Washington Nationals Series Preview: 2019 World Series rematch against the Houston Astros

If somebody requested me to sum up the 2022 Washington Nationals in a single image, I’d go together with this.

The signature play of the sequence in opposition to the New York Mets wasn’t one of many 4 house runs the Nationals hit, nor one other strong outing from Patrick Corbin. No, it was no matter this nightmare of a baserunning play that was the place the Nats made two outs on the similar base on one play.

And sure, unsurprisingly, the Nationals misplaced the sequence fairly convincingly, although they did have offensive comeback in Wednesday’s recreation to keep away from what would’ve been a sweep.

Brace yourselves although, it’s time to carry up the 2019 World Collection once more! The Houston Astros are on the town for the primary time since that memorable Fall Traditional that the Nats gained in seven video games.

The Astros arrive within the nation’s capital on a ten-game win streak that has seen them rise to the highest of the American League West. For these hoping for a repeat of the results of the World Collection, chances are you’ll get your want… in that the street group might win each recreation, almost definitely.

Right here’s the lowdown forward of the three-game weekend sequence at Nationals Park…

The schedule

  • Sport One: Friday, Might thirteenth, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport Two: Saturday, Might 14th, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport Three: Sunday, Might fifteenth, 1:35 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Possible Pitchers

  • Sport One: Josiah Grey (4-2, 3.45 ERA) vs Framber Valdez (1-2, 3.34 ERA)
  • Sport Two: Erick Fedde (2-2, 3.90 ERA) vs Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.38 ERA)
  • Sport Three: Patrick Corbin (0-5, 6.06 ERA) vs Justin Verlander (4-1, 1.55 ERA)

Who’s sizzling?

Alcides Escobar: Credit score the place credit score is due. After criticism of his play had constructed up in direction of the top of April, he has at the least hit a bit higher on the plate of late.

Since April twenty ninth, Escobar is slashing .440/.482/.560 with a double and triple in 27 plate appearances. Sadly, a fingernail challenge held him out of the lineup within the final two video games of the Mets sequence, however the Nats anticipate him again for the sequence opener this weekend.

Justin Verlander: Having solely began one recreation during the last two seasons, Verlander determined to stick with the group that he helped win a title with 5 years in the past to attempt to rebound from harm. Thus far within the season, he’s finished simply that.

Typically in his profession, Verlander has relied on the punchout to dominate video games, however this yr, whereas his whiff totals are down, he’s nonetheless sporting a wonderful 1.55 ERA in six begins regardless of solely hanging out 36 batters in 42.1 innings.

He’ll doubtless take the ball within the sequence finale in opposition to the Nationals on Sunday, going through off in opposition to Patrick Corbin, each of whom performed huge roles in that Fall Traditional in 2019.

Who’s not?

Victor Robles: Properly, the Robles revival was enjoyable for some time, however there are indicators that he could also be coming again all the way down to earth with a thump.

In his final eight video games following a powerful 8-for-14 exhibiting through the group’s three-game sequence in San Francisco two weeks in the past, Robles is slashing .095/.167/.143 with simply two hits in 21 at-bats, hanging out 10 instances and strolling solely as soon as.

That leaves the middle fielder’s line on the season at an extremely underwhelming .215/.276/.291, with little-to-no energy and a fluctuating batting common. Seemingly, it’s the identical previous usual for Robles since his 2019 season.

Yuli Gurriel: See, I advised you we weren’t simply selecting on shortstops! Gurriel is most positively not a shortstop however has been having a fairly powerful time on the plate because the calendar flipped over to Might.

In 9 video games this month, the primary baseman has a poor .147/.237/.206 slash line in 34 at-bats with solely a few extra-base hits and a sole RBI regardless of the Astros’ lineup as a complete approaching robust to begin the month, rating fifth within the majors in OPS in Might.

From the opposing dugout

Take a look at a number of the prime Astros storylines from our mates at The Crawfish Bins…

Another factor to observe

For the primary time since he was let go by the Nationals following the 2017 season, Dusty Baker will handle in opposition to his former group in a regular-season recreation — after plentiful Spring Coaching matchups between the 2 groups who share the identical facility.

Baker was fashionable amongst Nats followers throughout his two-year tenure wherein his group gained the Nationwide League East in each seasons, and can doubtless obtain a pleasant reception from the gang in his return.

As you’d anticipate, the longtime main league supervisor nonetheless appears again on his time in D.C. fondly.

“I actually loved my time in Washington,” Baker advised Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. “The 2 years I used to be there was most likely a number of the most gratifying instances I’ve ever had in baseball, on the sphere and off the sphere.

“I at all times favored the variety, the individuals, the schooling degree that was there. I bought alongside nice with the group, bought alongside nice with [GM Mike] Rizzo, all of the individuals there.”

Due to that fondness, does Baker nonetheless marvel why the Nationals determined to let him go? Not likely.

“Why they didn’t re-sign me, I don’t know,” Baker mentioned. “It wasn’t Rizzo as a result of he was simply the one which needed to inform me the information. That’s prior to now.”

Clearly, issues have labored out effectively for each events since they parted methods.

The Nationals gained the World Collection simply two seasons later with Baker’s alternative, Dave Martinez, on the helm. Baker has guided the Astros to the ALCS in each seasons, profitable one earlier than dropping to the Atlanta Braves in final yr’s World Collection.

Both method, will probably be good to see Baker again at Nationals Park this weekend, albeit within the different dugout.

Collection Preview Trivia

Final sequence’ trivia query: Final week, the Mets managed to come back again from six runs down within the ninth inning in opposition to the Philadelphia Phillies, matching the feat the Nationals completed in opposition to the Mets in 2019. However who had been the 2 beginning pitchers from that 11-10 win for the Nationals? If that’s too straightforward for you, bonus query, who was the profitable pitcher for the Nats?

Reply: Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom began the sport. Bonus: Javy Guerra bought the win.

Properly, this query simply needed to be a query in regards to the 2019 World Collection. It needed to be. So, right here’s the World Collection-related trivia query for this sequence in opposition to the Astros…

Are you able to identify the 9 Nationals gamers who recorded at the least one RBI through the group’s World Collection victory over the Houston Astros in 2019?