World Series: Nats Bring the Hammer to Houston, Pound Out a 2-0 Lead
Question: What do you give a team that's won 18 of its last 20 games and 8 in a row in the post-season?
Answer: Absolutely nothing. That'll only make it worse.
The Houston Astros discovered this the hard way -- as if they didn't know it already -- by committing everything they didn't do on their way to a 107-win regular season and a playoff romp to the World Series.
And when it all happened in the late innings of Game 2, the wheels really came off the wagon.
The 'Stro' 12-3 loss in this one puts them down two games to none
Justin Verlander began his outing serving up red meat to the Nationals in the first inning, got into a rhythm for a while, and then threw BP in Washington's 6-run seventh.
It wasn't enough to tempt fate by missing his spots. He was missing them inside the zone.
Thus, Verlander's playoff irony continued:
- Dude's now rung up a record 200 post-season strikeouts, but
- Despite his 14-9 playoff record, he's now winless in six World Series starts and 0-5 in those decisions.
Maybe he's allergic to the Fall Classic or something.
Justin Verlander tried to make a play while falling down and ended up throwing the ball into his own leg 😂 pic.twitter.com/skNCND0NTE— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 24, 2019
This futility spans Verlander's time with Detroit to his tenure with Houston:
- 2006 Game 1: 5 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 8 K, 2 BB
- 2006 Game 5: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4 K, 3 BB
- 2012 Game 1: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 K, 1 BB
- 2017 Game 2: 6 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 5 K, 2 BB
- 2017 Game 6: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 9 K, 0 BB
Meanwhile, Stephen Strasburg's been waiting seven years for this moment.
Washington made a controversial decision back then to shut him down for the playoffs due to his return from Tommy John surgery and a season-long innings count.
Maybe that's accounted for his longevity and continued exellence since then, but in any case, dude made his first Series start a memorable one.
In support, the Nats' attack aggressively took advantantage of everything Houston had to offer to stun the 'Stros crowd for the second night in a row:
Seamheads have the stats to back up a claim that teams winning the Series' first two games have an 80% shot at hoisting the hardware.
However, it's difficult to conceive Houston won't make this a battle royale.
If they're gonna do that, the first order of business is to prove they're as solid a road team as Washington is.