, who was scratched from game five with back and neck spasms, will start game seven, but they have two other starters plus their best bullpen arms available.
The Lamar High School and Rice University product struggled in the last three games in D.C., but coming home to Houston on Tuesday suited him as he had five RBIs including a two-run home run and a two-run double to seal the game. Like Gerrit Cole, Rendon stands to make a LOT of money in free agency this offseason.
Strasburg has been the best pitcher in the postseason and he showed why on Tuesday. After a rough first inning where he apparently tipped some of his pitches and the Astros took advantage with a pair of runs, he shut them down after allowing only three hits and two walks after the first with seven strikeouts. He was practically untouchable.
There was a bizarre moment in the seventh when Trae Turner hit a soft grounder that was picked up by Brad Peacock and thrown toward first. Turner hit the glove of Yuli Gurriel and the ball got away. Turner and Yan Gomes advanced to second and third with no outs. But, Turner was called out for running inside the baseline causing interference. Instead of two in scoring position and no outs, the Nats had a man on first with one out.
The rule has been a point of contention for some time and is considered a judgment call on the field. The Nats protested and the umps called the league office even though the play was not reviewable, nor was the protest. It didn't matter for the Nats, who went up 5-2 on Rendon's home run two batters later.
Dave Martinez's Protestations
The Nationals manager went absolutely ballistic during the seventh inning stretch (during Take Me Out to the Ballgame, in fact). He was obviously still mad about the call in the top of the inning despite being up 5-2. He had to be held back from the officiating crew as he flew into a wild rage, hurling expletives that were fairly easy to make out even without sound. Martinez was tossed and given the lead in the game, it seemed pretty wasted and kind of stupid.
Justin Verlander, World Series Pitcher
Verlander will be a first ballot Hall of Famer, but it won't be off of his World Series resume. He only gave up three runs on Tuesday, but he wound up with his sixth win in the Series, now 0-6, the worst record for any pitcher ever. As good as he has been throughout his career, he probably won't look back on the games he pitched in the World Series with fondness.
An Astros podcaster and tweeter predicted pretty accurately what would happen in both games four and five. As such, he was affectionately given the moniker Astrodamus. For game six, he predicted an Astros win and a few other misses. Better luck in game seven, Astrodamus.
Bonus Loser: Exciting Games
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For any average fan of baseball, this has been an insanely boring series. Each game has featured a dominant pitcher and a puny offense. Only one game was decided by a single run. The rest were decided by 9, 3, 7, 6 and 5. So much for close games. Not that we would complain about a game seven blowout win by the Astros or anything, but still.
Bonus Bonus Loser: Hakeem-Clyde Ceremonial First Pitch