World Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Washington Nationals

Audio/Story posted October 22, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Ben Serfass

Host Logan Bourandas and analysts Gabe Angieri, Zech Lambert and Jordan Hession break down the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals as well as give predictions for the upcoming series.

The 2019 World Series will officially begin on Tuesday as the Houston Astros will host the Washington Nationals.

Coming off a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Nationals will look to ride their momentum into Houston for the first two games of the World Series. The Astros, on the other hand, have been arguably the best team in baseball all season and are the clear favorites in the series.

Prior to the start of the season, many had already dubbed the Astros as one of the best teams in baseball. They had talent at every position. They owned one of the youngest and most talented infields in the sport. They had two of the top starting pitchers in the game as well in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. All of the stars had aligned.

Most preseason predictions regarding Houston came true, as the Astros never relinquished control of the American League West. Come July, the Astros found themselves upgrading their roster even further, as they traded for the top starting pitcher on the trade market, Zack Greinke.

The Astros held the best record in the American League after 162 games and, therefore, were awarded the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs. They then proceeded to defeat two of the top teams in the league in the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees, leading them right to their second World Series appearance in the last three years.

Their opponent had a very different path to the fall classic.

The Washington Nationals have been the Cinderella story of the postseason, and some could argue that they were underdogs in the regular season as well. 

The Nationals suffered a big blow before their season even began. Their franchise superstar, Bryce Harper, left to join the division rival Philadelphia Phillies in free agency. The decision of then 26 year-old Harper left the fanbase crushed.

On top of this major departure, the franchise underperformed to begin the season. Critics and analysts alike began speculating on when manager Davey Martinez would be fired and who would the team have to part with at the trade deadline.

By the time May 25 rolled around, the Nationals were several games under .500 and had a 0.1% chance to win the National League pennant, according to Baseball Reference. But the Nationals were able to right the ship.

They saw their young Dominican-born outfielder Juan Soto secure his name among the game’s top young talent. They also had third baseman Anthony Rendon produce at an MVP level for the entire season. A starting rotation comprised of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin certainly helped too.

With a balanced combination of veterans and young, exciting players, the Nationals found themselves in sole possession of the first National League wild-card spot come season’s end.

While they were almost never considered the favorites, the Nationals were able to defeat the Brewers in the wild-card game, upset the reigning National League champion Dodgers in the divisional series, and sweep the Cardinals in four games to win the NL pennant for the first time in franchise history.

The 2019 World Series will be a matchup of two very different teams that traveled two very different paths to get where they are now. Each team possesses the top starting rotation in each of their respective leagues, and because of this, it will be the situational hitting of the offenses that will dictate who wins this series. With the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman consistently making explosive plays with the bat, it’s the team from Houston that will bring home its second World Series title in three years.

Prediction: Astros over Nationals in six games

 

Ben Serfass is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email bxs1001@psu.edu.