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Postseason watch: Astros, Nats set for Fall Classic

October 20, 2019

The 2019 World Series is set. The Astros finished off the Yankees in dramatic fashion on Jose Altuve's walk-off homer in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series to book their trip to the World Series, where they will have home-field advantage against the Nationals, who swept the Cardinals

The 2019 World Series is set.

The Astros finished off the Yankees in dramatic fashion on Jose Altuve's walk-off homer in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series to book their trip to the World Series, where they will have home-field advantage against the Nationals, who swept the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series.

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Postseason bracket

NLDS: Nationals beat Dodgers (3-2); Cardinals beat Braves (3-2)

ALDS: Astros beat Rays (3-2); Yankees sweep Twins

NLCS: Nationals sweep Cardinals

ALCS: Astros beat Yankees (4-2)

World Series (2-3-2 format)
Game 1 -- Tuesday on FOX (8 p.m. ET)

The Astros have reached the World Series for the second time in three years, and they'll open the 115th Fall Classic on Tuesday against the Nationals with home-field advantage (Games 1-2 and 6-7) because of their better regular-season record (107-55) than the Nationals' (93-69).

Who's on the mound? With two of the game's best starting rotations in this Fall Classic, Game 1 will be a marquee matchup. Though neither team has officially announced their World Series rotation, the Astros have Gerrit Cole ready to go on plenty of rest, and the Nationals will likely send three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to the hill.

Cole has been the best starting pitcher of the postseason so far. In 22 2/3 innings over three starts (two in the ALDS and one in the ALCS), Cole has been nearly unhittable, yielding one run on 10 hits while walking eight and striking out 32.

Scherzer gave up three runs on four hits over five innings during the Nationals' NL Wild Card Game win over the Brewers. Since then, he's been stellar, making three appearances (two starts) over which he's given up only one run on five hits over 15 innings, walking five and fanning 21.

Key matchups: Michael Brantley has had success against Scherzer throughout his career, hitting .341 (15-for-44) with eight doubles and a homer against the veteran right-hander. In the Nationals lineup, keep an eye on Anthony Rendon -- he's 5-for-13 (.385) lifetime against Cole.

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League Championship Series (2-3-2 format)

ALCS (2-3-2 format): Astros beat Yankees (4-2)

The Astros capped an instant classic ALCS Game 6 against the Yankees on Saturday with a walk-off pennant clincher to secure the third World Series trip in franchise history and their second in three seasons, advancing to play the Nationals on Jose Altuve's homer in the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park.

The win came after DJ LeMahieu's stunning two-run homer off Roberto Osuna with one out in the ninth tied it at 4, swinging the momentum temporarily in the Yankees' favor.

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NLCS (2-3-2 format): Nationals sweep Cardinals (4-0)

Patrick Corbin struck out 12 in five innings and Washington chased Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson amid a seven-run first inning that set up the biggest win in club history. The Nats became the third team to advance from the Wild Card Game to the World Series since the introduction of the Wild Card Game in 2012 (the Giants and Royals both took that route to the 2014 Fall Classic). Thanks to a better regular-season record, the Astros will have home-field advantage in the World Series, which begins with Game 1 on Tuesday.

Since 2006, only twice has the team that clinched its World Series berth first gone on to win the World Series -- the 2008 Phillies and 2018 Red Sox.

ALDS (2-2-1 format): Astros beat Rays (3-2)

In Game 5, the Astros scored four runs in the first inning against Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, giving Cole – now 18-0 in his last 24 starts – all the cushion he would need. The right-hander cruised, allowing just two hits while striking out 10 in eight innings for his second win of the series.

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ALDS (2-2-1 format): Yankees sweep Twins (3-0)
Gleyber Torres drove in the first run of Game 3 with a second-inning home run and also made a stellar defensive play to get New York out of a fifth-inning jam as the Yankees completed a sweep to advance to the American League Championship Series.

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NLDS (2-2-1 format): Cardinals beat Braves (3-2)

The Cardinals sent 14 batters to the plate in the first inning of Game 5, chasing Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz after just one-third of an inning and scoring 10 runs -- tied for the most in a single frame in postseason history. The damage was spread equally across the Cardinals' lineup, as four players got at least two RBIs, and eight players plated at least one run, including St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty, who worked six strong innings for the win.

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NLDS (2-2-1 format): Nationals beat Dodgers (3-2)

The Nationals tied Game 5 of the NLDS against the Dodgers with back-to-back homers from Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto off Clayton Kershaw in the eighth inning, and Howie Kendrick hit a go-ahead grand slam off Joe Kelly in the 10th inning. Sean Doolittle closed out the bottom of the 10th to secure the 7-3 win Wednesday over the two-time defending NL champions in front of a stunned Dodger Stadium crowd.

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NL Wild Card: Nationals 4, Brewers 3

AL Wild Card: Rays 5, A's 1