The 2019 World Series reaches its conclusion tonight, with the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros facing off in Game 7 of a series that has played out in a way that neither team could have ever expected. For the first time in World Series history, the road team has won the first six games. In Game 6 on Tuesday, the Nationals brushed aside their home woes, winning 7-2 in Houston after being outscored 19-3 during the previous three games played in Washington D.C.
According to MLB.com, this is the first seven-game series — even including the NBA and NHL — that has ever played out in such a way. It was the first time in 1,420 chances this has happened and now it is winner takes all, with two previous Cy Young winners facing off.
The Nationals’ Max Scherzer has put the neck spasms that kept him out of Game 5 behind him and, with the help of a chiropractor and a cortisone shot, is ready to start. Only days after he had trouble simply moving his arm, Scherzer will take the mound in the biggest game in team history. If he has truly returned to his postseason form, Washington could not have asked for a better starter since Scherzer’s undefeated record and 2.16 ERA make him one of the most important players of the Nationals’ postseason run.
The Astros are historically 2-1 in Game 7 of the World Series, with their last win made in 2017 when they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium. While starting pitcher Zack Greinke has not had a postseason to remember with his 0-2 record and 5.30 ERA, he is a playoff veteran as he makes his 16th postseason start.
When he started Game 3, Greinke allowed one run and seven hits over 4 2/3 innings as the Astros won their first game in the series. Greinke previously pitched in two other postseason elimination games, Game 5 of the 2015 National League Division Series and the 2017 NL Wild Card Game. He hasn’t fared well in either of those appearances, going 0-1 with seven earned runs and 12 hits allowed in 10 1/3 innings.
In Game 6, the Nationals turned around their hitting struggles that plagued their home stretch, with Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto shouldering the scoring load. Rendon put on a clutch performance in the elimination game, as he reached base four times and drove in five runs for Wahington. Juan Soto picked up another home run, becoming the youngest player to ever hit three home runs in a World Series.
The Astros lineup has had a mostly disappointing postseason, but the three-game winning streak gave fans a glimpse of what the team at full flow can look like. Yordan Alvarez (.429), George Springer (.348), Michael Brantley (.333), Jose Altuve (.321), and Yuli Gurriel (.280) have all put on decent performances so far in this World Series, and while Alex Bregman is hitting 6-for-26, he has picked up three home runs.
In the history of Game 7 in the World Series, the road team is 20-19 over 39 games, boding well for the road warrior Nationals. However, the home team has won 9 of the last 12 occasions.