Friday, October 25, 2019

World Series Game Two

For several hours on Wednesday night, the Nats and Astros were locked in a pitching duel.  Justin Verlander allowed two runs in the top of the first, and Stephen Strasburg did the same in the bottom of the first.  But Verlander and Strasburg then settled down.  After six innings, the score was still 2-2, and you could cut the tension in Houston with a knife.

Then Kurt Suzuki came to the plate to lead off the seventh for Washington.  Suzuki is the better hitter of the Nats' catching staff, and he came through here -- wafting a home run to left field.  3-2 Nats.  And then, all of a sudden, the Nats went for the jugular:

1.  Victor Robles walked.
Ryan Pressly replaced Verlander
2.  Trea Turner walked (0 outs, men on 1st and 2d)
3.  Adam Eaton bunted the runners along (1 out, men on 2d and 3d)
4.  Anthony Rendon flew out (2 out, men on 2d and 3d)
5.  At this point, Juan Soto came up.  The Nats' 20-year-old sensation had a double and a homer in Game One, and the Astros wanted no part of him.  For the first time all year, the Astros gave an intentional walk. (2 out, bases loaded)
6.  Now it was up to Howie Kendrick, who beat the Dodgers with a grand slam in the 10th inning of Game Five of the Divisional Series.  Kendrick singled to left.  (4-2 Nats, 2 out, bases loaded)

And suddenly, the floodgates opened:

7.  Asdrubal Cabrera singled to center (6-2 Nats, 2 out, men on 1st and 2d)
A wild pitch puts runners on 2d and 3d)
8.  Ryan Zimmerman hits a weak grounder to third.  He beats it out, but Alex Bregman throws the ball away!  (8-2 Nats, 2 out, man on 2d)

And that was all she wrote.  The Nats tacked on four more runs against the weaker elements of the Houston bullpen, and suddenly Natstown had won the game, 12 to 3.  The Nats were up two games to zero, they had beaten Gerrit Cole and Verlander, and they were on their way home.

I've been saying all year that I regard this Houston team as a really great team, and I still feel that way.  Now we'll see how they handle a lot more adversity than they expected when this season began.  If they don't win at least two out of three in Natstown, the World Championship is going to the Nation's Capital for the first time since 1924.  I cannot explain what a stunning development that would be -- it would be exactly like seeing George Mason go to the Final Four, or seeing UVA win the NCAA basketball championship.

7:07 PM Central:  Houston at Washington (Washington leads 2-0)

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