The World Series Shifts To Our Nation’s Capital

After two games in Houston, the Nationals are two wins away from their first ever World Series Championship. Now, the World Series shifts to Washington, DC and Nationals Park. This is a big moment for DC, who have witnessed two championships in the past few years. Both the Washington Capitals and the Mystics have won championships in DC. Now, the Nationals can be next.

For Houston, it’s officially crunch time. After aces Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander couldn’tworld series shifts stop the red hot Nats, Zack Greinke looks to stop the bleeding. As the World Series shifts to Nationals Park, the Nationals will rely on Anibal Sanchez to keep the ball rolling. After almost completing a no-hitter against the Cardinals, Sanchez looks to dominate in Game 3 on Friday night.

The World Series Shifts to DC

The Nationals look to dominate at home in Games 3 and 4 after two great wins. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasberg took control in their respective starts in Houston, while Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander took the loses for Houston. Ryan “Mr. National” Zimmerman, who is in his 15th season with DC, took Cole deep in the 2nd inning of Game 1 to get things started. Game 1 ended with a score of 5-4. Game 2 saw a battle of the aces between Strasberg and Verlander. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the 7th, the Nationals scored 6 runs off of Verlander. A home run by Kurt Suzuki led the way in that inning. The final score in Game 2 was 12-3.

Now, the Nationals head home to Nationals Park to try and complete the sweep. A possible Game 5 will also be held at Nationals Park. While the Nationals and Astros have named their Game 3 starters, their Game 4 starters for Saturday night have yet to be announced. For Houston, they’re looking to try and even the series. Their offense was hot in the ALCS, and it looks as though Alex Bregman is starting to find his groove, especially after hitting the two run home run off of Strasberg in the first inning.

World Series Predictions

Last time, I said that the Nationals were going to take it in seven games. After the last two games, and seeing how their offense exploded last night, I’m going with Nationals in five. Houston needs to figure out what is going on with Cole and Verlander, and hope that Greinke is up for the task of stopping DC tomorrow night. 2017 World Series MVP George Springer was off to a good start in the first game, but struggled in the second. The rest of Houston’s lineup needs to catch fire, especially now that it looks like Bregman is heating up after a slow start to the postseason.

For the Nationals, they need to stay hot. Juan Soto has been on a tear in Games 1 and 2. In Game 1, he went 3-4 with a home fun and a double. NLCS MVP Howkie Kendrick, who has been the DH the last two games, is slowly reheating. Game 1 wasn’t a good game for Kendrick, but he bounced back in Game 2, going 2-5 in the game. Pitching is also a key in the next set of games. With the next 2 or 3 games in DC, the DH is not an option, so pitchers will be batting. While DC is obviously used to this, the Astros will have to think of ways to keep their line up and bullpen intact.

If I were to pick an MVP for the series right now, I’d choose Yuli Gurriel for Houston, and Adam Eaton for the Nationals. Both players have come up big for their teams in the first two games, and I hope that they continue their success in the next games.

The Stage Has Been Set for the Championship Series

It’s hard not to watch the postseason, even though the Red Sox are not in it. This postseason had two teams looking for their first World Series win, one team looking for their 28th ring, and another looking to win their second. There’s even one team that has never made it this far. That team is the Washington Nationals. After tying up Game 5, they won it thanks to a grand slam off of Joe Kelly in the 10th inning.

The other Game 5’s were quite exciting as well. The Cardinals took care of business rightchampionship series off the bat. Literally. They scored ten runs in the first inning to beat the Braves in Atlanta 13-1. The Cardinals will be looking to get back to the World Series for the first time since 2013. First, they face the Washington Nationals tonight in the NLCS. Houston took down the Tampa Bay Rays last night with a 5-1 final, and will be facing the Yankees tomorrow night in the ALCS.

The Championship Series Begins Tonight

The National League Championship series begins tonight in St. Louis. Anibal Sanchez will go up against Miles Mikolas in the first game of the championship series. Last time out for Sanchez was on October 6th in which he pitched five innings only allowing one run off of four hits against the Dodgers. Mikolas last pitched against the Braves on October 7th, where he earned the win in the game while pitching in relief.

Game two of the National League Championship Series will be on Saturday afternoon prior to the American League Championship Series. The Cardinals will call on veteran Adam Wainwright for the game. The Nationals haven’t named a starter yet for the second game.

The Yankees and Astros start the American League Championship Series on Saturday night in Houston. Neither team has named a started, but this will be a series to watch. While the Astros look to return to the World Series after missing it last season, the Yankees will be looking to make an appearance in the World Series since 2009.

Notable Players in the Championship Series

By notable, I mean soon to be Free Agents. Players who are looking to not only lead their team to a World Series title, but a player who is showcasing himself to teams who may need him. One of those players is Astros catcher, Robinson Chirinos. He played in four of the five ALDS games against the Rays, batting .222 with one home run. In 2019, he hit .238 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI’s while being an everyday player.

Third baseman Anthony Rendon will be known as one of the guys who homered off of Clayton Kershaw in Game 5 of the NLDS. The 29 year old had a great 2019 season, batting .319 with 34 home runs and 126 RBI’s. He was named to his first All Star game this past season, and won the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2016. Another infielder that’s a free agent is Didi Gregorius. The 29 year old shortstop was traded to the Yankees prior to the 2015 season to fill the void left by Derek Jeter. Despite spending time on the injury list, Gregorius hit .238 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI’s in 78 plate appearances. He is batting .400 with a grand slam this postseason.

One name that will sound familiar to Red Sox fans is Daniel Hudson. The 33 year old relief pitcher was acquired by the Nationals at the 2019 trade deadline. Since joining DC’s bullpen, he was 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in 24 appearances. He also is 1-0 this postseason with a 0.00 ERA in four games. In 3.2 innings, he’s only allowed four hits and struck out five in the postseason.

ALCS Game 1: A Pitcher’s Duel and Silent Bats Lead to a Red Sox Loss

ALCS Game 1

Jon Lester faced Anibal Sanchez in Game 1. Courtesy of mlb.com

Indeed it was a pitcher’s duel between Anibal Sanchez and Jon Lester during the ALCS Game 1 last night between the Red Sox and Tigers. Lester pitched well, but could not get umpire Joe West on his side. Sanchez pitched well, too and got all the breaks from the home plate umpire. Pitches that were strikes with Sanchez were balls with Lester. The zone needs to remain consistent for both pitchers. You could see on many a players face the disappointment in calls. To add insult to injury, this is the weakest of the Tiger’s pitching rotation.

In my last blog I wrote about the importance of offense. Well, during Game 1 Red Sox bats were silent. The game featured 17 strikeouts by Detroit pitchers. The first Red Sox hit occurred in the 9th inning. How is this happening when Boston had the best record in the league during the regular season? What happened to the small ball?  Apparently we only get on base when we walk or get hit by pitches. Wonderful! Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and David Ortiz did nothing. Strange.

I believe the three days off hurt us offensively. Detroit played on Thursday and only had one day off. Again, I come back to momentum, and overcoming inertia as the X factor in all things sports. On the bright side, in previous ALCS series’, the Sox took it to 7 games.  I hope this is the case and my optimism is not misplaced.

Today is a new day. Let us hope that Red Sox bats do not subscribe to the belief that on the seventh day they rest (again). Let’s get fired up, hit some balls, steal some bases, and break the silence at Fenway Park.