Astros and Nationals to face off in World Series

Sports

Left: Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws against the Los Angels Dodgers during the first inning in Game 4 of a baseball National League Division Series, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) Right: Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) delivers a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning of Game 5 of a baseball American League Division Series in Houston, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Max Scherzer will start the World Series opener for the Washington Nationals against the Houston Astros’ Gerrit Cole on Tuesday night.

Stephen Strasburg will start Game 2 on Wednesday for Washington against Justin Verlander. Nationals manager Dave Martinez says he has not decided how he will order Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez for Games 3 and 4. Asked whether Corbin could pitch in relief in the first two games, Martinez smiled and playfully said: “We shall see.”

Zack Greinke starts Game 3 for the Astros when the action shifts to Nationals Park on Friday. Houston manager AJ Hinch says he likely will use a combination of relievers for the fourth game.

Howie Kendrick will be the Nationals’ designated hitter in the opener.


World Series schedule

All games start at 6:07 p.m. Mountain Time on FOX21.

Game 1
Tuesday, Oct. 22: Washington (Scherzer 11-7) at Houston (Cole 20-5)

Game 2
Wednesday, Oct. 23: Washington (Strasburg 18-6) at Houston (Verlander 21-6)

Game 3
Friday, Oct. 25: Houston (Greinke 8-1) at Washington

Game 4
Saturday, Oct. 26: Houston at Washington

Game 5 (if necessary)
Sunday, Oct. 27: Houston at Washington

Game 6 (if necessary)
Tuesday, Oct. 29: Washington at Houston

Game 7 (if necessary)
Wednesday, Oct. 30: Washington at Houston


Astros will see plenty out of Nats’ starters

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during the fifth inning of Game 3 of the baseball National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

After all those relievers Houston hitters faced this postseason with the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees relying so early and heavily on their bullpens, the Astros should get multiple at-bats against Washington starters in the World Series.

That more traditional approach by the Nationals means a lot of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

“It’s a grind,” said leadoff hitter George Springer, though he believes the Astros do an extremely good job of adjusting when facing a pitcher more than once in a game.

“I’m the last person that’s going to tell you it’s easier to face Scherzer and Strasburg in the first couple games just because they’re traditional pitchers,” manager AJ Hinch said.

While the Astros didn’t see many Rays or Yankees pitchers twice in the same game, they saw them multiple times during the series.

“If you want to do well against the Nats, you’ve got to beat their starters, and then make them make decisions as the game goes on,” Hinch said. “If you sit back and kind of wait for the bullpen or wait for them to make a decision, you’ll look at Strasburg and Scherzer throwing 120, 130 pitches and you’ll be too deep in the game to make up a difference.”


Zimmerman recalls first time he saw Jose Altuve

Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman breaks his bat as he singles to center during the eighth inning of a National League wild-card baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Ryan Zimmerman, the longtime “face of the franchise” for the Washington Nationals, remembers the first time he saw the 5-foot-6 player who has grown into that role with the Houston Astros.

Jose Altuve made his big league debut with the Astros on July 20, 2011, in a home game against the Nationals, who they will host in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night.

“He was in the hotel, and I remember seeing him and you look at him and like what everyone used to do, `Who is this guy?’,” Zimmerman said. “I remember watching him. He had some good at-bats. … He’s obviously incredible to watch.”

Altuve went 1 for 5 with a strikeout in that game eight years ago — which was six years after Zimmerman became the first player ever drafted by the Nationals.

Houston’s second baseman has since become the 2017 American League MVP, and a six-time All-Star with three AL batting titles. Altuve was the MVP of the AL Championship Series that ended Saturday night with his two-run, pennant-clinching home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the New York Yankees.


Brantley finally gets chance to play in Series

Houston Astros left fielder Michael Brantley prepares to field balls during batting practice before Game 3 of baseball’s American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Michael Brantley will finally get the chance to play in a World Series. The four-time All-Star outfielder could only watch three years ago.

After 10 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Brantley signed a two-year deal last offseason with the Houston Astros.

When the Indians went to the World Series in 2016, Brantley was limited to only 11 games early that season because of a right shoulder injury.

So Brantley took a moment to absorb what had just happened when the Astros clinched the American League pennant on Saturday night.

“This is not guaranteed to anybody,” Brantley said Monday. “I didn’t get to play in the last one. … I’m just going to enjoy the experience. I don’t take for granted how hard it is to get here, so I just really want to enjoy the moment and stay in the moment.”


Cole a regular at World Series, as a fan

Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole speaks during a news conference for baseball’s World Series Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Before playing in the World Series, Gerrit Cole attended the Fall Classic as a fan in 2001, 2002, 2012 and 2017. The 2001 matchup of Arizona and the New York Yankees went seven games, and the Diamondbacks won when Luis Gonzalez singled in the ninth inning off Mariano Rivera.

“That was just a really special World Series I think for the whole country,” Cole said. “It was probably the only time most people felt some empathy for the Yankees. And then Gonzo just ripped it right out.”


Umpire crew will wear patching honoring Cooper

In this July 5, 2019, photo, home plate umpire Eric Cooper signals during the third inning of a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Alan Porter will work home plate for Tuesday night’s World Series opener as part of an umpiring crew headed by Gary Cederstrom.

Doug Eddings will be at first, Cederstrom at second, James Hoye at third, Lance Barksdale in left and Sam Holbrook in right.

Jim Wolf will be in the replay room in New York for the first two games, then join the crew in Washington for Game 3 as Porter moves to the replay room. That puts Porter in position to umpire behind home plate in a Game 7.

Jerry Meals will be the replay assistant throughout the Series.

Cederstrom is working the Series for the fourth time, Holbrook for the third, Wolf for the second, and Barksdale, Eddings, Hoye and Porter for the first.

The crew will wear a patch in memory of Eric Cooper, who died last weekend after developing a blood clot following knee surgery. Cooper had worked the Division Series between the New York Yankees and Minnesota as part of Cederstrom’s crew.

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