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  W: S. Strasburg (1-0)   L: J. Verlander (0-1)
5:07 PM PT6:07 PM MT7:07 PM CT8:07 PM ET20:07 ET0:07 GMT8:07 5:07 PM MST7:07 PM EST7:37 PM VEN4:07 UAE (+1)7:07 PM CT, October 23, 2019
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 43,357

Strasburg invokes March memories ahead of World Series start

According to STATS
According to STATS

Washington Nationals at Houston Astros

  1. The Nationals took Game 1 last night, 5-4, after trailing 2-0 through the first inning. It was the third time this postseason they've come from two or more runs behind to win a game; all other teams have three such comebacks combined in the 2019 postseason (one each by the Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers).
  2. Teams winning Game 1 of the World Series have gone on to win the Series 63 percent of the time, including wins in 13 of the last 16. The last road team to go up 2-0 in the World Series was the 1999 Yankees in Atlanta, on their way to a 4-0 sweep.
  3. Houston is an MLB-best 65-23 (.739) at home this year, including the postseason. Only three teams have won as many home games in a season when including the playoffs: the 1975 Reds (68-18), 1998 Yankees (68-20) and 1961 Yankees (66-17).
  4. With last night's solo home run in the seventh inning, George Springer became the first player in MLB history to homer in five straight World Series games; he also went deep in Games 4 through 7 of the 2017 Series. His 1.094 career slugging percentage in the World Series is the highest all-time among those with at least 25 at-bats.
  5. Justin Verlander is winless in five career World Series starts with Detroit (2006 and 2012) and Houston (2017), going 0-4 with a 5.67 ERA (17/27.0). The only pitcher all-time to not win any of his first six career World Series starts is Gary Nolan with the Reds from 1970-75.
  6. Juan Soto went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in Game 1. At 20 years and 362 days old, he is the fourth-youngest player all-time to homer in a World Series game (behind Andruw Jones, Miguel Cabrera and Mickey Mantle), and the third-youngest with three RBI (behind Jones and Joe Garagiola).
  7. Stephen Strasburg is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in four postseason outings this year (three starts), with 33 strikeouts and just one walk. He has an 11.5 strikeout-walk ratio in his postseason career (57/5), second best all-time among pitchers with at least 40 innings (Schoolboy Rowe, 13.5).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 10/23/2019 thru 10/23/2019
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

HOUSTON -- There are three tiers of familiarity with the Houston Astros that Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will aim to exploit when he takes the mound Wednesday in Game 2 of the World Series.

In addition to his film study of the American League Championship Series that the Astros claimed in six games over the New York Yankees and the first-hand experience he gleaned watching the Nationals' 5-4 victory in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, Strasburg tapped into the recesses of his memory while crafting a scouting report on Houston.

The Nationals and Astros share the same West Palm Beach, Fla., ballpark during spring training in the Grapefruit League.

"Yeah, I watched a little bit," Strasburg said of his ALCS viewing habits. "But, again, it's kind of beneficial that we share a spring training complex with them. You look at some things that they might be doing differently, but for the most part, hitters don't really change too much over the years.

"They've got a little bit of everything, so I think it's just knowing how you want to attack certain guys and not just fall into the pattern of just throwing the same pitch to start guys off or finish guys and really just take it one pitch at a time and focus in on that."

Strasburg (3-0, 1.64 ERA in the 2019 postseason) has served as a co-ace alongside right-hander Max Scherzer, who earned the victory Tuesday despite laboring over five innings. Scherzer allowed two runs on five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts but needed 112 pitches to cap his outing. He retired the Astros in order once, doing so in his final inning.

Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (1-2, 3.70 ERA) has played a similar role in tandem with right-hander Gerrit Cole, who took his first loss in 26 starts on Tuesday. The Game 2 start will represent Verlander's 30th career postseason appearance, and he is 14-9 with a 3.26 ERA in the playoffs.

Still, Verlander understands that nervous energy comes with the territory in October. At this stage, the 36-year-old veteran opts to harness it instead of fighting against the inevitable while preparing as usual.

"You know that the nerves are going to be higher," Verlander said Tuesday. "Your body knows it's not a regular start. Going to sleep tonight is not going to be the same as normal. But having done it before, I don't know if it helps, it's definitely not going to calm you down any more, but I know what to expect going into it.

"And having a routine does definitely help because it's like from the minute I wake up I kind of start my routine, and I guess that kind of helps calm the nerves just a little bit."

The Astros managed to overcome the Tampa Bay Rays and the Yankees in the playoffs despite their struggles producing with runners in scoring position. Those woes proved to be their undoing in Game 1, with Houston finishing 3-for-12 in that situation, one of those hits being a two-out infield single from Carlos Correa that did not plate a run and merely loaded the bases in the seventh inning.

Rookie Yordan Alvarez, who was 2-for-2 with a walk to that point, followed with a three-pitch strikeout.

"Anytime you're up against a really good starting pitcher, you want to take advantage of every single opportunity," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "You know it's going to be a tall task.

"But I liked the at-bats. I even liked our at-bats with runners in scoring position. We had a little bit of bad luck. We did chase a little bit, as you're going to. Keep preaching, 'Give yourself as many opportunities as you can.' The big hit eluded us a couple of times; a couple times it didn't."

--Field Level Media

Updated October 23, 2019

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