For the second night in a row, the Houston Astros failed to get any RBI’s (Runs Batted In) while giving up RBI’s (Real Big Innings). The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros, 12-3 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the 2019 World Series. Only three teams have ever gone down 0-2 at home to come back and win the World Series: 1985 Kansas City Royals, 1986 New York Mets, and the 1996 New York Yankees.
“The Nationals have outplayed us,” said Astros manager AJ Hinch after Game 2. “Bottom line is they came into our building and played two really good games. Game 3 becomes critical for us and we are going to give them a fight for it.”
It was a three run fifth inning in Game 1 that caused trouble for Houston’s ace, Gerrit Cole. That was a very unusual site for Astros fans who had not seen him lose a game since May 22nd. Houston would end up losing the game 5-4 to go down 1-0, but there was still no need to panic as the Astros were coming right back with another strong arm in Justin Verlander.
The Astros had not lost back-to-back games at home since July 1st to the Oakland A’s and won over 61 games during the regular season. That all changed on Tuesday night as the Astros other ace (Verlander) went to the mound to face the 2019 National League Pennant winners and once again the Nationals bats got hot in the top of the seventh inning for six runs and now has Houston searching for answers.
“I believe in hard work and being consistent in what we do,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez when asked about his team’s chances of even being in the postseason back in May. “We are here because the boys never gave up.”
Houston was the best team in Major League Baseball this year with a franchise record of 107 wins. But that could be all for nothing if the Astros don’t learn how to bring in runners in scoring position. In two games of this Fall Classic, Houston has left 20 batters on base and has failed to produce the runs needed to give Cole and Verlander any support.
That can be attributed to a strong Washington pitching staff that has started Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Those two pitchers have shut down their opponents during this 2019 postseason run. Scherzer has 134 career postseason strikeouts and Strasburg has a 1.93 ERA in his five postseason starts.
What the Astros can’t afford is to have another 2005 World Series happen to them. Houston was swept by the Chicago White Sox after going down 0-2 in the series.
Astros players held a team only meeting after Game 2, so they could make sure they were all on the same page and get refocused on the task at hand. That task begins Friday in Washington, D.C. where Game 3 will take place.