A look at the best-of-seven World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros:
Schedule: (All times EDT) Game 1, Tuesday, at Houston, 8:08 p.m.; Game 2, Wednesday, at Houston, 8:07 p.m.; Game 3, Friday, at Washington, 8:07 p.m.; Game 4, Saturday, at Washington, 8:07 p.m.; x-Game 5, Sunday, Oct. 27, at Washington, 8:07 p.m.; x-Game 6, Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Houston, 8:07 p.m.; x-Game 7, Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Houston, 8:08 p.m. (All games on FOX).
Season Series: Did not play.
Nationals: SS Trea Turner (.298, 19 HRs, 57 RBIs, 37 2Bs, 35 SBs, 96 runs), RF Adam Eaton (.279, 15, 49, 15 SBs, 103 runs), 3B Anthony Rendon (.319, 34, 126, 44 2Bs, 117 runs, 1.010 OPS), LF Juan Soto (.282, 34, 110, 110 runs, .949 OPS), 2B Howie Kendrick (.344, 17, 62), 1B Ryan Zimmerman (.257, 6, 27 in 52 games), DH Asdrúbal Cabrera (.260, 18, 91 in 131 games with Texas and Washington) or Matt Adams (.226, 20, 56, 115 Ks, 310 ABs in 111 games), C Kurt Suzuki (.264, 17, 63) or Yan Gomes (.223, 12, 43 in 97 games), CF Victor Robles (.255, 17, 65, 28 SBs).
Astros: CF George Springer (.292, 39, 96), 2B Jose Altuve (.298, 31, 74), LF Michael Brantley (.311, 22, 90, 40 2Bs), 3B Alex Bregman (.296, 41, 112, 37 2Bs, 119 BBs, 122 runs), 1B Yuli Gurriel (.298, 31, 104, 40 2Bs), SS Carlos Correa (.279, 21, 59 in 75 games), DH Yordan Álvarez (.313, 27, 78 in 87 games), C Martín Maldonado (.213, 12, 27 in 105 games with Royals, Cubs and Astros) or Robinson Chirinos (.238, 17, 58), RF Josh Reddick (.275, 14, 56).
Nationals: RH Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92 ERA, 243 Ks, 172 1/3 IP), RH Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32, 251 Ks, NL-high 209 IP in 33 starts), LH Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.25, 238 Ks, 202 IP), RH Aníbal Sánchez (11-8, 3.85).
Astros: RH Gerrit Cole (20-5, AL-best 2.50, MLB-leading 326 Ks), RH Justin Verlander (21-6, 2.58, career-high 300 Ks, led majors with 223 IP), RH Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 with Arizona and Houston), RH José Urquidy (2-1, 3.95 in 9 games, 7 starts) or LH Wade Miley (14-6, 3.98).
Nationals: RH Daniel Hudson (6-3, 3.00 ERA, 2 saves with Toronto; 3-0, 1.44, 6 saves with Washington), LH Sean Doolittle (6-5, 4.05 ERA, 29/35 saves), RH Tanner Rainey (2-3, 3.91), RH Fernando Rodney (0-2, 9.42 with Oakland; 0-3, 4.05, 2 saves with Washington), RH Javy Guerra (3-1, 4.66, 2 saves with Toronto and Washington), LH Roenis Elías (4-2, 3.96, 14 saves with Seattle and Washington; all 14 career saves for Mariners this season), RH Austin Voth (2-1, 3.30 in 9 games, 8 starts).
Astros: RH Roberto Osuna (4-3, 2.63, 38/44 saves), RH Will Harris (4-1, 1.50), RH Ryan Pressly (2-3, 2.32), RH Brad Peacock (7-6, 4.12), RH Joe Smith (1-0, 1.80), RH Josh James (5-1, 4.70), RH Héctor Rondón (3-2, 3.71), RH Bryan Abreu (0-0, 1.04, 13 Ks, 8 2/3 IP in 7 games).
First postseason meeting between the teams, who share spring training complex that opened 2017 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Nationals won first five of six Grapefruit League matchups this year. … This is first World Series appearance in 51-season history of Nationals franchise that began as Montreal Expos in 1969 and moved to Washington before 2005 campaign. Last time nation’s capital had a pennant winner was 1933 Senators. Only championship came in 1924. … Astros making third trip to World Series and seeking second title after beating Los Angeles Dodgers on road in Game 7 two years ago. … Houston earned home-field advantage this time by compiling best regular-season record in majors. … Astros opened as more than a 2-1 betting favorite in Las Vegas. … Wild-card Nationals got six days off after 4-0 sweep of St. Louis in NL Championship Series. Houston had two days off after beating Yankees in six-game ALCS. Last year, Boston had two more days of rest than Dodgers before Series and won. But before that, the past nine champions were the clubs that had less time off. … Scherzer and Verlander were teammates in Detroit from 2010-14. They led Tigers to four straight division titles and 2012 World Series berth. Each won a Cy Young Award there, too. … Rendon was born and raised in Houston and went to college there at Rice. He went to high school a few miles from Minute Maid Park and lives in the Houston suburbs during the offseason. In his second major league game back home, he went 4 for 5 with a homer and 3 RBIs on April 30, 2014. He is 9 for 20 in his career at Minute Maid Park. … Astros starting pitchers went 79-37 and led majors in wins. Washington’s were fourth at 66-36. … Nationals starters ranked second with 3.53 ERA. Houston was third at 3.61. … Washington starters threw 938 2/3 innings, second-most in majors. Astros were fourth with 907 1/3. … Houston starters topped majors in strikeouts (1,063), while Nationals finished second with 1,010. … Washington starters threw just 15 wild pitches, fewest in majors. … Washington is batting .308 (20 for 65) in October with runners in scoring position, best among playoff teams. Houston ranks fifth at .175 (14 for 80). … Nationals tied for NL lead with 116 stolen bases this season and set franchise record with 231 homers. … Washington’s bullpen ERA of 5.68 was worst in NL and ranked 29th in majors. To help cover, Nationals used Strasburg, Scherzer and Corbin in relief during playoffs. Unit has been more effective in postseason, with Doolittle regaining All-Star form and Hudson emerging as closer. … Houston bullpen ERA of 3.75 was second in majors behind Rays. … Pressly, an All-Star this season, aggravated surgically repaired right knee in ALCS finale but said he’ll be ready for World Series. … Astros went MLB-best 60-21 at home this season and 5-1 during AL playoffs. Washington is 4-1 on road in postseason.
Nationals: Surged to playoff spot for fifth time in eight years by turning things around after dismal start; Nats were 19-31 after May 23 loss to Mets completed four-game sweep. Washington is first team in more than a century to fall 12 games below .500 and finish with 93 wins or more. … There were plenty of early calls for manager Dave Martinez to be dismissed, but GM Mike Rizzo never wavered in his public support of the skipper. In the end, Washington (93-69) won 11 more games than in 2018, when it missed playoffs after two straight NL East titles under manager Dusty Baker, who was then fired. … In first season since star slugger Bryce Harper left as a free agent, Washington finally got over playoff hump in October after four NLDS heartbreaks in six seasons - three in Game 5 at home. Nationals rallied late on big hit by Soto to win wild-card game against Milwaukee and did it again in Game 5 of Division Series against NL-best Dodgers in Los Angeles. Rendon and Soto homered on consecutive pitches from three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to tie score in eighth inning, then Kendrick hit grand slam in 10th for 7-3 victory. Nationals won a playoff series for first time since club moved to Washington and became first team in major league history to come back from three or more runs down twice in elimination games during same postseason. … No such dramatics were necessary in NL Championship Series as Nationals completely shut down Cardinals and outscored them 20-6 for four-game sweep. Sánchez took no-hit bid into eighth inning of opener and Scherzer carried one into seventh the next day. Strasburg and Corbin each struck out 12 in final two games. Kendrick had big series at plate and was NLCS MVP. … Team success is built mainly on strong starting rotation, which is among best in majors, led by Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin. Those three all ranked in top 10 in NL in ERA, strikeouts and opponents’ batting average. … This is Nationals’ first playoff appearance as a wild-card team. Became only third wild card to reach World Series since MLB went to 10-team playoff format in 2012. … Martinez won his postseason debut as a manager in wild-card game against Milwaukee. Washington went 82-80 during his rookie season as a skipper in 2018. … Martinez missed three games and part of a fourth because of a heart problem in September. He had a medical procedure and was back in the dugout a few days later.
Astros: AL West champions led majors with franchise-record 107 wins and became sixth team in MLB history to win 100 in three straight years, first since Yankees from 2002-04. … Astros won AL West for third straight time and captured ninth division title. Houston making 13th playoff appearance and in postseason for fourth time in five years. … Astros had two no-hitters this season with Verlander throwing third of his career against Toronto after Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini, Harris and Chris Devenski combined for one against Seattle. Houston nearly pitched a third no-hitter when Greinke had one broken up with one out in ninth against Mariners in his last start of season. … Houston’s 311 wins over past three years under manager AJ Hinch are most in a three-season span since Baltimore’s 318 from 1969-71. … Astros pitchers led majors with 1,671 strikeouts and hitters had fewest with 1,166. It was first time in MLB history a team ended season leading in both categories. … Verlander won 20 games for second time and first since winning career-high 24 in 2011 with Detroit when he won Cy Young Award and AL MVP. He became 18th pitcher to reach 3,000 career strikeouts. … Cole set team record by winning last 16 regular-season decisions and had career-low ERA. His career-high 326 strikeouts were most in majors and set franchise record that had stood since 1979 when J.R. Richard fanned 313. They were most in majors since Randy Johnson had 334 in 2002 for Arizona and most in AL since Nolan Ryan fanned 341 for Angels in 1977. Cole struck out at least 10 batters in 21 starts, which led majors and set franchise record. He was fourth pitcher in MLB history to have at least 20 games with 10 or more strikeouts in a season, joining Sandy Koufax, Ryan (twice) and Johnson (four times). Cole became first pitcher to strike out 10 or more in nine straight games and was first to reach 300 Ks without throwing a complete game. … Bregman set career highs for homers and RBIs and was first Astros player to hit 40 HRs since Lance Berkman had 45 in 2006. … Springer, the 2017 World Series MVP, hit 12 leadoff homers this season, one shy of MLB record. … Rookie of the Year contender Álvarez set team rookie home run record but went 7 for 41 (.171) with 19 strikeouts and one RBI in playoffs. He was 1 for 22 with 12 Ks in ALCS. … Correa also batted .171 in playoffs but had 2 big homers and 5 RBIs in ALCS vs. Yankees.
- Aces Full. In this new age of teams relying so heavily on relievers, these pennant winners are anchored by powerful rotations. Especially at the top. Cole is 19-0 in his last 25 starts and hasn’t lost since May 22. That includes 3-0 in the AL playoffs, when he allowed one earned run in 22 2/3 innings with 32 strikeouts. A victory in the opener would give him the longest winning streak for a pitcher in one year. Strasburg has a 1.10 ERA in 41 career postseason innings. Both can become free agents this fall. Throw in Scherzer, Corbin, Verlander and Greinke, and hitters could have a tough time all Series.
- Hot Corner. Each club has an MVP contender at third base. Rendon led the majors in RBIs this year and ranked third in the NL with a 1.010 OPS. He’s kept it going during the postseason, batting .375 with 5 extra-base hits and 7 RBIs. Bregman was third in the AL with a 1.015 OPS before hitting .257 with a homer, 3 doubles, 4 RBIs and 10 runs during the playoffs. He was mostly held in check by the Yankees, who walked him seven times. Both guys can pick it on defense, too.
- Los Viejos. The rolling Nationals, who have won 16 of 18, revel in all the elder statesmen who are a huge part of their success in an era when many teams are trying to go young. “Los Viejos” - Spanish for “The Old Guys” - include 36-year-olds Kendrick and Suzuki, along with Scherzer, Sánchez and Zimmerman, each 35. Rodney, 42, is the oldest active player in the majors. They helped make Washington the oldest club in baseball this season, with an average age just under 31. Houston wasn’t far behind, ranked third with an average age just above 30. The Astros’ roster also features six players who are at least 35, including Verlander and Greinke.
- Little Big Man. The 5-foot-6 Altuve continues to amaze. Heart and soul of the Astros, the 2017 AL MVP put Houston back in World Series with walk-off homer against closer Aroldis Chapman in bottom of ninth inning to beat Yankees in Game 6. He batted .348 with 2 homers to win ALCS MVP award. He’s hitting .349 with 5 homers, 3 doubles, 8 RBIs, 10 runs and 1.184 OPS in October. Altuve has 13 career postseason homers, most by a second baseman and tied with Springer for franchise record.
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