The Nationals made their first World Series by sweeping the Cardinals, with dominant pitching. In the American League, the Astros and Yankees had a weather issue that has delayed Game 4, and that has caused both teams to be able to juggle their starting rotation.
ASTROS – LEAD THE YANKEES 2-1
Here is the schedule of the ALCS as there will be no days off the rest of the way:
Game 4: Thursday, 7:08 p.m. CT
Game 5: Friday, 6:08 p.m. CT
Game 6: Saturday, 7:08 p.m. CT (if necessary)
Game 7: Sunday, 6:38 p.m. CT (if necessary)
Teams that have a 2-1 lead in a best of seven series win 71 percent of the time (98 of 139).
Game 4 was delayed until Thursday because of the weather. The Astros will go with Zack Greinke in Game 4 and Justin Verlander in Game 5. Both righties will be pitching on normal rest. It seems likely that they could bullpen Game 6 or go with Jose Urquidy leaving Game 7 to Mr. Cole on normal rest. He could obviously pitch on short rest in Game 6 if needed.
Jose Altuve is a monster. He hit his 12th postseason homer in Game 3, and he’s at .375-4-6-6 with a 1.224 OPS this post season. That pushed his career postseason OPS to .894 and he’s hit 35 homers this season in 532 at-bats. No other Astros has more than eight hits – Altuve has 12.
Yordan Alvarez isn’t hitting with a .207/.281/.310 slash line. He has struck out 13 times in 29 at-bats.
Carlos Correa had that game winning hit and all, but he’s struck out a whopping 14 times in 31 post-season at-bats. He’s hit .161 with a .484 OPS.
The Astros have not lost a start of Gerrit Cole since July 12th. Cole wasn’t at his best in Game 3, walking five batters (tying his career worst), but he battled before finding his footing late, and in yet another sign of his utter dominance this season, he still threw seven shutout innings in the victory over the Yanks. He lost his double-digit strikeout run at 11 games, he punched out seven, as he improved to 19-0 his last 25 starts which is the longest single season win streak in baseball history. By the way, he has 32 punchouts, a 0.40 ERA and a 0.79 WIHP over 22.2 post season innings this year. He’s the best pitcher in baseball as I type this sentence.
Game 4 was delayed until Thursday because of the weather. The Yankees will go with Masahiro Tanaka in Game 4 and James Paxton in Game 5. Tanaka allowed one hit over six innings in the first matchup in this series. Paxton wasn’t sharp last time out, and he and Luis Severino have yet to reach five innings in a post season start this year. Severino has allowed two runs in two starts covering 8.1 innings while Paxton has allowed four runs in 7.0 innings over his two starts.
There is some concern about the workload the bullpen might be forced to shoulder. Aroldis Chapman had a 4.50 ERA this season pitching on the second day of a back-to-back and Adam Ottavino has recorded two outs in just 2-of-5 outings these playoffs.
Brett Gardner has 10 Ks in 25 at-bats leaving him with a .200 batting average.
Didi Gregorius has six RBI in six games with a .655 OPS.
Gary Sanchez also has 10 Ks but in just 21 at-bats. He’s hitting .095 with a .335 OPS this post-season. He also doesn’t know how to block a pitch in the dirt which cost the Yankees in Game 3 when Zack Britton was on the hill.
Giancarlo Stanton (quad) will get an extra day. It’s still unclear if he will be ready to play on Game 4. What a waste.
Gleyber Torres has gone .417-3-10-7 in six games. He’s also hit four doubles leading to a .958 SLG.
NATIONALS – ARE HEADED TO THE WORLD SERIES
The Nats swept the NLCS. Of the nine teams to do that, six have won the World Series.
The Nationals, by making the World Series, leave the Seattle Mariners as the only team never to have been involved in the WS.
Nationals starters posted a 1.35 ERA with 40 strikeouts over 26.2 innings in the NLCS.
Daniel Hudson has four saves in four chances. He has not allowed a run in six outings.
Howie Kendrick became the third oldest player to win the NLCS. In 10 post-season games he’s hit .289-1-9-6.
Anthony Rendon has seven RBI, eight runs, an a .375/.465/.594 slash line. So much for him being undervalued by the national audience.
Max Scherzer has a 1.80 ERA and 0.85 WHIP with 27 punchouts over 20 innings.
Juan Soto is hitting .237 with a .747 OPS and 13 punchouts in 38 at-bats.
Stephen Strasburg has 33 punchouts in 22 innings as he’s posted a 1.64 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. He’s been flat out dominant.
Kurt Suzuki has one hit in 20 at-bats.
The Cards didn’t have a save.
Tommy Edman was 0-fo-14 against the Nationals.
Dexter Fowler went 0-for-11 against the Nationals.
Paul Goldschmidt was awful at the end after an impressive start to the playoffs. In 16 at-bats against the Nats he had one hit and nine punchouts.
Jose Martinez can’t field. He can hit. He went 5-for-10 against the Nationals.
Miles Mikolas allowed two runs in two starts (12 innings).
Marcell Ozuna went 3-for-16 with eight punchouts against the Nationals.
Adam Wainwright struck out 19 batters with a 0.96 WHIP over 16.2 innings.
Kolten Wong went 2-for-14 against the Nationals.
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.