WASHINGTON -- When last it happened, General Crowder’s outing put the home nine in an early hole and, ultimately, the inability of Goose Goslin, Heinie Manush and Joe Kuhel to do any damage off Dolf Luque in the 10th inning spelled doom.
Truly, the names -- and the game -- were a lot different on Oct. 7, 1933, when the Washington Senators played (and lost) the fifth and final game of the Fall Classic against the New York Giants. The World Series hasn’t been back to the nation’s capital since. A lot can happen in 86 years and, as the Washington Nationals have proven this postseason, a lot can happen in a single month, too.
The Nats enter the long-awaited Game 3 at Nationals Park on Friday night looking to do what the 1933 Giants and many others have done -- capitalize on a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven set. Their remarkable October run, which now includes a record-tying eight straight wins in a single postseason, will create a charged and electric atmosphere in the nation’s capital, where Aníbal Sánchez will oppose Zack Greinke.
“We're just looking forward to the next game,” said Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki, whose solo homer put the Nats up for good in Game 2 at Minute Maid Park. “Obviously, we know what's at stake. We're not looking too far in the future. We know to keep our eye on the target, come out, just be 1-0 the next day and go from there.”
While these Nationals have so far been unencumbered by the weight of history, the Astros are suddenly dealing with historic weight of their own. In all postseason series with the 2-3-2 format, teams going down 0-2 at home have come back to win just three of 25 times -- most recently, the 1996 Yankees in the World Series against the Braves. In fact, the ’96 Yankees are the only one of the last 18 World Series teams that went down 0-2 -- whether those first two games were played at home or on the road -- and somehow won it all.
“Clearly, Game 3 becomes critical for us,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “I doubt the Nats are going to feel too confident that they have this sewed up and they can start planning the parade. We're going to give them a fight for it.”
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 3 will be on Friday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
All World Series games will be available to MLB.TV subscribers who are authenticated subscribers to FOX through a participating pay TV provider.
What are the starting lineups?
Astros: With no designated-hitter spot available for the three games in D.C., Hinch did not start usual DH Yordan Alvarez in the outfield. He'll look to use Alvarez in a key pinch-hitting spot instead.
Nationals: This Nats' offense erupted for 12 runs on 14 hits and three homers to carry themselves to victory in Game 2. In losing the designated hitter, the Nats kept Asdrúbal Cabrera at second base, with Howie Kendrick available off the bench.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Astros: After losing games started by aces Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, the Astros will give the ball to veteran right-hander Greinke (0-2, 6.43 ERA in the postseason). Greinke pitched well in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, against the Yankees, and gave up one run in 4 1/3 innings in Game 4. He faced the Nationals earlier this season, throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings and allowing two hits at Nationals Park on June 13, when he was with the D-backs.
Nationals: The Nationals are hopeful that the long layoff will not effect Sánchez (1-0, 0.71 ERA in the postseason), because he has been lights out this month. In two starts (12 2/3 innings), he’s given up just one run on five hits, with 14 strikeouts and three walks, but this will be his first start since Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, on Oct.11.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Astros: Houston can only hope Greinke can take them somewhat deep into the game and allow it to use Will Harris and Roberto Osuna with a lead. Ryan Pressly’s viability as a high-leverage reliever has to be in question after he gave up three earned runs in two-thirds of an inning in Game 2 to raise his postseason ERA to 18.90, and Josh James and Chris Devenski were touched for homers. Joe Smith might be the third-best relief option.
Nationals: The Nationals finally committed to left-hander Patrick Corbin to make his start in Game 4, which would in theory remove Corbin from consideration to come out of the bullpen. If all goes according to plan, they hope to avoid Corbin; however, manager Dave Martinez has been aggressive in his plan to go “1-0 every day.” Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson got a breather in Game 2 and could be available for more than three outs.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Any injuries of note?
Who is hot and who is not?
Astros: Altuve is having a torrid postseason, batting .358 with five homers. He had three hits in Game 2. Brantley is hitting .280 in the playoffs, but it gets ugly after that. Bregman (.233), Gurriel (.231, 10 RBIs), Alvarez (.213), Springer (.167), Correa (.160) and Reddick (.111) have struggled to find hits.
Nationals: After the offensive outburst in Game 2, take your pick. Eaton hit his first career postseason homer and had multi-hit games in both contests. Soto delivered his third extra-base hit of the series. During their MLB-record eight-game postseason winning streak, the Nats are outscoring the competition, 56-19.
Anything else fans might want to know?
With a win on Friday night, the Nationals would become the first team to win nine consecutive games in a single postseason. ... Altuve has reached base in 22 consecutive playoff games. … Gurriel’s 12 doubles are the most in Astros postseason history.