Nats fans: Your boys are up 2-0, but it ain’t over ’til it’s over
And that wasn’t considering whatever was to happen in the first two games in Houston.
Now the Nationals are heading back home with a 2-0 series lead on the heavily-favored Astros.
Yeah, it’s going to be quite the scene on Half Street with fans anticipating a world title celebration this weekend.
But keep in mind what Yogi Berra is reputed to have once said: that it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
“It’s nice to come in here and get a couple of wins, face a couple of great pitchers. Able to come out on top. And really, we’re just looking to get back home in front of our fans and worrying about winning the next pitch, winning the next inning. So, getting ready,” Nats catcher Kurt Suzuki said after the 12-3 Washington win in Game 2.
The Astros will, no doubt, play Game 3 like it’s a Game 7. Manager A.J. Hinch will send out Zach Greinke (18-5, 2.93 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 8.1K/9 in 2019) as his starter, but if Greinke gets into any trouble – and he has in the 2019 postseason, in which he has gone 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in three starts – expect to see Hinch empty the bullpen to try to keep his team close.
“Clearly, Game 3 becomes critical for us,” Hinch said after the Game 2 beatdown. “We’re going to get on a plane, we’re going to go to Washington. I doubt the Nats are going to feel too confident that they have this sewed up and they can start planning the parade. We’re going to give them a fight for it.”
Washington manager Davey Martinez is going with Anibal Sanchez (11-8, 3.85 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 7.3 K/9), who hasn’t pitched since Game 1 of the NLCS, in which he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of a 2-0 Nats win over St. Louis.
The Astros have their backs against the wall, but the stakes for Washington are pretty clear as well.
A Houston win, and it’s a series again.
“Clearly, the Nats have outplayed us, bottom line,” Hinch said. “They came into our building and played two really good games. We’re going to have to try to sleep off the latter third of this game. I don’t want to lump this into a horrible game. It was a horrible three innings for us. Leading up to that it was a pretty good. We pushed Strasburg pretty far, we pushed Scherzer pretty far.
“They’re halfway to a race to four wins,” Hinch said.
That’s the feeling over in the Nationals’ clubhouse.
“We know the series isn’t over,” Nats third baseman Anthony Rendon said after Game 2. “I think it would have been a success if we only came in and stole one game, obviously, playing at this stage and playing with the crowd and at their home-field. But for us to obviously steal two games from them at their home-field is great.
“But like you say, we still have a job to finish, and we have two more to go,” Rendon said.
Story by Chris Graham