2019 World Series — Nationals and Astros


Ron Griffitts

Contributing columnist

In October 2019, the Washington Nationals (93-69) managed by Dave Martinez with general manager Mike Rizzo met the Houston Astros (107-55) with A. J. Hinch as manager and Jeff Luhnow as general manger.

The Nationals, who had formerly been the Montreal Expos, moved to Washington, D. C. after the 2004 season. Washington, D. C. however had formerly had the Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) as a team who had last been in a World Series in 1933 and last won one in 1924 when Walter Johnson was still pitching. The Montreal Expos had never been in a World Series.

Their road to the fall classic began with the National League Wild Card game. They came from behind going into the bottom of the eighth inning down 3-1, Juan Soto drove in three runs with a single off of Milwaukee Brewer closer Josh Hader and the Nationals pulled out a 4-3 win to advance to the divisional round.

They dispatched the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 and the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 for the right to play the Astros and were led on offense by Matt Adams (24 HR). Brian Dozier (20 HR), Trea Turner (39 SB, .298 BA, 96 RS), Anthony Rendon (34 HR, 126 RBI, .319 BA. 117 RS), 20 year-old Juan Soto (34 HR, 110 RBI, 110 RS), Victor Robles (86 RS) and Adam Eaton (103 RS).

Their pitching staff was anchored by Stephen Strasburg 18-6, Patrick Corbin 14-7, Max Scherzer 11-7, 2.92 ERA and Anibal Sanchez with Sean Doolittle who had 29 saves in the bullpen.

The Astros got past the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 and the New York Yankees 4-2 to get to their third World Series. They were led on offense by Alex Bregman (41 HR, 112 RBI, .298 BA, 122 RS), Yuli Gurriel (31 HR, 104 RBI, .298 BA, 85 RS), Jose Altuve (31 HR, .298 BA, 89 RS), Carlos Correa ( 21 HR), Micheal Brantley (22 HR, 90 RBI, .311 BA, 88 RS), Yordan Alvarez (27 HR, .313 BA, 98 RS) and George Springer (39 HR, 96 RBI.292 BA, 96 RS).

Their starters were Justin Verlander 21-6, 2.58 ERA, Gerrit Cole 20-5, 2.50 ERA and Wade Miley 14-6 with Roberto Osuna in the bullpen with 39 saves and a 2.63 ERA.

Game one was in Minute Maid Park in Houston with Max Scherzer facing Gerrit Cole and in a back and forth game the Nationals prevailed with the help of a Juan Soto two-run double in the top of the fifth inning to score the winning run.

Soto added a home run as did Ryan Zimmerman for the Nationals and George Springer for the Astros.

Game two was all Nationals as they broke a 2-2 tie with six runs in the seventh inning on their way to a 12-3 win and 2-0 series advantage.

Game three was the first World Series game played in Washington D. C. since 1933 and in Nationals Park. Zach Greinke and five relievers held the Nationals to one run for a 4-1 Houston victory. Robinson Chirinos had a solo home run for the winners.

In game four, the Astros continued to hold the Nationals to only one run and with the help of another home run by catcher Robinson Chirinos and a rare World Series grand slam home run by Alex Bregman Houston coasted to an 8-1 victory to tie the series at two games each.

Game five was similar to the previous two games as a strong seven inning three hit one run performance by Gerrit Cole propelled the Astros to a 7-1 win with the Nationals lone run being a home run by Juan Soto while George Springer, Carlos Correa and Jordan Alvarez added home runs for the victors.

For game six the teams traveled back to Houston and the Nationals needed and got a strong pitching performance from Stephen Strasburg. He pitched eight and one third innings allowing two runs and five hits with Sean Doolittle on for the save for a 7-2 Nationals win to tie the series at three games each.

George Springer, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto homered for the Nationals and Alex Bregman added one for the Astros and the teams prepare for the seventh game.

With the Astros leading 2-0 in the top of the seventh inning starter Zach Greinke got the first out on a groundout before Anthony Rendon homered to bring the score to 2-1. Manager A. J. Hinch left Greinke in and he walked Juan Soto before being replaced by Will Harris who gave up a two run home run to DH Howie Hendricks for a 3-2 National lead and that is all they would need as they went on to win the game 6-2 and the franchise’s first World Series.

Steven Strasburg got the series MVP and the Nationals have not been back to the World Series but the Astros were back in 2021.

Statistics for this article were from baseball-reference.com.

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