This means we’re getting close to first pitch…
Cody Johnson is singing the national anthem: I haven’t heard of him, which means he’s probably the most popular singer on the planet. It was definitely what I imagine to be a Texas-like version, which is sensible considering, well, they’re in Texas.
Classy. Not spectacular, and a little off, but classy, and finished off with a “go Astros!”
I’ll give it a 7/10.
Tweet it out…
As we all know, this is the first time in the history of MLB, the NBA and the NHL that away teams have won the first six games of a seven game series.
About last night
Alex Rodriguez didn’t like the call, saying that it threatened to undermine this World Series.
His former teammate Phil Hughes had an amusing reply.
So did former Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper by the way.
Harper was talking about Barstool Sports’ “Rough ‘N Rowdy” celebrity boxing series, and was thinking, perhaps Martinez, his former manager, fight the umpires. He was certainly up for it.
Anyway, we know Bryce is watching, probably in a large house with a lot of imported Italian marble, on a very big TV, perhaps with his feet up on a Restoration Hardware couch.
He told the Athletic earlier this month:
Those are the guys I played with and came through the organization with … I wish them nothing but the best. And that’s real. I have no hard feelings toward them, or Mike Rizzo, or anything like that. You know, they’re a great team. And that’s why they are where they are.
All Astros on deck
As always in Game 7, traditional rules regarding pitchers rest do not apply. That means we could see Gerrit Cole, who pitched on Sunday, tonight. The soon to be free agent ace was hit a bit in Game 1 when he took the loss, but rebounded to toss seven innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts in Game 5.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports here in the US says his limit is about two innings and could be in a closer role if Houston’s manager AJ Hinch has to use their usual closer, Roberto Osuna, earlier in the game.
Also, don’t forget about Jose Urquidy, who came out of nowhere to toss five stellar innings in Houston’s Game 4 win in Washington.
The now 21-year-old has thgree home runs in the World Series, which is more than hall of famers like Mike Schmidt, for example.
And if you think Nats fans are excited about their wunderkind, just check out this clip from a pair of his former coaches.
One of the reasons that Houston acquired Zack Greinke was for a potential Game 7 of the World Series. And well, here we are: Greinke is getting set to start in a bid to bring a second title to Houston in three seasons.
The Dodgers, one of Greinke’s old teams, did a similar thing with Yu Darvish in 2017, trading for the Japanese-Persian hurler in mid-season to bolster their chances in the playoffs. Darvish infamously didn’t get out of the second inning against the Astros in Game 7, allowing five runs, four earned. It was ugly.
Can Greinke outdo Darvish in a similar spot? Well, Greinke has been inconsistent in the playoffs, sliding somewhere between champagne and BabyCham. Greinke was good in his last outing against Washington, allowing just one run in seven innings. But against the Rays he allowed six runs in 3.2 innings pitched. In 2017, while with the Diamondbacks, he was shelled in starts v Colorado and Los Angeles.
Overall, as good as Greinke has been throughout his career, I just don’t trust him in a spot like this, and expect something Darvish-ish.
So we’ve all heard the cliche about players who are so good that they could get out of bed and score 40 points or throw for 300 yards. Well, here is Max Scherzer’s chance to bounce off the mattress and pitch his team to a World Series title.
On Sunday Nats ace couldn’t move his neck and was suffering painful back spasms that saw him pulled from his role as Game 5 starting pitcher. Just days later, with the help of a fairly accurate cortisone shot, Scherzer is preparing to put the fortune of his ballclub on his balky back in a Game 7.
As if that wasn’t enough for Washington Nationals fans to worry about, his semi-personal catcher Kurt Suzuki, continues to be sidelined with a hip flexor issue. How did Scherzer pitch this year with Gomes catching? Well, in 12 starts his ERA was 4.09. How did Scherzer throw to Suzuki? Significantly better: in 16 starts his ERA was 2.08.
On top of all this, who knows how far he can go. ESPN TV in the US spoke with Nats manager Dave Martinez a few moments ago and spoke about his pitcher.
We’ve been communicating throughout all of this, we’re going to keep communicating…he gets it, he understands, he has a great game plan, we’ll see how far he goes.
You’d have to guess that starters Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez Nats bullpen would be available early if Scherzer is off his game.
Hello everybody and welcome to our Game 7 coverage! We’re all fired up for a high stakes MLB season finale.
Some eight months after pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, we are finally down to the last day of the 2019 baseball season, and a Game 7 between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros.
It’s the final game of a Series that’s been suddenly supercharged after a controversial umpire call that got folks talking baseball and lit up twitter.
In the seventh inning of Game 6, Sam Holbrook called out the Trea Turner for interfering with first baseman Yuli Gurriel’s ability to handle the throw: a contentious ruling that threatened the Nats’ bid to pad their one-run lead.
Then, Anthony Rendon stepped in slammed a two-run home run that provided Washington with all the breathing room they needed, while also saving MLB from the embarrassment of an entire offseason dedicated to reviewing the horrific call, over and over and over…and over.
But ball don’t lie justice has worked out for everybody except Houston, bringing a bright light to a Series that was threatening to become one of the more mundane encounters in its 115 year history.
Now we’ve got a Game 7 and a marquee pitching match-up between two former Cy Young Award winners: Max Scherzer for Washington v Zack Greinke for Houston.
There’s plenty of storylines to address between now and first pitch, but for now, settle in, get your popcorn ready, tweet your predictions to @LengelDavid, and get ready for a seventh game to decide a season.
Stand by for more baseball history. Stick with us!
We’re about an hour from the first pitch. Here’s a couple of newsy notes to pass along from the managers’ pre-game pressers.
- Houston manager AJ Hinch said Game 6 starter Justin Verlander, who took the loss in last night’s game to fall to 0-6 in seven career World Series starts, won’t be available tonight. Said the Astros skipper: “All hands on deck means most hands on deck.”
- Hinch said he spoke three times with Alex Bregman on Tuesday night about the third baseman carrying his bat to first base after hitting a home run in the first inning. Bregman apologized for the move after the game and the Houston manager shared what he told him about it. “It’s just not how we do things and not something that was necessary,” Hinch said. “It was an emotional reaction. I love the way he plays and it doesn’t diminish what he brings to the table, but it was unnecessary.”
- Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki, who’s missed the last three games while dealing with a hip flexor strain, was scratched from the starting lineup. The 36-year-old was initially listed in the starting lineup but was replaced again by Yan Gomes just under three hours before the first pitch.
The starting lineups!
The lineups for tonight’s game are out. No major surprises here … but there could be plenty of those ahead. The stratospheric stakes and the lack of a need to conserve arms for later outings, since there is no tomorrow, have frequently made for strange happenings in Game 7s. Starters tend to be kept on tight leashes and it’s not unusual to see top-of-the-staff aces making relief appearances that you’d never see in any other game. Basically, don’t be surprised if you see Gerrit Cole or Patrick Corbin getting loose in the bullpen if Scherzer or Greinke run into early trouble.
1 SS Trea Turner
2 RF Adam Eaton
3 3B Anthony Rendon
4 LF Juan Soto
5 DH Howie Kendrick
6 2B Asdrúbal Cabrera
7 1B Ryan Zimmerman
8 C Yan Gomes
9 CF Victor Robles
P Max Scherzer
1 CF George Springer
2 2B Jose Altuve
3 LF Michael Brantley
4 3B Alex Bregman
5 1B Yuli Gurriel
6 DH Yordan Alvarez
7 SS Carlos Correa
8 C Robinson Chirinos
9 RF Josh Reddick
RHP Zack Greinke
Hello and welcome to Minute Maid Park for tonight’s World Series finale between the Astros and Nationals. A total of 2,466 games have been played this Major League Baseball season and it all comes down to one more: Houston’s Zack Greinke v Washington’s Max Scherzer in the first ever showdown between former Cy Young Award winners in Game 7 of the Fall Classic – and the most delicious pitching matchup in a seventh game since the Yankees’ Roger Clemens and the Diamondbacks’ Randy Johnson faced off in 2001.
History suggests Houston’s home-field advantage is all but meaningless in tonight’s one-off with the visiting team having won in 20 of the previous 39 times the World Series has gone the full distance. That’s doubly true with this particular, peculiar matchup: the first time in 1,420 best-of-seven playoff series across MLB, the NBA and the NHL in which the road team has won the first six games.
First pitch is at 7.08pm local time or a little over 90 minutes from now. We’ll be back with the lineups in short order.
David will be here shortly, in the meantime here’s what fans thought about the recent booing controversy in Game 5: