It’s time for world series
(Agence France-Presse) - October 23, 2019 - 12:00am

Astros, Nats in pitching battle

Two of the greatest pitching rotations in baseball playoff history will duel when the 115th World Series starts Tuesday with Houston’s Gerrit Cole and Washington’s Max Scherzer on the mound.

Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven championship showdown is the first since 1945 to feature six of the 20 pitchers with the lowest earned-run averages from the regular season.

Cole, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke ignite the Astros, who seek a second title in three seasons, while Scherzer, Steven Strasburg and Patrick Corbin power Washington, which will try to bring the US capital its first crown since 1924.

“Both sides have got unbelievable starting pitching so it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “I just want our club to go out there and play the game like we’re capable of playing, and focus on the little things.”

It’s the first MLB playoff series to feature five of the 10 major league strikeouts leaders, paced by Cole and Verlander and joined by the Nats’ trio. It’s only the second time since 1930 that the two teams with the most strikeouts from starters meet in the World Series.

“There are a lot of really good starting pitchers on the other side of the field, guys that kind of emulate the role in terms of longevity, durability, creativeness, tenacity, grit,” Cole said. “Just a pleasure to share the field with them on the greatest stage.”

The Astros have won 16 consecutive games when Cole has started. The 29-year-old right-hander hasn’t lost a game in five months and has struck out 39.7 percent of all batters he has faced in the season and playoffs, a major league record.

“When you dream as a little kid about storybook endings and players and scenarios like that, I feel tremendously humbled to be in this position,” Cole said. “It’s very special.”

Cole led the major leagues with 326 strikeouts and is 19-0 with a 1.59 ERA over 169 1.3 innings in his past 25 starts.

“He’s on top of the world right now,” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said. “It’s great.”

 

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