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Rick Zamperin: Elite starting pitchers set to dominate World Series

Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole has been the most dominant pitcher in Major League Baseball in 2019.
Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole has been the most dominant pitcher in Major League Baseball in 2019. EPA/LARRY W. SMITH

2019 was the year of the home run in Major League Baseball, but this year’s World Series will most assuredly be dominated by some of the game’s best starting pitchers.

The Houston Astros will host the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of the Fall Classic starting Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The pitching matchups have not officially been announced but we can expect to see the American League champion Astros give the ball to the hottest pitcher on Earth, and A.L. Cy Young Award favourite, Gerritt Cole in Game 1.

Cole is 3-0 with a minuscule 0.40 earned run average this postseason and is 19-0 in his last 25 starts overall. Houston has won each of Cole’s last 16 starts.

The N.L. champion Nationals will give the ball to Max Scherzer, who is 2-0 in this year’s playoffs with a 1.80 ERA, and has allowed just one run on five hits while striking out 18 batters in his last two playoff starts.

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READ MORE: Washington Nationals head to World Series for first time in team history

After a regular season in which batters hit a total of 6,776 home runs, smashing the single-season home run record of 6,105 set just two years ago, it is interesting to note that the most important series of the season will most likely be decided by the guys on the mound.

The Game 2 pitching matchup will likely pit Houston’s Justin Verlander (21-6 in the regular season) against Washington’s Stephen Strasburg (18-6) while Zack Greinke (18-5) and Patrick Corbin (14-7) should go for the Stros and Nats, respectively, in Game 3.

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Runs will be hard to come by, that’s for sure.

The team that wins the World Series (and let the record show that I picked the Astros to beat Nationals back on March 21) will be the club who can get big hits in key situations because I don’t expect these all-world hurlers to make too many mistakes.

I will pick Houston to beat Washington in six hotly contested games.

Washington Nationals fans celebrate League championship win

Washington Nationals fans celebrate League championship win
Washington Nationals fans celebrate League championship win