Most of us that watched the first few games of the World Series weren’t sure that this series would go to six games, as the Nationals came out of the gates red hot. But, here we are, heading into Game 6 with Houston coming off of three straight victories in Washington.
The matchup is set for Tuesday night at 8:07 pm ET, with Stephen Strasburg going up against Justin Verlander. With this high-quality pitching matchup, the game could be one for the ages. Currently, the moneyline has Washington +161 and Houston -176, with the over/under set at 7.5. Let’s get it on.
Rolling At The Right Time
Astros center-fielder George Springer got off to a bit of a rough start in the 2019 postseason, collecting only three total bases on three hits in the American League Division Series to go along with only one walk and an OPS of .325. Springer did show a slight improvement in the American League Championship Series, improving his OPS to .676, and adding a couple of home runs. In the World Series so far, Springer’s OPS has skyrocketed to 1.217. Springer has also walked six times, one more than he had in the ALDS and ALCS combined.
Alex Bregman has also had a bit of a slow postseason, but in true Bregman fashion, he busted out of his shell in Game 4, racking up three hits and five RBI, including the dagger in the seventh inning: A grand slam off of Nationals reliever Fernando Rodney. Even in a slow Bregman postseason, he’s been great at home. His OPS at home this postseason is .932, compared to .688 on the road.
Justin Verlander seems to be aging in reverse yet again this season, putting together another Cy Young-contending run. While Verlander carries a 2019 postseason ERA of 3.35 into Tuesday night’s matchup, he’s also been susceptible to the long ball this October. Verlander has allowed six home runs in his last four starts, and also allowed seven hits and four earned runs in his Game 2 start.
Keep Cinderella Alive
The 2019 Nationals have been an extremely fascinating group, reminiscent of the 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. The roster always should’ve been near the top of the league, but they played so poorly in the first half of the season, they had to get ridiculously hot after the All-Star break, which they did.
The Nats beat the National League’s best record in the National League Division Series, taking the Dodgers out in five. They went on to take care of business by sweeping the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. Then they came out on fire in Houston, beating the Astros twice on their own turf. Of course, the Astros then beat the Nationals three straight on their own turf, and here we are.
Strasburg, much like Verlander did in the American League, put together a great season, setting new career highs in strikeouts with 251 and innings pitched with 209. He is 4-0 this postseason, including a three-inning relief appearance in the Wild Card Game in which he earned a win. The Nationals have also won in all five of his postseason appearances this year.
Will There Be A Game 7?
For the first time in these playoffs, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon has cooled off. Rendon has only four hits in the World Series over 22 plate appearances. On the bright side, Rendon has a couple of doubles and a couple of RBI and has only struck out twice. His contact needs to start paying off if the Nats have any shot at taking this to a Game 7.
In my estimation, I don’t believe we will see a Game 7. The Astros at home with Verlander on the mound are a tough mountain for any team to climb. If any team could, maybe it’s the Cinderella Nationals, giving Washington one more shot to take the title. The pick is the Astros to bring home the trophy with a win in Game 6. It should also be noted that there have been fewer than eight runs scored in only one game of this World Series when five runs were scored in Game 3.