VEGAS ODDS:  SERIES PRICE:  ASTROS (-$230)  ~  GAME 1 ODDS: ASTROS (-$1.95) ~ TOTAL: (6 1/2 or 7) RUNS

Well this Series was supposed to end up the Dodgers vs. the Yankees or Astros. But the Nationals were having none of that, and beat the mighty Dodgers in deciding game in their own house. Now they will be forced to winning at least one game at Minute Maid Park, a place where the Astros are an incredible (60-21). They are (5-1) in these 2019 Playoffs. 

This may be one of the best Pitching match ups in Game 1 we’ve seen in years. One Cy Young winner vs. this years likely Cy Young winner. Max Scherzer faces Gerrit Cole in a game where runs will be very hard to come. We have stated here a few times at ESB that the Astros Cole was not one to “bet against”. Even facing Scherzer in Game 1 is that same thinking. Look Sports will always have Streaks, but we may never see what we have been really lucky to witness, this amazing Cole streak of not losing a start in 25 straight games. He has not lost since May 22nd. It will be exactly 5 months today since his last loss. He has allowed over 2 earned runs just twice during this streak. He breezed through his 3 Playoff starts allowing a mere one run, in 22 2/3rd innings and he’s K’d 32 batters. He’s allowed 10 hits. To prove he is mortal, he actually walked 5 batters his last game facing the Yankees in the Bronx. In this streak, Cole is (19-0) with an incredible (1.59) ERA, and his last 8 starts he is (8-0), (0.77) ERA and has 92K’s in only 58 2/3rd innings. At Home in 2019, he is (12-2), (2.63) ERA, (113) Innings, (.175) batting average against, with (174)K’s and only 19 walks, allowing 16 homers. Cole faced 9 Playoff teams, going (10-1), (1.67) ERA, (.150 bat avg against him), 109 K’s in 75 innings. As you can see, he has been spectacular to levels we might never see again. Bet against Cole at your own risk (risk of losing your hard earned money).

Now the Nats feel good about their chances in Game 1 as Max Scherzer has seemed to have gotten back on track in the Playoffs, going (2-0) with (1.80) ERA, 27K’s in 3 starts and one relief appearance. On the Road in 2019, Scherzer is (7-2), (2.64) ERA in 12 starts overall. He whiffed 113, walked only 10, allowed a meek (.218) batting average against in (78.1) innings of work. He allowed only 7 homers on the Road (11 at Home). He will be pitching on some extra long rest, so those things are always tough to handicap as these guys are like robots with the every fifth day starting again routine. But if he can get past his first inning without damage, he could easily get into a nice groove and end up be allowed to throw a good 120 pitches and go a solid 8 innings. Obviously this Nats Bullpen is fully rested after a long past few months of over work. 

The biggest obstacle for hitters is a long rest as they are creatures of habit and can easily lose “being in a hitters zone”, something the Nats hitters were in to a very high level these Playoffs. The Nats though have strived as Underdogs this season, going 39-17 in that spot, proving they clearly enjoy being in that situation.

The advantage the Astros have is they are rested just enough, but their hitters are still in “real game, real Pitching Zone”. Scherzer is prone to giving up the big Home Run ball, and against Cole he may not be able to afford one bad pitch that allows a ball to leave the Ballpark. But for fans of those who are not a fan of one of these 2 teams, this is as great a Pitching Match up that we will see. Enjoy it, as it’s rare we will ever see this again. Baseball has always loved higher scoring games, but in this one it may be team to score 2 runs first wins.

Enjoy this World Series and have a Winning week!

God Bless,

Gary Greene