Washington, D.C. – The World Series has changed the scenery as the Fall Classic moves to Nationals Park in Washington D.C. beginning tonight with Game 3.
The Nats look to send the Astros to the brink of elimination if they can take Game 3 but the Astros, down 0-2, come to the Nation's Capital still full of confidence after leading the Major Leagues with 107 wins during the regular season. It guarantees nothing, but they believe the turnaround starts tonight to get back in the series.
TOP 5 KEYS FOR THE ASTROS TO WIN GAME 3
GRIENKE NEEDS TO PITCH DEEP
Zack Greinke was acquired for moments like what he will face tonight and the pressure that goes with postseason baseball. His 2019 playoff resume has been up and down. He struggled badly in his one ALDS start against the Rays, lasting only 3.2 innings while giving up six earned runs. Greinke improved in two ALCS starts against the Yankees, tossing 10 innings while giving up only four runs and striking out 11. Greinke going tonight is a boost because he will also bat, since the World Series is now in a National League Park. For the record, I hate this rule in the World Series, where I believe DH should be in effect the entire series. Greinke and Chirinos need a great game and one that sees Greinke go at least five to six innings. He needs to attack this lineup using his off-speed stuff and mix in the fastball, keep the Nats off balanced and guessing.
SWING WITH CONFIDENCE
The Astros offense has been AWOL for most of this postseason. In the World Series to this point, the Nationals have outscored the Astros 17-7. That needs to change tonight. The Astros need to get back to what helped earn them 107 wins. They are the best offense in the Majors and can get back on track tonight.
George Springer needs to provide pop at the top of the lineup and get something started off of Anibal Sanchez in the first inning. Houston needs runs from the get-go to send the statement that they are here to win and get back into the series. Altuve has been lights out as usual in the World Series, with solid work in the box from Michael Brantley. Alex Bregman struggled in the ALCS and then broke out in Game 2 against the Nats with the two-run homer. That was it, though, and Bregman realizes as the four-hole hitter that he has to deliver consistently.
Yordan Alvarez looks like he has regained his confidence after getting two hits and a walk in Game 2. We'll see where Hinch has him tonight. He will likely be off the bench, since there is no DH. Alvarez could perhaps be in the outfield, but I would be surprised. We'll know more later. In the bottom half of the order, look out for much-needed big nights from Gurriel and Correa. They need to deliver!
PLAY RELAXED AND TAKE CROWD OUT OF IT
The Astros got to D.C. late Thursday and held an informal light workout for those who wanted it. They are not pressing and don't feel the pressure. They believe, despite the odds, that they can and will bounce back tonight in Game 3.
They also realize that their journey to the end of the road may take a little longer than expected. They have huge talent and know the production is there. They showed it all season long. Friday, these Nationals fans will be on another level. This area has been craving for the chance to win a title in baseball for a long time. The last time they had a shot was in 1933 and that was the Senators. Score early tonight against Sanchez and bring this crowd back down to Earth and that will be a tone-setter from the beginning of the night.
Those are a few keys to an Astros win. Add in great defense and bullpen production, and this can easily be an Astros victory. If not, it's 0-3 hole and the season will basically be over.
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