The Houston Astros will host the Washington Nationals for Game 6 of the 2019 World Series. Houston holds a three-games-to-two advantage in the Series and could clinch its second championship in three years with a win tonight.
The game, scheduled for 8:07 p.m. Eastern, will be broadcast on Fox and can be streamed online at FoxSports.com.
Keys to the Game
The Astros have won three straight games, and many people — including Las Vegas oddsmakers — are assuming they will finish the job, perhaps as early as tonight in Game 6. But an alternate ending is not too far-fetched: Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer (if he’s healthy) shut down the Astros — as they did in Games 1 and 2 in Houston — and are named co-M.V.P.s of a wacky World Series in which the road team wins every game.
Strasburg is 4-0 with a 1.93 E.R.A. in the postseason, and his nasty changeup has baffled four teams so far: the Brewers in the N.L. wild card game; the Dodgers, who whiffed 17 times in 12 combined innings against him; the Cardinals, who struck out 12 times and didn’t score an earned run; and the Astros in Game 2, with Alex Bregman’s two-run homer his only mistake. If he can win Game 6, then it would be up to Scherzer to overcome his back spasms to win Game 7.
Justin Verlander has pitched a season’s worth of games in the postseason since 2006, making 29 starts and one relief appearance, going 14-10 with a 3.35 E.R.A. That is no small sample size. A less illustrative sample is his World Series record: He is 0-5 in six World Series starts with a 5.73 E.R.A., including a Game 2 loss to Washington at home. His only World Series no-decision was Houston’s 11-inning win against the Dodgers in Game 2, 2017, and he left that game in the sixth inning trailing, 3-1.
This season he is 1-3, and perhaps his best outing came in a Game 5 loss to the Yankees in the A.L.C.S. Verlander gave up four first-inning runs on a pair of homers at Yankee Stadium, but then refused to give in or exit the game. The Astros needed a long outing from him because they had a bullpen game scheduled for Game 6 the next night. Verlander threw six more shutout innings when it was imperative that the bullpen rest, and it was an underappreciated element to the Astros winning the pennant. Can Verlander now find the same resolve to earn his first World Series win?