Preview and Prediction
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This is one game I thought the Washington Nationals had a really good chance of winning. I like the matchup of Strasburg going up against Verlander who has not been as dominant lately.
Still, in no way will this be a cakewalk for the Nationals. They’ll need to have the same approach at the plate against Verlander as they did against Cole — be aggressive in the zone.
While the Astros hitters tried to be patient and get Scherzer out of the game early in Game 1, which worked, the Nationals hitters were aggressive against Cole and were able to get some pitches to hit.
Guys like Cole and Verlander are going to work deep into the game regardless, no sense in sitting around and waiting until you’ve got two strikes on you to try and hit.
Look for the Nationals hitters to stay aggressive early in the count against Verlander.
The key for Strasburg will be getting out of the first inning. He’s had his struggles in the first inning, and the Astros have been very good in the first inning this postseason.
Strasburg had a 4.36 ERA in the first inning during the regular season. He’ll need to do his best to get through the first unscathed and then I think he’ll be able to settle in and hold down this struggling Astros offense.
And with the bullpen usage for the Nationals in Game 1, they could really use a 7 inning outing from Strasburg.
I really thought the Astros would win Game 1 with Cole, but with the Nationals pulling off the upset they have a great chance of taking a 2-0 lead in the World Series with Strasburg on the mound in Game 2.