World Series Preview


Both teams are backed by their strong pitching staff. The Astros with Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Zack Greinke and the Nationals with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin.

By Jack Woodard, Sports Editor

The MLB Playoffs have narrowed the field down to two as the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros will battle it out in the World Series.  Both teams fought their way to get to the spots they are currently in and the series should be thrilling to watch with the star-studded pitching rotations, power hitters, and of course the pressure of playoff baseball.  This article will break down everything you need to know about both of these teams for the upcoming series.

Let’s start with the Houston Astros.  The team that was many people’s favorite coming into the postseason has not disappointed so far.  The Astros road to the World Series was thrilling as they squeaked past the Rays in Game 5 and sent the Yankees packing in the ALCS on a walk-off homerun off the bat of José Altuve.  The Astros have been exhilarating to watch and will look to keep their success going. It all starts with Houston’s pitching rotation which is arguably the best in baseball. Gerrit Cole has been lights out all season and absolutely exceptional in the postseason. Cole had a 2.5 E.R.A. this year and made everything look easy.  Many people regarded him as one of the best pitchers in baseball but he has been on a quest this postseason to prove that he is THE best pitcher in baseball. Cole is 3-0 this postseason with a 0.4 E.R.A. and has just shut down any hitter facing him. Facing him has been a sure loss this postseason and teams have no answer to him.  Cole is backed up by seasoned veterans Justin Verlander (2.58 E.R.A.) and Zack Greinke (2.94 E.R.A.). Both of these guys are no strangers to playoff baseball and could easily be the 1 pitchers on any other roster. This three-headed pitching monster is downright terrifying for other teams to play and mustering runs will be a very tall task for the Nationals in this series.  As if that wasn’t enough, the Astros are an excellent fielding team and a great hitting team. The infield is anchored by José Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel, who all have strong bats and can provide runs at will. George Springer and Josh Reddick are the two key outfielders for this club that will look to keep things going behind the plate. The Nationals will have to pick their poison when facing this Houston team as they genuinely do not seem to have a weakness.  They were a 107 win team and have showed absolutely no signs of slowing down. Houston is confident and ready to win their second World Series since 2017.

The Nationals are clearly the underdog in this series but should not be counted at by any means.  The Nationals managed to come back after an atrocious start to the season to grab a Wildcard spot and then went on to beat the Dodgers in an upset for the ages and sweep the Cardinals.  The Nationals have been playing their best baseball of the year throughout this October and Houston should take them very seriously after they embarrassed St. Louis in the NLCS. Washington definitely has the pitching power to go toe-to-toe with Houston and is also backed by solid hitting.  The Nationals will play behind the arms of Max Scherzer (2.93 E.R.A.), Stephen Strasburg (3.32 E.R.A.), and Patrick Corbin (3.25 E.R.A.). A team with this pitching rotation has no business being called an underdog and should be not be taken lightly. The team is anchored by Anthony Rendon (.319 Batting average) who is arguably the best third baseman in all of baseball and has serious power behind the plate.  Rendon has been clutch all year and has been an absolute nightmare matchup for opposing pitchers. The team also has the power of young guns Juan Soto and Victor Robles who can come up with a huge hit at any time. Trea Turner provides solid hitting along with lightning speed on the bases and is a serious scoring threat. The Nationals also have two solid catchers in Gomes and Suzuki and a cast of solid and experienced players in Ryan Zimmerman, Howie Kendrick, Asdrúbal Cabrera, and Adam Eaton.  The Nationals are in the World Series for a reason and it will be certainly be interesting to see how they hit against the Astros.

The keys to winning this series for the Astros are to attack the Nationals pitching staff with their power and score runs to back their strong arms on the mound.  The Astros can win low scoring games with their pitching staff and any run support dramatically increases their chances of winning. The keys to winning this series for the Nationals are to stay in games in the late innings and attack the Astros bullpen (as it will be very difficult to come by runs against Cole, Verlander, and Greinke), to stay composed, and to try and match the Astros in pitching performances.  My player to watch for the Astros is Zack Greinke as he will likely be the Game 3 pitcher and has a very good chance to put the Nationals away in the series. He has struggled a little bit this postseason and it will be interesting to see how he performs in one of the biggest games of his long career. Greinke can determine this whole series and capture all the momentum for Houston. My player to watch for the Nationals is Anthony Rendon.  Rendon will need to show why he is an MVP candidate and lead his team in this series. Rendon needs to provide clutch hits as he has done all year and put his team in a position to win.

“This matchup is going to be a very good one to watch.  I think the Astros will win it in 6 because their pitching staff is outstanding and they have depth in their batting to back it up.  The Astros are the best team in baseball and have been throughout the season and will capture the crown in the World Series,” said junior Stanley Oseback.

This series certainly will be fun to watch and will truly show who the best team in baseball is.  My pick is the Astros in 5. Their pitching is too good not to carry them through this series and I think the Nationals pitchers will be overwhelmed by their hitting as well.  Playoff baseball is truly unpredictable and only time will tell what will happen in the 2019 World Series.