Astros vs. Nationals: 2019 World Series offers historically great showdown of starting pitching
Each team has three legitimate aces
The World Series is upon us and it looks to be an exciting matchup. We've got two teams full of fun players to watch. The Astros are looking to kickstart dynasty talk while the Nationals are looking for the first World Series title in franchise history. One of the many reasons this series will be fun is the rotations are historically good.
Let's take a deeper look at each team's arsenal of arms.
- Stephen Strasburg: 18-6, 3.32 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 251 K, 52 BB*, 209 IP, 6.3 WAR
- Max Scherzer: 11-7, 2.92 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 243 K, 31 BB, 172 1/3 IP, 5.8 WAR
- Patrick Corbin: 14-7, 3.25 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 238 K, 68 BB, 202 IP, 5.4 WAR
- Anibal Sanchez: 11-8, 3.85 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 134 K, 48 BB, 166 IP, 3.3 WAR
There are 12 All-Star Games, three Cy Youngs and an ERA title (you wouldn't believe it was Sanchez, would you?) here.
- Gerrit Cole: 20-5, 2.50 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 326 K, 48 BB, 212 1/3 IP, 6.9 WAR
- Justin Verlander: 21-6, 2.58 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 300 K, 42 BB, 223 IP, 7.8 WAR
- Zack Greinke: 18-5, 2.93 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 187 K, 28 BB, 208 2/3 IP, 6.4 WAR
There are 17 All-Star Games, four ERA titles, an MVP and two Cy Youngs here. We can probably say three Cy Youngs, too, since the 2019 award is likely going to either Verlander or Cole.
*All walks listed are including unintentional walks only
In this group there are two surefire Hall of Famers (Verlander and Scherzer) and Greinke has a good shot at well. You could also talk yourself into Strasburg and/or Cole making it eventually. The group has combined for 29 All-Star Games, five Cy Youngs (with a sixth coming soon) and five ERA titles. Strasburg and Cole were both No. 1 overall picks, Verlander went second overall, Greinke went sixth and Scherzer went 11th.
This group is simply stellar.
Some might disagree, but in going back through the playoff rotations of all the World Series teams in the divisional era (after the 1994 strike), this is the best matchup. Most of the time there was a stacked rotation, the other side didn't quite match. Here are some of the best ones.
[Note: I'm not necessarily listing the pitchers in the order they threw in the World Series]
White Sox: Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia, Jose Contreras
Astros: Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, Brandon Backe
Braves: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Kevin Millwood
Yankees: Roger Clemens, David Cone, Andy Pettitte, Orlando Hernandez
I think our best bets for comparison to this year are 1999 and 2001. There's probably an argument that those were as good or even better, but 2019 is definitely in the conversation.
We could go back further than the divisional era and it would hold up quite well for a while. This is a historically good matchup of starting pitching in the World Series. Get excited!
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