What a difference 48 hours can make.
At this time on Friday, the Washington Nationals were riding high while the Houston Astros’ backs were against the wall. The Nationals needed just two more victories to clinch the franchise’s first World Series championship.
While the latter remains true going into Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday, it’s the Astros who are now clicking on all cylinders while the Nationals fight to regain their mojo after losing Games 3 and 4 at Nationals Park.
And it won’t be easy now that the Nationals have announced Max Scherzer won’t be available to pitch due to reoccurring next spasms. Scherzer was set for a Game 1 rematch with Gerrit Cole, which he won by tossing five innings of two-run ball.
Right now, it’s the Astros who are proving their mettle. In Game 5, it feels like Washington has to do the same or this series will slip away. But as Nationals’ manager Dave Martinez reminds us, his team has been here many times before in 2019, and it has responded well every time.
“We've been here pretty much all year. So now it's the best two out of three, right? We've got two of our big horses going in the next two games. We just come back.””I just told the boys, ‘Hey, we're in the World Series. We're going to play Game 5, tied 2-2. Who would have thought that in the beginning? So here we are. Let's forget about it, can't do nothing about the last two games. Let's look ahead and get ready to play tomorrow.’”
Astros manager A.J. Hinch expressed similar confidence following Game 4, noting that his team’s approach hasn’t necessarily changed since the series shifted to D.C. They’ve just played better baseball.
“There was a lot of noise around losing the first two games, and rightfully so because the Nats had outplayed us, like I said. And I think we turned it around and now we've outplayed them for a couple of games, and now we have a three-game series, the winner of two of three wins the World Series.”But our mojo, our vibe, our approach, our banter in the clubhouse, we're the same.”
Game 5 lineups
What to watch for: Will a home team win?
Here’s an unusual sidebar. For the first time since the 1996 World Series, home teams have started the World Series 0-4. The Nationals won twice in Houston to begin the series. The Astros have won two straight in Washington. Overall, it’s only the fifth time this has happened in a World Series. The team that began with home-field advantage has come back to win three of the previous four series, so that’s encouraging news for Houston.
Game 5 pageantry
• The national anthem will be performed by Army Seargeant Major Bob McDonald.
• Spanish-American chef and philanthropist José Andrés will throw the ceremonial first pitch.
• 5-year-old Grayson Campbell will proclaim “Play Ball.”
Quote of the Day
“Yeah, I mean, I just — I hope I go home with nothing left in the tank.” — Astros’ pitcher Gerrit Cole on his mindset entering Game 5.
Where to Watch
Game 5 starts at 8:07 p.m. ET from Nationals Park in Washington D.C. TV coverage is on FOX.
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