Nats, Astros on to Game 7, and nobody should be surprised
The 2019 World Series will go the distance. Don’t act surprised.
This Fall Classic between the Nationals and Astros was allegedly a mismatch. The oddsmakers had the Astros as the heaviest favorite since 2007. Washington’s impressive run through the playoffs was not only supposed to end at the hands of a 107-win Houston team, but the Nats were supposed to be outplayed by a club that was on a much higher level.
Then the Nationals won the first two games in Houston in convincing fashion. Eyebrows were raised, sensing a narrative shift.
Then the Astros boringly took three straight in Washington. Eyebrows returned to their rightful place, normalcy apparently restored.
Then the Nationals took a thrilling Game 6 on the road behind a superb Stephen Strasburg, who proved again to be a postseason star. Forget the eyebrows this time. Entire bodies sat up in their chairs, intrigued by what could come next. Now we’ll have Game 7. But nobody should be shocked.
MORE: Five defining moment from Game 6
Despite the pre-series odds and talking points, and despite what we saw in Games 3-5, this series was never David vs. Goliath. It was more like Ripped and Svelte David vs. A Slightly More Ripped and Svelte Guy on Stilts Who Everyone Thinks is Goliath.
The Nationals are really, really good. They can hang with anyone. Sure, they’re “just” a wild-card team, but they’re no fluke. As the postseason has shown, and as much of the second half of the regular season displayed before it, they’re as talented as any team in baseball.
The Astros are also really, really good, the class of the American League. There are times when everything’s clicking so well for them that it seems amazing the ‘Stros ever lose.
This series always felt destined to go deep, despite the seemingly constant drudgery prior to Game 6. The first five games were at times surprising, weirdly predictable, maddening and lethargic. A lot didn’t make sense. But these teams were too good and too entertaining to underwhelm forever, which brings us back to Tuesday night.
Game 6 was what we always want the World Series to be: It was back and forth, there were clear heroes, there was drama. It was pure entertainment, and it saved the series from going down as one of the more boring in recent memory.
The road team has won each of the first six games, a first in any American pro sport. That’s certainly not what anyone expected, but also seems to make perfect sense in this series.
So now we’ll get Max Scherzer vs. Zack Greinke on Wednesday night for the world championship. Though nothing means anything in baseball, this one certainly has the ingredients for a classic closeout to the season.
It took a while to get here, and perhaps things didn’t follow a traditional script, but this final act is one we should’ve seen coming.
Related slideshow: Best of the 2019 MLB postseason (Provided by imagn)
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