World Series Game 2 Preview: Nats look to go up 2-0

washington nationalsThe Washington Nationals have already guaranteed themselves a split in Houston with their 5-4 Game 1 win.

Dare they dream of being able to get back to DC up 2-0?

It will be a tall order, with Houston sending its other ace, Justin Verlander (21-6, 2.58 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12.1K/9), to the mound, to face Nats righty Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 10.8K/9).

Verlander hasn’t been his usual lights-out self in the 2019 postseason, going 1-2 with a 3.70 ERA in four starts, including a 4-1 loss in Game 5 of the ALCS at New York last week in which he was touched up for a pair of first-inning homers.

He’s given up five homers in 24.1 innings in the postseason, and his walks (8) are also up a tick – coming to 2.96 per nine innings in the postseason, up from the 1.70 per nine in the 2019 regular season.

Strasburg is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in four appearances – three starts and a three-inning relief stint in the NL Wild Card Game – in the 2019 postseason.

He’ll need to get deep into this one. The Nats’ bullpen was stretched to the gills in the Game 1 win, needing to get an inning from starter Patrick Corbin, going to closer Daniel Hudson in the seventh, then getting a four-out save from lefty setup man Sean Doolittle.

Hudson threw 21 pitches, and Doolittle 13, so you could see them go, with the off-day on Thursday, but you could expect to see both on a tight leash.

The back end of the Houston bullpen should be fully available. Will Harris (1.50 ERA, 0.93 WHIP in 60 appearances in 2019) did throw an 18-pitch inning in relief in Game 1, but expect him to be available in a setup role in Game 2.

Closer Roberto Osuna (2.63 ERA, 0.88 ERA in 66 appearances in 2019) was warming up in the ‘pen late in the game, but was not used.

Nats hitters vs. Justin Verlander

Collective numbers: 68-for-274, .248/.306/.365 slash

  • Trea Turner: no career ABs
  • Adam Eaton: 7-for-31, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 9 K
  • Anthony Rendon: 0-for-3, 2 K
  • Juan Soto: no career ABs
  • Howie Kendrick: 5-for-23, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K
  • Ryan Zimmerman: 0-for-5, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Asdrubal Cabrera: 21-for-76, 6 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 8 BB, 30 K
  • Kurt Suzuki: 14-for-42, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K
  • Yan Gomes: 11-for-41, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 9 K
  • Victor Robles: 0 career ABs

Astros hitters vs. Stephen Strasburg

Collective numbers: 5-for-34, .147/.194/.206 slash

  • George Springer: 0-for-3, 1 K
  • Jose Altuve: 2-for-5, 1 K
  • Michael Brantley: 0-for-2
  • Alex Bregman: 2-for-3, 1 2B, 1 K
  • Yuli Gurriel: 0-for-2
  • Carlos Correa: no career ABs
  • Yordan Alvarez: no career ABs
  • Martin Maldonado: 0-for-4, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Josh Reddick: 0-for-2, 1 K

Story by Chris Graham


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