Washington Nationals face do-or-die Game 6 in Houston
Strasburg gets the first crack at what the Nats will need to be back-to-back wins against a possibly historically great Houston Astros squad in Game 6 on Tuesday.
Strasburg, you may remember, gutted and grinded his way to a win in Game 2 in Houston, going six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits, striking out seven and walking one.
The final that night was 12-3 Washington, but the game was tied into the seventh, when the Nats put a six-spot on the board, chasing Justin Verlander after a Kurt Suzuki leadoff homer.
Verlander gets his chance to right that wrong, and to get his first career World Series win.
Anomaly of all anomalies, Verlander, a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer, is 0-5 career in World Series games.
The Astros have all the momentum, after winning the last three games, all in DC, limiting the Nationals to a single run in each of the three games – a 4-1 win in Game 3, an 8-1 win in Game 4 and a 7-1 win in Game 5.
Washington manager Davey Martinez may have managed himself into a bit of a corner in terms of his pitching staff in the Game 5 loss.
Already down Scherzer, who was a late scratch for his Game 5 start due to neck stiffness, he got an admirable outing from spot starter Joe Ross, who went five innings, and would have gotten out of it down 2-0, if home-plate umpire Lance Barksdale had any sense of the strike zone.
Following Ross, Martinez got a shutdown inning out of Tanner Rainey, who looked like he could’ve gone another, before going to Sean Doolittle in the seventh, and then using Daniel Hudson to try to get two innings to keep the game close.
Hudson ran into trouble, giving up a run in the eighth and then two in the ninth, and used up 36 pitches to not get six outs.
The off-day on Monday should be a help, and of course, the Nats’ backs are against the wall, so it should be all hands on deck.
Which could include getting outs from presumptive Game 7 starting candidates Anibal Sanchez and Patrick Corbin, one of whom may need to be available in the event that Scherzer would not be ready, you know, if there actually is a Game 7.
Houston’s bullpen should be armed and fully ready to go. Closer Roberto Osuna has only pitched once in the World Series, getting the save in an inning of work in the Game 3 win.
Story by Chris Graham