Both Washington Nationals’ starter Max Scherzer and Houston Astros’ starter Gerrit Cole were asked in their pre-World Series press conferences on Monday afternoon what they thought about the lineups they would be going up against Game 1 off the 115th Fall Classic tonight.
Scherzer, 35, made 27 starts this season, missing time with injury issues that led to two trips to the Injured List, but he finished his 12th major league campaign with a 2.92 ERA, a 2.45 FIP, 33 walks (1.72 BB/9), 243 Ks (12.69 K/9), and a .222/.266/.371 line against in 172 2⁄3 IP, and he’s put up a 1.80 ERA, 3.66 FIP, eight walks (3.60 BB/9), 27 Ks (12.15 K/9), and .134/.227/.299 line against in four games (three starts) and 20 IP in October.
Cole, 29, won 20 games this season, (20-5) in 33 starts, and he put up a 2.50 ERA, 2.64 FIP, 48 walks (2.03 BB/9), 326 Ks (13.82 K/9), and a .186/.237/.343 line against in 212 1⁄3 IP for the Astros in the regular season, before winning each of his three postseason starts with a 0.40 ERA, a 2.02 FIP, eight walks (3.18 BB/9), 32 Ks (12.71 K/9), and a .132/.214/.197 line against in 22 2⁄3 IP so far.
Scherzer discussed what stood out about the Astros’ lineup heading into his Game 1 start.
“Just a lot of different ways they can beat you,” the three-time Cy Young award-winner told reporters.
“Predominantly right-handed but they’ve got a couple of left-hand bats in there that are definitely big-time threats. And just what they do up and down the order. It’s a complete lineup 1 through 9.
“You’ve got to be executing every single pitch you go out there and throw.”
And Cole’s take on the NL Champion Nationals’ roster?
“I think they’re incredibly talented,” the Astros’ right-hander said.
“I think they’ve had their backs up against the wall early in the year and it just kind of goes to show you the character of the players that they have.
“I think in this, the center of the lineup, it starts with Anthony Rendon being the tone-setter, a really special talent, probably a generational talent. We’ll have to see how it all plays out.
“But if it goes as expected he’ll probably end up in the Hall of Fame. He’s so cool and calm and collected. And I think a lot of his players feed off that. And he takes care of the baseball on both sides of the ball, both defensively and offensively. His approach is really deliberate.
“And they have a lot of really great supporting characters that surround him, their catching corps is as strong as ever. Their outfield play is excellent. And on the mound they’re nasty.”
Who’s going to end the night with and early lead in the 2019 World Series?