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 115th Edition of the Fall Classic

The 115th edition of the Fall Classic is finally set to go. For the National League, the Washington Nationals will be in their first fall classic, while the American League Champions the Houston Astros will be looking for their second championship in three years. The first game is set to take place on Tuesday night in Houston.

This series will be one nobody should miss. From dominate pitchers to the offensivefall classic abilities of both teams, this will be one to remember. While the Nationals have had about a week off before starting the fall classic, Jose Altuve walked it off against the Yankees on Saturday night. Let’s take a look at both teams before the first pitch is thrown, shall we?

Looking At The Fall Classic

The first game of the 2019 World Series is set for Tuesday night at 8:08pm at Minute Maid Park. The Nationals will have Max Scherzer going in the first game, followed by Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin. For Houston, It’ll be Gerrit Cole for game one, followed by Justin Verlander, and Zack Greinke.

For the Astros, this will be their third trip to the World Series. As a member of the National League, they lost in 2005 to the Chicago White Sox. They went back in 2017 as a member of the American League, and beat the LA Dodgers in seven games. Now, here they are once again looking for the teams next title. As for the Nationals, this is the team’s first run at the World Series since moving from Montreal. The last Washington team to win the World Series was the Washington Senators in 1924. The team was relocated to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Minnesota Twins.

The Washington Nationals Look For First Title

After sweeping the Cardinals at Nationals Park, the Washington Nationals sent DC into a playoff frenzy. Not too long ago, both the Washington Capitals and the Washington Mystics celebrated Championships. Now, the Nationals are four wins away from having another parade in the Nation’s Capitol.

Between their offense, and their talented rotation of Scherzer, Strasberg and Corbin, they will be the team to beat. They’ve overcome a lot in the postseason so far, and look to continue DC’s success at bringing home championships. The team’s first home game is on Friday, and Nationals Park will surely be packed with Nationals fans ready to sing the ever popular song, Baby Shark.

Houston’s Looking For Their Second Championship

It took all of six games to defeat the Yankees, and the Astros are four wins away from winning their second Championship in team history. After winning in 2017, they came close last year, but were defeated by the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. Now, they look to reclaim the trophy. First, they need to beat the Nationals, who have a lot to prove.

In the offseason, they acquired Gerrit Cole, and then acquired Zack Greinke at the trade deadline. With these two acquisitions in their rotation, they have been a dominate force in the American League. After winning the World Series in 2017, they kept most of their team, and they have been producing ever since.

World Series Prediction

I have the Nationals winning in seven games. Yes, the Astros have a great core group that was there when they won in 2017. However, the stats seem to side more with DC. The Nationals weren’t supposed to make it this far. Now, after beating the Dodgers and Cardinals, here they are. It’ll be a fun and historic series, there’s no doubt about it. Still, I see a parade in DC. Sorry Houston, you may have a problem in this series.

The Red Sox, MLB, and the Postseason

Despite the fact that the Red Sox are not in the postseason, it’s hard not to watch this year’s postseason games. Right now, three series are heading into Game five of the Division Series. As for one team, they’re already in the Championship Series after sweeping the Minnesota Twins. For the National League side, Game five is today, while the Astros take on the Rays tomorrow night.

Over the course of the past week, the Red Sox and MLB have been making a few moves.the postseason Teams such as the Mets and Pirates have let go of their managers. For the Red Sox, coaches like Dana LeVangie have either been reassigned, or are no longer with the organization. 2020 is already shaping up to be an interesting season, and the offseason hasn’t even started yet.

The Postseason and the National League Division Series

The National League Division series wraps up tonight. The postseason for the National League has been quite interesting. The Washington Nationals took the Wild Card game from the popular Milwaukee Brewers to go on and face the Dodgers. Now, both the Nationals and Dodgers are in LA to find out who moves onto the Championship Series. Longtime National, Stephen Strasburg will go up against Walker Buehler in the winner takes all game. If I were to take a guess as to who moves on, I’d say the Nationals. While both teams are hungry to win, the Nationals have more to prove.

The next game features the Atlanta Braves and the St Louis Cardinals. Game four looked to be a winner for the Braves, but Yadier Molina and the Cards had other plans. Game four went into extra innings at Busch Stadium, and was won on a walk off by Molina. Jack Flaherty will be pitching for the Cardinals in Atlanta versus Mike Foltynewicz. For this game, I see the Braves winning and moving on.

Houston May Have a Problem

Last night, the Astros sent their ace to the mound on short rest. However, Justin Verlander, who is usually dominate in the postseason, only lasted 3.2 innings, allowing four runs off of seven hits. The Rays went onto take game four with a 4-1 victory in Tampa Bay. Home runs from Tommy Pham and Willy Adames pushed the Rays to victory. Ryan Yarbrough earned the win in the game, pitching two innings, and allowed only two hits.

Game five is tomorrow night at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Rays will have Tyler Glasnow going up against Gerrit Cole. Whoever wins this game moves onto play the Yankees in the Championship Series on Saturday night. History would have the Astros winning and moving on, and I have to agree with that. The Rays had a great season this year, but their postseason may be over tomorrow night.

What’s Happening Around the MLB

While some teams are enjoying their postseason run, others are making changes to their organization. At the end of the 2019 season, Joe Maddon was let go by the Chicago Cubs. Reports that former Red Sox and Cubs catcher, David Ross is interviewing for the position, as is former Yankee manager, Joe Girardi.

The New York Mets have parted ways with their manager, Mickey Callaway on October 3rd. Callaway, who was a pitching coach with the Indians, became the manager of the Mets on October 23rd 2017. In 324 games with the Mets, he was 163-161. Another manager that was let go is Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1,456 games in Pittsburgh, Hurdle was 735-720 in the regular season. The 2013 NL Manager of the Year led the Pirates to the postseason in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Red Sox Update

The Red Sox have made some moves during the postseason. The first was announcing the departure of Assistant Hitting Coach, Andy Barkett. Another announcement was that Dana LeVangie will not be the pitching coach in 2020, but has been moved to the scouting department as a pro scout. Assistant Pitching Coach, Brian Bannister has also been named the Vice President of Pitching Development.

Other changes can, and will most likely be made within the next few weeks. The Red Sox still need to find a replacement for Dave Dombrowski as well. Once the postseason ends, the Red Sox will have another obstacle to face. The question as to who will continue their careers in Boston needs to be addressed. Also, will JD Martinez opt out of his contract? Only time can answer that question. This is going to be a long offseason in Red Sox Nation.

The Emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez

At the start of the 2019 season, nobody could have guessed that the ace of the rotation would be Eduardo Rodriguez. The emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez is something truly great this season. Despite the fact that the Red Sox probably won’t be making the post season, it’s hard to not look at Rodriguez’s season so far. At 49-30 in his career, he is one win away from his 50th MLB win.

Following last night’s win over the Minnesota Twins, Eduardo Rodriguez improved to 17-5eduardo rodriguez on the season. With a little less than a month left, he is on pace to have 20 wins for the first time in his career. The last Red Sox player to get to 20 wins was Rick Porcello in 2016. While the 2019 season hasn’t gone the way the Red Sox wanted, the emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez is remarkable.

Eduardo Rodriguez’s Backstory

Eduardo Rodriguez came to Boston at the 2014 trade deadline. The Red Sox traded Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles for Rodriguez, who was then assigned to the Portland Sea Dogs. In six starts with Portland, Rodriguez had a 3-1 record, and a 0.96 ERA. He then made the jump to the Pawtucket Red Sox, pitching in one game for them during their postseason in 2014.

During the offseason, the Red Sox placed him on the 40 man roster, which protected him from the Rule 5 Draft. Rodriguez started the 2015 campaign with the Pawtucket Red Sox, where he started in eight games. He posted a 4-3 record with Pawtucket, and had a 2.98 ERA.

On May 28th, 2015, the emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez came to the Red Sox’s aid. The Venezuelan born lefty made his Major League Debut that day against the Texas Rangers in Texas. Rodriguez went 7.2 innings, allowing three hits and striking out seven batters to earn his first MLB win.

How The Emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez Has Helped Boston

While the Red Sox rotation hasn’t been producing, one pitcher has been a workhorse on the mound. Despite loosing his first two starts of 2019, Eduardo Rodriguez has been a dominating force on the mound. In his third start of the season, Rodriguez went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs off of three hits. The Red Sox went onto win that game, and Rodriguez earned his first win of 2019.

Since his first start with Boston in 2015, Rodriguez has slowly become a dominate force on the mound. The emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez started last season, when he went 13-5, and posted a 3.82 ERA. So far this season, Rodriguez has increased his win total by four, and has a 3.81 ERA. If he continues to dominate, then he will get to 20 wins for the first time in his career.

Can Rodriguez Continue His Success In 2020

Last night, Rodriguez went seven innings, allowing five hits, and struck out eight batters. Rodriguez also lowered his ERA from 3.97 to 3.81, with no signs of slowing down. Rodriguez is 38 strikeouts away from reaching 700, and is in a three way tie with Domingo German and Justin Verlander for the most wins in the American League. If all continues to go well for him, don’t be surprised if Rodriguez wins, or is the runner up, for the Cy Young Award.

Will he be able to continue his success in 2020? I think so, and the stats don’t lie. Rodriguez has improved every season since joining the Red Sox in May 2015. Despite a poor 2016 and 2017, he has improved himself over the last few seasons. The emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez this season is something pretty special, and he is only just beginning. While everyone is worried about Chris Sale and David Price, Rodriguez has been the main person in the rotation for Boston. 2020 looks bright for Eduardo Rodriguez.

2019 MLB Top Five Starting Pitchers

Pitchers do not only win Cy Young awards, they win MVPs. Two starting pitchers have been named Most Valuable Player since 2011, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander. Some other starting pitches to win a MVP: Don Newcombe, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, and Roger Clemens. All of these players were top five starting pitchers for the majority of their respective careers.

Starting pitchers also get paid massive contracts. Both David Price (Red Sox) and ZackTop Five Starting Pitchers Greinke (Diamondbacks) signed free agent contracts in the 2016 off-season worth more than $30 million per year. Nationals ace Max Scherzer signed a 7-yr/$210 million contract a year earlier in 2015.

Starting pitchers also help teams by setting the tone. To begin last season’s World Series, Red Sox ace Chris Sale fired a strikeout on a 2-2 pitch to Dodgers second baseman Brian Dozier. The Sox went on to win the series in five games to capture their 9th World Series championship. Below is a list of 2019 MLB Top Five Starting Pitchers.

 Top Five Starting Pitchers – 5 – Corey Kluber (Cleveland Indians)

Kluber’s strengths are his high strikeout volume and durability. He has recorded at least 222 strikeouts and 203 innings pitched in five consecutive seasons. “Klubot” is a two-time Cy Young award winner and has finished in the top-3 voting of the Cy Young in four of the past five years. He is the ace of the Cleveland Indians and is under team control through 2021. The 32-year-old turns 33 in early April. He is still very much in his prime, as Kluber has won at least 18 games in three straight seasons.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 4 – Jacob deGrom (New York Mets)

Baseball’s best pitcher in 2018 was arguably Jacob deGrom. He won his first Cy Young after leading the MLB in ERA (1.70). He also finished in the top-5 in innings pitched, strikeouts, and WHIP. Ironically deGrom and Kluber both pitched for Stetson University in Central Florida. deGrom is the ace on the Mets starting staff, a rotation that also includes Noah Syndergaard, and is set to become a free agent after next season.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 3 – Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox)

Sale would be higher on this list had he pitched more starts last season. He finished 2018 with 27 starts, missing time in the second half due to a nagging shoulder injury. His ERA (2.11), WHIP (0.86), and FIP (1.98) were career bests, however, his 158 innings were the fewest since 2012. Sale has also surprisingly never won a Cy Young, even though he has been voted an All-Star in each of the past seven seasons. He has started the past three for the American League. Sale and the Red Sox recently agreed to a five-year extension on March 23rd.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 2 – Justin Verlander (Houston Astros)

When asked who is the best pitcher of this generation, most fans would argue Clayton Kershaw. The correct answer might actually be Verlander. The right-hander just turned 36 in February and is very much still in his prime. He has thrown at least 200 innings in 11 of the past 12 seasons. JV has finished second in Cy Young voting three times, including last year, when recorded career-highs in strikeouts (290), hits allowed, FIP, WHIP, and strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. Like Sale, Verlander was just awarded a contract extension for 2 years and became official today. Verlander has a plethora of playoff experience. He owns a 13-7 record, 3.19 ERA, and a 1.02 WHIP in 152 postseason innings.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 1 – Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)

“Mad Max” has been baseball’s best pitcher for the past six seasons. Since 2013, he has made the All-Star Game each season (started 3), finished in the Cy Young voting top-5 each season (won 3), and has struck out at least 240 batters in each season. In the past three years, Scherzer has led the National League in WHIP and strikeouts. The only slight on Scherzer’s resume is that he has not won a playoff start since the 2013 ALDS.

Honorable mentions: Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays), Aaron Nola (Philadelphia Phillies), Trevor Bauer (Cleveland Indians), Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers), Zack Greinke (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Chris Sale is Creeping Back Into the Cy Young Conversation

Believe it or not, but Chris Sale has never won a Cy Young award. Since entering the league, Boston’s ace has been nothing short of dominant year in and year out. His highest earned run average came in 2015 with the Chicago White Sox, when he posted a 3.41 with 13 wins and 11 losses. And he still messed around and placed fourth on the Cy Young ballot and earned an All-Star selection.

In his eight seasons as a starting pitcher, Chris Sale has appeared on the Cy Young ballot Chris Salesix times and finished as the runner-up last year in his first season with the Red Sox. He’s been named to the All-Star team in each of those seasons as well, and it’s only a matter of time before he takes home the most coveted pitching award in the MLB. On Sunday, Sale was announced as an All-Star for the seventh straight year. While he came out of the gates a bit shaky this year, Chris Sale’s recent performances has him right back where he belongs: firmly in the conversation for the best pitcher in the American League.

Last season, Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians took home the honor, and he deserved it. He went 18-4 with a 2.25 ERA and led his club to a first place finish in the AL Central. Kluber had the lowest WHIP (0.869) of any starter on the ballot, and the second most strikeouts (265). Who had the most strikeouts you ask? That would be Chris Sale, whose 308 punchouts comfortably led the entire MLB. The next closest was NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer with 268.

Chris Sale’s Competition

Sale’s competition this year will feature some familiar, and talented, names. Yankee ace Luis Severino, who placed third in voting last year, is building a strong case with his 14-2 record, 143 Ks, and 2.12 ERA, the second-best in the American League. Justin Verlander is emerging as an early favorite to take home his second career Cy Young with his 2.15 ERA and 154 strikeouts. Kluber, at 12-4 with a 2.49 ERA, will likely return to the ballot as well.

In comparison, the Red Sox ace leads the American League in strikeouts with 176, 18 ahead of Gerrit Cole’s tally of 158. His 2.36 ERA ranks fourth in the American League, and his WHIP of 0.89 is good for third, with Kluber (0.88) and Verlander (0.84) just edging him out. Lastly, Sale leads the AL in strikeouts per nine innings at 13.0, and if it holds this would be the fourth season he has done so.

Where Chris Sale will falter to his competition will be his record, as he is just 9-4 on the year. However, his wins and losses serve as a poor reflection of his performance this year. The Red Sox seemingly hate giving their ace any sort of run support. On the year, the Red Sox average 4.65 runs in games started by Sale, and it’s reflected in his four losses and an additional six no-decisions. Granted, I’m not saying Chris Sale has been perfect, but I am saying some more runs would go a long way.

Back in Form

Sale truly returned to form in June, striking out 60 and going 3-2 with a 1.76 ERA. The Red Sox scored a combined three runs in those two losses. His lone start in July follows the same positive trend, as he punched out 12 and secured a win behind 10 runs from his offense. He has won his last three starts, and, in those games, the Red Sox have scored 26 total runs.

Chris Sale still has some work to do if he wants to take home the honor this year. His slider is still one of the deadliest pitches in the league. He must sustain his recent dominance to keep pace with his competition. This offense has shown they are more than capable of providing run support, and if they simply do so when Sale is on the bump, his case for the American League Cy Young will continue to strengthen.