The Astros came back from a Game 1 loss to the New York Yankees in the ALCS to beat them in six games. They will need to do the same thing in the World Series as they fell to the Nationals 5-4 Tuesday. After going up 2-0 early, the Astros saw the Nationals fight back and put five runs on starter Gerrit Cole who had previously been virtually untouchable for well over a month. Meanwhile, the Astros worked their way back into the game with two runs off Nats relievers.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, ending the night with a one-two-three ninth from Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa. Game 2is Wednesday night, so they won't have much time to think about the loss. Here are some thoughts.
For all the hoopla surrounding the starting pitching matchups in this series, Game 1 was a bit of a pitching dud. Gerrit Cole uncharacteristically gave up five runs, all earned, with only six strikeouts in seven innings while Nats starter Max Scherzer gave up just two runs and exited after only five innings thanks to a high pitch count. It wasn't exactly the pitchers duel fans were expecting, but it definitely made things interesting. Wednesday promises another marquee match-up featuring Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg. Hopefully, the Astros can get the better of that one.
Nats Bullpen Got Work
After Scherzer left the game at the end of the fifth, the Nats had to do something they haven't done much in the postseason: turn things over to the bullpen. The Astros got two runs and nearly turned the entire game around. Throwing five pitchers including their proposed game three starter out of the 'pen is something to watch. The Astros tend to improve with reps against other teams' pitching, particularly a staff that isn't all that great to begin with. Perhaps it will be something they can exploit later in the series.
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Springer Dinger Record
George Springer's seventh inning home run gave him five straight World Series games with a long ball. That broke the previous record held by Lou Gehrig and Reggie Jackson. Springer has made himself into one of the best postseason players in history and even if he hasn't hit for average this postseason, he continues to have clutch at bats and add to his already impressive playoff resume.
RISP (2-10) left 11
The story of game one for the Astros was their inability to get runners in scoring position (RISP) across the plate. They were 2-10 in those circumstances, stranding 11 men on base. As close as this game was, a couple timely hits and this game could have been a blowout. The 'Stros average with runners at second or third this postseason is well below .200. The were tenth in baseball during the season. They need to improve that.