By Andrew Wallace
The Washington Nationals used to be bogged down in the old DC sports curse.
When the team arrived in Washington from Montreal they were not good. In fact, the first seven seasons of DC baseball were bad. The team had a .500 record just once during that span, every other season was below that mark. All Nats fans had was local product Ryan Zimmerman (UVA).
Then they started making the playoffs. Slowly but surely they were headed in the right direction. Until they realized they were on a treadmill to nowhere and couldn’t get even a single series win in the postseason.
Finally, due to patience, pitching, and perseverance, plus some dancing in the dugout and on the basepaths, they broke through.
Tonight, we see a team that doesn’t care that they’re the largest underdog in the World Series since 2007. It’ll be a team that makes you earn everything on every pitch. One that plays loose when it’s their turn to strike. With two games in Houston, reports indicate that Howie Kendrick will be the DH.
Max Scherzer will duel Gerrit Cole in Game 1.
Mad Max will have to avoid early chaos and pitch ideally into the 8th. Scherzer has recorded 213 swings and misses with his four seamer, which is the second best in baseball. George Springer will be dangerous because he hit the 2nd most home runs in Major League Baseball all season off of four seamers in the zone.
Meanwhile Gerrit Cole recorded the most strikeouts in the league with high location fastballs. This bodes well for Juan Soto. He has hit the most home runs off of pitches located up in the zone all year.
Trea Turner must spark the offense and get big hits from Kendrick, Soto, and Anthony Rendon. Those three names, as well as Asdrubal Cabrera really feed off each other. The more Baby Shark the better.
This series will see five of the top ten strikeout pitchers in MLB. Working counts will be imperative.
Be sure to tune into our coverage of the World Series on 99.5 and 102.7 ESPN.
All stats courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info.