Houston – The countdown clock to the World Series is winding down. The Astros, who won 107 games in the regular season, will open here in Houston for games 1 and 2 at Minute Maid Park.
The Nationals, who struggled early in the season, bounced back to finish strong and took out the Dodgers and Cardinals to punch their ticket to their first ever World Series. Washington's last rep in the World Series were the Senators way back in 1933.
The Nationals are deep and talented just like the Astros except their one glaring weakness is their bullpen. If the Astros can get to the starters in Scherzer and Strasburg then their chances go through the roof in this World Series.
WHICH 4 NATIONALS PLAYERS ARE KEY TO THEIR SUCCESS AND TO LOOK OUT FOR ?
ANTHONY RENDON / 3RD BASEMAN
It starts and ends with Rendon for the Nationals. Rendon, the former Rice and Lamar High School star, put up MVP numbers this season smashing 34 home runs with 126 RBI while hitting at a .319 clip. He is as clutch as you will find in the Major Leagues not only with his bat but also with his glove. His defense is underrated but respected by all including the Astros who have raved about Rendon the past two days.
JUAN SOTO / RIGHTFIELDER
One of the Nationals young superstars is poised to make an impact in this World Series with his defense and big time pop with his bat. Soto is just 20 years old ( turns 21 in the next week) but plays like a veteran. Like Rendon, he has power with 34 home runs and 100 RBI this season. He has great patience in the box and will make the pitchers earn the out. He walked over 100 times in the season so getting on base often will be key to the Nats offensive attack and gameplan.
RYAN ZIMMERMAN / 1ST BASEMAN
A great story with his longtime ties to the Nationals organization since its inception. Many believe he will be a manager one day if he chooses that route. Zimmerman has been steady in the postseason with the bat and glove after sitting out part of the season with injuries. He is one of the steady guys that will be in the lineup each night. He wants this title more than anyone.
ANIBAL SANCHEZ / STARTING PITCHER
While Scherzer and Strasburg get most of the headlines, as they should, it's Sanchez that is the sleeper in this rotation for Washington. He is their 4th starter who, like Scherzer , is a former teammate in Detroit with Justin Verlander. Sanchez should likely go on Saturday in Game 4 and will bring a nice playoff resume with him. So far this postseason he has been lights out in just over 12 innings of work where he has allowed only 1 run. In his career Sanchez has nearly 60 innings of playoff work under his belt. The Nationals will rely on his at home in a few days.