We all saw it coming: the roof rattling in Houston on Tuesday night in Game 1, the Astros in the midst of yet another roaring late-inning rally. The Nationals, rookies in the World Series game, were up a run in the home eighth, seemingly on their way to blowing a 5-2 lead and a chance to skip out of Houston’s thunder-dome with a 1-0 lead.
From there you could’ve written the rest of the story rather easily: underdogs blow their big Series moment and there’s no chance at a bounce back. Astros in five? After all, Houston’s rollicking roster, so stacked in nearly every way, are as unforgiving as they come.
And then it flipped. Sean Doolittle came on with two outs and overcame the decibels and Jose Altuve. Houston’s engine, fresh off his ALCS winning walk-off home run, lined to right, leaving the tying run stranded at second. In the ninth, Doolittle struck out Alex Bregman before Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa popped out to end the game.
Perhaps we should’ve known. These Nats beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that’s supposed to be suiting up in their third consecutive World Series. Then Washington thoroughly embarrassed the St Louis Cardinals, another blue-blooded National League outfit.
Now they’ve walked into a loud and hostile room and walked out with a win. Aggressive managing from Dave Martinez helped: the Nats skipper summoned an inning from starter Patrick Corbin in the sixth to protect that lead. It may or may not impact their starting pitching plans for the rest of the Series, but the move worked and sent out a message to anyone still wondering if the Nats thought this Series was just gravy.
Now it’s the Astros, who came in as the biggest World Series favorites since 2007, who need to steady their yacht as they face the Nat’s stingy ace, Stephen Strasburg, who’s excelled in his seven postseason games. They’ll throw another ace, Justin Verlander, who is making his 29th postseason start and did get touched up some by the Yankees last round.
All shall be revealed shortly as we head into our coverage of Game 2 of the 115th World Series. Until then, please feel free to weet thoughts, feelings and predictions at me @lengeldavid
Stick with us, more to come…