October 22: another late start to the World Series in the year of the home run, 6,766—that’s 600 more homers hit this year than in any year before. It was also a record year for strikeouts, yet with all of that, attendance declined again.
Major League Baseball has tried to speed up the game, juiced the baseball, limited mound visits and put a clock on time between innings, and the games still took longer, averaging 3.09 hours.
Four teams won over 100 games this year for the first time: Houston 107, Los Angeles 106, New York 103, and the Twins 101. And four teams lost over 100 games for the first time ever: Detroit 114, Baltimore 108, Miami 105, and Kansas City 103.
After all that has gone on with the boys of summer, the best have reached the Fall Classic. For the first time in 86 years, the Washington Nationals, once the Montreal Expos, have reached the World Series.
They will battle the Houston Astros, who are in their second World Series in three years. Both teams are loaded with talent and are anchored with two great starters.
The Nationals are hot. They swept St. Louis 4-0 in the National League Championship series. They beat Milwaukee in the National League Wild Card game 4-3 and rallied to beat Los Angeles three games to two.
Washington swept St. Louis 4-0 and rolled into the World Series winners of five in a row and eight of 10. Both teams are loaded and deep. The Nationals won 93 games as a Wild Card and finished the season on an eight-game win streak.
Pitching is the name of the game, and both Houston and Washington have great starting pitchers. The Nationals have Anibal Sanchez and three-time Cy Young Award-winner Max Scherzer.
The Nationals are led by superstar National League MVP candidate Anthony Rendon. He had a spectacular season, hitting 319 with 34 homers and led the National League with 126 RBIs Washington recently offered him a seven-year $215 million contract. Teammate Howie Kendrick was the NLCS MVP. He has been on fire with timely clutch hits in the playoffs.
Houston will be tough with the great Justin Verlander (21-6) and Gerrit Cole (20-5). Cole has been sensational and unbeatable (19-0) in his last 25 starts since May with an ERA of 1.59 and over 300 strikeouts.
Jose Altuve, the former AL MVP, is the current ALCS MVP. His dramatic homerun won game six against the Yankees.
I’m a huge American League fan. Houston beat the Yankees 4-2, and the Yankees swept the Twins. I like Houston in a good, dramatic series to win it four games to two.