The Nationals are making their first World Series appearance in franchise history. Congratulations to them, well deserved, and they are a fun team to watch. They’re loaded with young talent in Robles and Soto, an MVP candidate in Rendon, and a legitimately deep rotation.
Scherzer, Strasburg, Corbin sounds to me a lot like AJ Hinch waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. These three guys have been phenomenal this postseason, led by Max Scherzer and his 1.80 ERA in 4 appearances. In 20 innings, Scherzer has 27 strikeouts, allowed 4 runs (3 home runs), and 8 walks over that span.
If AJ Hinch was already sweating about having to face Scherzer in Game 1, there’s an argument to be made he should be even more scared of Game 2. Stephen Strasburg has been equally as good, if not better, than his locker roommate Scherzer. In 22 innings this postseason, he has made three starts and one relief appearance, striking out … 33 …, with a ... 1.64 ERA ... allowing 4 earned runs, only walking … 1 …
I wish I was making those stats up because they feel like video game numbers. There’s a very not-so-secret recipe for the Nationals formula of success this postseason and it starts with purely dominant starting pitching.
Patrick Corbin’s numbers are not as impressive this postseason but if you dig deeper as to why you’ll see he’s been a workhorse for the Nationals as well. This postseason he has made 5 appearances, starting 2 games. In his relief appearances, he has allowed 6 runs in a combined 2 innings of work coming out of the bullpen. However, in the two games that he’s started, his numbers drastically improve. In his two starts, he has gone a combined 11 innings, striking out 21 batters, allowing 8 walks and 4 runs. The four runs coming in Game 4 when the Nationals already had a massive lead.
Not only has their starting pitching been lights out, but their offense has been as good as it’s been all year long. Led by MVP front runner, Rendon, the Nationals have a balanced hitting attack at the plate. Unlike many of the teams in this postseason, the Nationals are a group that can score in multiple ways outside of the long ball, unlike the Astros. They have been the most consistent offensive team, and have come up with hits in big situations.
One thing that can be tough for teams offensively is when you sweep a team like the Nats did, and the team you’re going to face goes 6-7 games, those days off can sometimes take you out of your rhythm. When you’re playing every night and seeing quality pitching every single day, it can help to keep you in that pattern. When you sweep and have 3-4 days off, it can sometimes put a hiccup in things. Let’s hope the Nats keep their groove going, and that doesn’t happen.
There’s no question it’ll be tough getting into any kind of rhythm as Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander are as good of a 1-2 combo as there’s been in these playoffs alongside Scherzer and Strasburg.