Deep in the yearning heart of Texas on Wednesday, the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros will play one game of professional baseball. That lone, lantern-jawed, and steely-eyed game will determine who wins both belt and title for the 2019 MLB season. Lo and also behold: .
It's the fourth time in the last six years that We the People of Baseball have been graced with a World Series Game 7, and to set the scene for maximum drama and stakes we're here to roll out a hodgepodge of #facts about Wednesday night's heavyweight bout. Forthwith ...
2. While it's not likely to happen on Wednesday night, it's still worth noting that no pitcher has thrown a shutout in Game 7 of the World Series since Jack Morris of the Twins in 1991.
3. Sandy Koufax was the last to throw a World Series Game 7 shutout on the road -- a 2-0 shutout in 1965 at the Twins.
4. Overall, just nine pitchers have thrown shutouts in Game 7 of the World Series.
5. Morris was also the last to throw a complete game in a World Series Game 7.
6. Just 19 pitchers have thrown complete games in Game 7 of the World Series.
7. Steve Blass of the 1971 Pirates was the last to throw a World Series Game 7 complete game on the road.
8. The expectation is that Houston manager A.J. Hinch will at some point turn to Game 5 starter Gerrit Cole for some outs out of the bullpen. If that does happen, then it will be Cole's first relief appearance since May of 2009, when he was a freshman at UCLA (h/t: @PaulHembo).
9. Astros center fielder George Springer enters Game 7 with a career World Series OPS of 1.380. That's the highest mark all-time, minimum 50 plate appearances. In second place is David Ortiz with a mark of 1.372.
10. Springer has a shot to become just the fifth player ever to hit a home run in multiple World Series Game 7s. He homered against the Dodgers in Game 7 in 2017.
11. Astros third baseman Alex Bregman comes in with five career World Series home runs. That's third all-time among players age 25 or younger. Mickey Mantle leads with nine, and Goose Goslin is second with six.
12. Home teams are 19-20 all-time in World Series Game 7s.
13. On the other hand, home teams have won nine of the last 12 World Series Game 7s.
14. As you're no doubt aware, the road team has won all six games of the 2019 World Series. There's never been a World Series in which the road team won every game.
15. In three games in Houston during this World Series, the Nationals have scored a total of 24 runs.
16. In three games at home during this World Series, the Nationals have scored a total of three runs.
17. The Astros are trying to win their second World Series title in the last three years. If they pull it off, they'll become the first team to do so since the Giants in 2012 and 2014 and the first American League team to pull it off since the Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000.
18. The Astros are trying to become the first team since the 2013 Red Sox to clinch the World Series on their home field.
19. The last team to win the World Series Game 7 at home was the 2011 Cardinals.
20. The Nationals are looking for their first World Series title in franchise history. Coincidentally, the only team in the past 15 years to win the franchise's first World Series title was the Astros, who did it in 2017.
22. Yogi Berra of the 1956 Yankees is only player with a multi-homer game in a World Series Game 7.
23. Bill Mazeroski of the 1960 Pirates remains the only player ever to hit a walk-off home run in a World Series Game 7.
24. Just five times, including Mazeroski's homer, has a World Series Game 7 ended on a walk-off hit. The last time it happened was 2001, with Luis Gonzalez's bloop single off Mariano Rivera.
25. Roger Clemens (2001), Bob Gibson (1967), Sandy Koufax (1965), and Hal Newhouser (1945) share the record for most strikeouts in a World Series Game 7 with 10. All four of those outings came on the road.
26. Mantle holds the record for most World Series home runs by a player age 21 or younger with four. Nationals OF Juan Soto is right behind him with three.
27. Speaking of Soto, he comes in with a 2019 World Series slash line of .304/.407/.783. Consider him to be on the World Series MVP shortlist heading into Game 7.
28. The Nats are trying to become the 21st team to come back from down 3-2 to win a best-of-seven World Series.
29. Nats third baseman Anthony Rendon and Cole of the Astros are among the pending 2019-20 free agents. As well, Nats Game 6 starter Stephen Strasburg has an opt-out in his contract that he seems likely to use. As such, Game 7 could be the last time you see these three stars in their respective uniforms.
30. This World Series has seen a total of 11 first-inning runs scored. That ties the record set in 1909 and then first tied in 2012.
31. History suggests Game 7 could be a tight one. Of the 39 World Series Game 7s, 15 have decided by one run and 22 by two runs or fewer. In all, 29 have been decided by three runs or fewer and 32 by four runs or fewer.
33. MLB teams from the city of Washington, D.C. are 1-0 in World Series Game 7s. The Washington Senators back in 1924 defeated the New York Giants 4-3 in 12 innings for the city's only title to date.
34., while the Astros are 1-0.
Appetites sufficiently whetted? Great. Let's play ball.
Oh, wait, one more:
35. Social media activity suggests that Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is amped for World Series Game 7. Observe:
GAME 7!!!!— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) October 30, 2019
There. That's all. Play ball for real.