Hi all. Here’s how I saw Sunday night’s game 5 of the World Series. While President Trump attended the game, his name wasn’t on every lip as it usually is with this most controversial president. The man who trumped Trump was the injured Max Scherzer, whose replacement lost game 5 to Houston, 7–1.
I thought if anything stopped fans from talking about the president’s appearance, it would be the weather. Through the week, advanced forecasts showed rain in DC on Sunday. That didn’t happen. But dire news went out a few hours before the game, and suddenly the President’s appearance was a side show. The bulletin went around the baseball world around 4:30 Sunday afternoon that Max Scherzer had neck spasms and couldn’t face Gerrit Cole in game 5. The rematch of game 1 in Houston was off. As bad as losing games 3 and 4 was, losing Scherzer for game 5 seemed like the calamity it turned out to be. Joe Ross, almost a decade younger than Scherzer did what he could under insane pressure. The Nats had lost game 3 4–1 and game 4 8–1, so the fans, and doubtless the players knew any run scored by Houston would be magnified because Cole was pitching and the Nats weren’t hitting.
They didn’t regain their hitting stroke against Cole. In 7 innings, he gave up a run on 3 hits with 2 walks and 9 strikeouts. These weren’t the Nats who used to score 10 runs a game when Joe Ross was pitching, back in 2017 before he blew out his elbow. He lasted 5 innings in this game, giving up 4 runs on a pair of 2-run home runs. The first was by Yordan Alvarez in the second, one of 3 hits he would collect. He’s now 6 for 12 in the World Series after going 1 for 22 in the ALCS. In the top of the 4th, after a single by Alvarez, Carlos Correa hit his own 2-run home run into the seats in left field, giving the visitors a 4–0 lead, which was insurmountable with Cole pitching the way he was. Yuli Gurriel singled a run home in the 8th, followed by a gigantic home run in the 9th by George Springer, good for 2 more runs.
All told, Houston outscored Washington 19–3 in their own house after the Nationals won the first 2 games in Houston. The Nats managed just 1 hit in 21 tries with runners in scoring position. Visiting teams have only twice won all of the first 5 games of a World Series–in 1906 and 1996. In both cases, game 6 was won by the home team wrapping up the series. In 1906 it was the original Hitless Wonders, the Chicago White Sox taking 4 out of 6 from the Cubs. 90 years later it was the Yankees taking game 6 in the Bronx after a brilliant pitching duel in game 5 went their way. Andy Pettitte outpitched John Smoltz who now works upstairs with Joe Buck on the TV broadcast. History makes the Astros the favorite in game 6 on Tuesday night. Justin Verlander tries to win his first ever World Series game, and has to do it against Stephen Strasburg.0