The Nationals capped one of the most improbable runs to glory in the history of Major League Baseball. They are the champions after defeating the Astros. Ray will break down some of the numbers from the run to the title while also discussing the futures of Darvish, Encarnacion and Strasburg. Oh yeah, there’s also some stuff in here about the World Series struggles of Mr. Verlander.
WORLD SERIES NOTES
The Nationals won their first championship in 51 years of existence (Expos became the Nationals). A Washington team, the Senators, did win in 1924.
The Nationals triumphed in Game 7 to win the Series. That completed the run of all seven games being won by the road team, a first in the history of baseball. Ever. In fact, no MLB/NBA/NHL series of seven games has ever had this happen before. It’s amazing to think that road teams win about 46-47 percent of the time during the regular season, but that they went 7-0 in the Series.
The Nationals went 8-1 on the road this postseason.
The Nationals were 19-31 at one point, a .380 winning percentage. They were the fourth worst team in baseball on May 23rd in terms of winning percentage. That is the worst 50-game start of any team ever to win the Series (only one other team that started that poorly even made the playoffs – the 2005 Astros). The only other team to win the Series being 12 games below .500 at any point in the season was the 1914 Braves.
The World Series has been won by a team on the road 6-straitht years, tied for the longest run with the 1954-59 seasons.
This was the 19th season in a row that there was no back-to-back champion. Thirteen teams have won the Series in that time.
The Indians have the longest W.S. drought at 71 years (they have lost four times). Here is the list of droughts.
Zack Greinke was pulled after 80 pitches in Game 7, and the bullpen subsequently blew the game. Gerrit Cole threw a bit in the pen at one point, but he was never brought into the game. “I wasn’t going to pitch him unless we were going to win the World Series and have a lead,” manager AJ Hinch said. “He was going to help us win. He was available, and I felt it was a game that he was going to come in had we tied it or taken the lead. He was going to close the game in the ninth after I brought [Robert] Osuna in, had we kept the lead.” The Astros bullpen posted a 5.73 ERA over 22 innings in the Series. The regular season mark of the ground was nearly two full runs lower at 3.75.
Justin Verlander fell to 0-6 in the World Series in his career. He has a 5.68 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in seven starts in the Fall Classic. He has left the game behind in all seven outings and he’s allowed 2.1 homers per nine in the seven outings.
Here are the OPS marks of some of the Astros for the playoffs: Jose Altuve .971, Alex Bregman .832, George Springer .742, Michael Brantley .696, Yordan Alvarez .668, Yuli Gurriel .661, Carlos Correa .639, Josh Reddick .461.
The Nats were behind by two runs in the 8th inning in the Wild Card game against Josh Hader.
The Nats were behind by two in the 8th inning of Game 5 of the NLDS against Clayton Kershaw.
The Nats behind by two in the 7th inning of Game 7 of the Series against Zack Greinke.
Stephen Strasburg finally did it. He quieted all the haters in leading the NL in innings pitched during the regular season, and then he went out and dominated in the playoffs on his way to being named World Series MVP after winning Games 2 and 6 (he became the first pitcher to go 5-0 in one postseason). Strasburg owns a 1.46 ERA in his career in the post season, third all-time amongst arms with 40-innings pitched (Mariano Rivera 0.70 and Sandy Koufax 0.95). Now watch him opt out of the four years he has left on his deal ($100M) to become a free agent.
Max Scherzer gutted it out in Game 7. He threw 103 pitches over five innings as his velocity was there, but not his location as he allowed five hundred base runners but only two runs. It took him 17 batters to record a strikeout, his longest stretch in a game without a punchout since 2013 (he went deeper into this start without a swing and miss on a fastball than in any game since May 3rd, 2010). He gutted it out, and his team won because of it.
The Nationals went 10-0 in games started by Scherzer and Strasburg in the playoffs.
Daniel Hudson was released by the Angels on March 22nd. Released. He got the last out in Game 7 for the Nationals. By the way, a Nationals bullpen, though to be their Achilles heel, didn’t blow a lead after the 7th inning of any game in the playoffs.
THIS AND THAT
The Dodgers have been eliminated by the Series champ in 4-straight years. The only other team that has happened to is the Yankees (2001-04). Speaking of the Yanks…
The Yankees declined the $20M option on Edwin Encarnacion who is now a free agent. Edwin turns 37 next January, but the man can still mash. He went 34-86-81 in 2019, solid numbers by any measure, and actually impressive when you consider that he appeared in just 109 games. That’s 8-straight seasons for Edwin with at least 32 homers and 86 RBI. He also had a .287 ISO mark this season, the best of his career actually, while his .531 SLG was a 4-year best (he also had a .875 OPS, the seventh time in eight years the mark has been that high). He can’t field, is aging, and likely will miss time, but that’s still one potent stick the old fella is swinging.
Yu Darvish is not planning on opting out of his deal according to Jon Heyman. Darvish was all over the place at times last season, especially in a dismal start to the season where he couldn’t locate the strike zone to save his life, but he crushed it in the second half (13.00 K/9, 0.77 BB/9). He has four years and $81 million left on his deal with the Cubs.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday-Thursday 8-10 PM EDT, and Friday’s from 10-12 PM EST and Sunday’s at 9-11 pm EST on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Follow Ray’s work on Twitter (@baseballguys) and be sure to listen to his podcast work too.