Sunday, October 27, 2019

World Series Game Five

This game was over as soon as the Nats announced that Max Scherzer would not be able to pitch due to injury.  The Nats had to use Joe Ross, and the Astros had Gerrit Cole, and Natstown was not competitive for the third game in a row.  Houston won 7-1, and the game was not nearly as close as the score indicated.

In three games in D.C., Houston outscored Washington 19-3.  In these three games, you could easily see why the Nats were the biggest underdog in the World Series since 2007.

And yet, even now, the Nats could pull this thing off.  The whole question is whether Scherzer is truly done for the year.  If he is, then the Series is effectively over.  The Nats cannot hold back the Astros for 18 innings in Houston without getting at least six or seven good innings from Scherzer.

But if Scherzer is potentially available, then the Nats still have a chance.  They didn't use Strasburg or Scherzer in any of the games here in D.C., and to be honest their effort is usually much better when one of those guys is on the mound.

Plus, the Nats need all the hitters they can get, so the DH rule could come in handy for them.

So here's how the Nats could win.  Strasburg could outduel Verlander in Game Six, and the Nats could tie the Series.  Then -- again assuming that Scherzer is healthy -- the Nats would have Scherzer ready to go in Game Seven against Greinke.

What worries me more than anything is that Davey Martinez tried to have Daniel Hudson pitch the eighth and ninth innings tonight.  Hudson is one of the few good relief pitchers that the Nats have, and he would probably have to get eight outs in Games Six and Seven for the Nats to win those games.  I would have saved him for those games -- the Nats were already down 4-1 when he came in, and they obviously weren't going to score any more runs.  Hudson was also pretty bad, giving up three runs in 1 and 2/3 innings tonight.

Hudson's appearance tonight raises two very worrying thoughts:

1. He won't be effective against the Astros the rest of the way.  If that's true, then the Nats probably can't beat Houston at all.  I don't see any way that they get 27 outs in a close game without Hudson being effective.

2.  Martinez used Hudson for as long as he did because Martinez knows that Scherzer can't pitch even if the Series goes seven games, and therefore Martinez was desperately trying to keep Game Five close for as long as possible.  If Scherzer is really done, then it's all over for the Nats anyway.

Whatever happens, I'm not going to blame the Nats.  They finished with fourteen fewer wins than Houston, and the AL is better than the NL.  So my guess is that Houston is something like 20 games better than Natstown.  Under those circumstances, I'm actually amazed that the Nats won any games -- much less that they won two.

1 comment:

  1. Having only listened to the Kornheisers' frustration about the Nats for the whole season but then actually watching them inning by inning through this postseason, what I would definitively say about Davey Martinez is that he is a manager. There is a plan, and then there is stuff happening in real time, and he is managing things in relation to both. He's not just executing a plan, and he's not just acting on hunches in real time. He is actively managing.