Astros vs Nationals Live: Astros vs Nationals Live Stream When the Washington Nationals and Houston Watch Astros meet in Game 1 of the 2019 World Series on Tuesday at Minute Maid Astros vs Nationals Live Park, they’ll come in on different rest Free schedules, as is typically the case. The Nats are coming off a sweep of the Cardinals in the NLCS, and that means they’ll be operating on six days’ rest in Game 1 of the World Series.
It seems like the default assumption should be that, after six months of regular season and two series of high-stakes postseason play, extra rest is a good thing. After all, it’s a structural reward for taking care of business as early as possible in the LCS round.
However, you need not wander very far to find concerns that extra rest leading up to the World Series will compromise rhythm or intensity or allow rust to set in or something along those lines. That’s not a ridiculous notion, but it would seem to be a cost you’d accept in exchange for additional time to recuperate after, oh, 173 games of baseball.
To poke into this matter, we went back through 1969 — the first year of LCS play — and counted up how many days of rest each pennant winner had going into the World Series. What follows is not the final and lasting word on the matter — we didn’t do things like correct for the quality of the teams involved (World Series occasionally have on-paper mismatches, you know) — but it gives at least a quick-and-dirty idea of whether extra rest is helpful, damaging, or somewhere in the nebulous middle. Here’s some of what we found.
Again, there’s a lot of noise in the numbers, so don’t mistake this for some kind of peer-reviewed authoritative word on the matter. That said, you don’t have enough here to assume that the extra rest will hurt the Nationals. And given the fact that their bullpen doesn’t have a great deal of depth, the extra rest probably helps them on that front.
Teams with six or more days of rest have, again, won most of the World Series in which they’ve competed. Just as teams that have “out-rested” their opponents by at least four games have lost most of their encounters. That’s a pleasing mixed bag when it comes to the current World Series. Uncertainty is what you want this time of year, you know. In the end, history doesn’t suggest that getting extra rest is a bad thing.
In the year of the home run, the Astros and Nationals have served as reminders that exciting, dominant starting pitching is still out there, and still effective. Both clubs, who will face off in the 2019 World Series beginning with Game 1 on Tuesday, are built around their rotation. Pitching, was hardly the focus in the regular season, however. Instead, it was the juiced ball that got the attention, from early April when its use was first detected, and then in the postseason when, suddenly, it was nowhere to be found.
Some narrative-setting background, for those who haven’t been following along: the 2019 ball isn’t actually “juiced,” but its seams have been altered in a way that changes its aerodynamics significantly — those alternations and their effects have been described in detail by Meredith Willis and Rob Arthur. That change, which reduces drag, played more than a small part in this record-setting season, in which a new mark was set for the most homers in a single MLB season… on September 11, with weeks to go before all of the playoff spots were locked up. That record-breaking dinger, struck by the Orioles’ Jonathan Villar, was number 6,106 for the year: by season’s end, the league had hit 6,776, shattering the old mark.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, like in the 2017 season when ball physics was also a popular topic, repeatedly denied anything was different about the balls, then moved on to denying that anything was deliberately different, and then finally admitted that something was both different and wrong, and that MLB would get the baseball scientists on the case so they could figure out what it was come the offseason.
Manfred spoke of how MLB wanted to strive for transparency on the ball issue, and that, while they weren’t required to discuss changes to the ball with the Players Association, they wanted to make sure players would be “aware” of the situation. Then, when the playoffs started, roughly a week after Manfred’s comments, the rocket ball vanished. There was no notice from the league. MLB is, once again, denying they’ve done anything, and are saying that the postseason balls are the same as the regular season balls despite acting entirely differently. Then again, MLB spend months trying to tell us there was nothing special or different about the 2019 regular season balls, either.
Teams like the Twins rode the juiced ball to the postseason. Minnesota crushed the previous record for homers in a season: they surpassed that mark of 267 on August 31, and then finished their campaign with 307 bombs. Twins, whose strategy for victory was to hit dingers and let a stellar bullpen do the rest, were swept by the Yankees in the ALDS. Their team, which featured 11 different players with at least 10 homers, had their most significant advantage removed just in time for their toughest and most important matchup of the year.