Houston Astros, MLB Postseason

Pressure shifts to Astros, Zack Greinke in Game 7

With all the road teams winning each game thus far in the 2019 World Series, all the pressure is on the Houston Astros and Game 7 starter Zack Greinke.

It keeps happening. The road team keeps winning every game of the 2019 World Series. The Washington Nationals took Games 1 and 2 in Houston before the Houston Astros won Games 3, 4 and 5 in Washington, D.C. With a chance to snap the streak in Game 6, the Astros didn’t get it done, as they fell to the Nationals at home for the third time in this best-of-seven series, 7-2.

After seizing all momentum by winning all three games in the nation’s capital, it is now in Washington’s favor with a chance to win its first World Series in franchise history. The Nationals will send their ace Max Scherzer to the mound, while the Astros will have Zack Greinke toe the rubber opposite of him. Though a great pitcher in his own right, all the pressure is on Greinke.

Scherzer was scheduled to start back in Washington in Game 5 but was scratched in favor of Joe Ross due to back spasms Sunday night. It was an admirable effort by Ross, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead by beating the Nationals, 7-1. Scherzer was key in the Nationals’ 5-4 victory in Game 1. While Greinke only allowed one run in Game 3, he lasted just 4.2 innings in his no-decision.

Though neither All-Star pitcher has ever won a World Series, you have to believe the cooler head will prevail. Scherzer is a big-game pitcher about to pitch in the biggest game of his life. We know that Greinke can deal, but he can be a tad more erratic than his counterpart. If this becomes a pitcher’s duel, you have to like Scherzer’s chances over Greinke’s. The offense is the key here.

Tuesday was the first time the Astros had scored fewer than three runs in a World Series game. We have to give credit to the brilliant job Stephen Strasburg put together for the Nationals, as he out-pitched his counterpart in Justin Verlander, who has done everything in his Hall-of-Fame baseball career but win a World Series game. How is that even possible? Well, it is.

Washington might be a team of destiny. Just when it looks like they’re about to be eliminated, the Nationals find a way to stay alive. From the NL Wild Card Game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers to the NLDS vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Nationals have refused to let the clock strike midnight on their season.

We’re minutes to midnight for both teams, as Game 7 happens tomorrow night in Houston. This has the makings of an instant classic. Who will be Jack Morris and who will be John Smoltz? We may not get the 1991 finish here, but that’s certainly in play. Great-on-great has the potential to happen. Let’s just hope that it does happen. We want this Game 7 to go down to the wire.

Two of the best pitchers in baseball for the last decade will be going at it. Scherzer has the edge, but can this be Greinke’s defining moment? It’ll have to be, as the Astros need him to shut the door on the Nationals’ championship dreams so that they can win two titles in three years.

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