So, that was unexpected. Obviously, a 2-0 lead would be ideal in this situation — but more ideal would be if Stephen Strasburg could go, say, eight innings and allow either Daniel Hudson or Sean Doolittle to get a day off. Of course, that won’t really happen, because nothing about these playoffs has made sense, and Fernando Rodney will probably hit a walk-off home run for the away team tonight.
Here’s what’s happening in Houston:
Juan Soto, Nationals' generational talent, shines in World Series debut (WaPo)
Juan Soto, if the last two years aren't some massive fluke, clearly has the potential to be—hell, he may already be—one of the great hitters of this generation. On Tuesday night, that showed again, with his ability to beat Gerrit Cole's best stuff, his mental fortitude at the plate, his crazy strength.
World Series: Nationals stun Astros in Game 1, 5-4 (WaPo)
The Nats, if they were to trust common logic, were not going to win Game 1 of the World Series. Then the offense showed up against Gerrit Cole, and Davey Martinez pieced together 12 outs from his bullpen—if Patrick Corbin can be included in the Bullpen—to scrape by with a one-run win.
Astros’ Gerrit Cole looks mortal in Game 1 of World Series (WaPo)
Cole walked Kurt Suzuki, allowed a single to Victor Robles, another single to Adam Eaton, and a double to Juan Soto all in one inning. It was perhaps the most damaging inning against him in the entirety of October.
World Series Game 1: The Nationals Beat the Unbeatable Gerrit Cole (The Ringer)
It's very clear that the bullpen matching up with the Astros is something the Nationals should try and avoid as much as possible – but the complexion of this series has indubitably changed given that the Nats now have a 1-0 lead and could steal another game on the road with Stephen Strasburg going tonight.
Astros drop Game 1 of World Series to Nationals (Houston Chronicle)
It was Gerrit Cole's first average outing after months of looking unbeatable; the five runs he allowed equaled every run he allowed in the month of September.
Three quick observations from the Nationals’ win in Game One of the World Series (The Athletic)
The Astros spent all game grinding Scherzer into long at-bats, letting him throw first pitch strikes and attempt to put them away with pitches out of the zone at which they would not bite. Maybe it was intentional, or maybe it was Scherzer throwing a step more wildly than he would normally. Also, Juan Soto, what a freakin' game — and Carlos Correa's diving stop may have re-aggravated a back injury.
Q&A: Joe Buck on his ALCS walkoff call, his 22nd World Series, critics and more (The Athletic)
Joe Buck is all about letting the crowd do the work, especially in the biggest of moments. Also, the Nats apparently moved the broadcast booth for the playoffs, and he thought as of yesterday morning that the Astros had an edge because nobody could figure out Gerrit Cole.
Nationals go for broke and take Game 1 of World Series (MASN)
The Nats know they have Stephen Strasburg going tonight. They know they weren't going to get a better chance to steal a game on the road than the one they had at their fingertips. So Davey Martinez went all-in on game one, certainly not putting the Nats in the driver's seat but making it very clear that they wouldn't be brushed aside that quickly.
Why Cabrera's at second and Ross is in the 'pen (MASN)
Brian Dozier will be a defensive replacement or a pinch hitter for Davey Martinez, while Wander Suero is inexplicably back on the roster, and Joe Ross is on for the first time since the Wild Card game, meaning he can hypothetically come in if things get out of hand on the wrong side.
Nationals' Juan Soto 2nd-youngest with home run in 1st World Series game
"Soto is the fourth-youngest player to hit a home run in a World Series game, joining Andruw Jones, Miguel Cabrera (20 years, 187 days) and Mickey Mantle (20 years, 352 days), who hit a pair in 1952."
Key vets ready to empty the tank one last time for World Series (MASN)
After a week-long break, Davey Martinez is prepared to call on the Nats' vets over and over again, one last time this season — meaning Hudson, Doolittle, Corbin, Soto, Turner, Eaton, and Rendon won't exactly be seeing many days off.
Hudson and Doolittle fine with sharing closing role (MASN)
Sean Doolittle, who missed twelve games in late August with a right knee injury, never quite re-gained the closer role from Daniel Hudson; really, it's whoever is ready for whatever matchup, with the understanding that the Nats need six to nine outs from the two of them on a given night.
What Juan Soto, Nats rocking Gerrit Cole means for this World Series (ESPN)
It was not an epic pitchers' duel; instead, it was Juan Soto's night with George Springer coming inches from making it his own.
Overeager Victor Robles Eats S*** On Badly Mistimed Diving Catch Attempt (Deadspin)
Victor Robles tried to dive. It didn't go so well. Ultimately, it didn't matter for last night.
Soto homers off Cole after guarantee (MLB.com)
Kevin Long saw this coming from a mile away: he told Tom Verducci before the game that Soto would hit a homer on a high fastball off Gerrit Cole. No, he guaranteed it — Verducci didn't believe him, and Soto proved them all wrong.
Ryan Zimmerman hits first World Series homer (MLB.com)
"At 35 years and 24 days old, Zimmerman is the third-oldest player to homer in his first career World Series plate appearance, trailing only Barry Bonds (38 years, 87 days in 2002) and Bob Watson (35 years, 193 days in 1981)."
Soto, Nats conquer Cole, take Gm 1 in Houston (MLB.com)
"In all best-of-seven postseason series, teams winning Game 1 have gone on to take the series 113 of 178 times (63%), including 25 of the past 31 times (81%) in the World Series. In all series with the current 2-3-2 format, teams winning Game 1 on the road have gone on to take the series 36 of 66 times (55%)."
Juan Soto's epic home run makes World Series history (Yahoo!)
The two homers that opened the scoring for Washington were, in many ways, quite fitting: the old guy and the phenom, both of whom have contributed significantly to the Nationals' playoff run.
Astros-Nationals World Series tickets: Buyers paying about $230 more in D.C. (Yahoo!)
It costs quite a bit to go to a game in Houston — the average is $998.36. But to go to a game in DC, prepare to shell out $1,228 — or more. Also, the price to get in at Nationals Park is two times the price at Minute Maid.
World Series Game 1: Nationals take series lead in Houston (Yahoo!)
Soto and Zimmerman were the difference-makers for Washington, but buried in the lede will be George Springer's continued insane World Series performance.
Scherzer weathers early innings in Nats' G1 win (MLB.com)
"Max, kudos to him. He gave us everything he had today," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said after the win. "Those guys are good. They don't chase. And they're good hitters. He gave us everything he had."
Free Agent Stock Watch: Nationals (MLBTR)
Anthony Rendon will probably get $225 million or more. Brian Dozier and Howie Kendrick are likely headed for one-year deals, though for different reasons. Asdrubal Cabrera and Gerardo Parra will certainly get a deal somewhere, while Daniel Hudson could get a two-year pact.
Juan Soto Humbles Gerrit Cole as Nationals Stun Astros in World Series Game 1 (Bleacher Report)
Soto emphasized just how special he is by hitting Gerrit Cole's very best stuff, twice, to bat in runs. If the Nats can keep drawing out long at-bats, watch out.
Rosenthal: For the sake of entertainment, baseball needs to find a way to develop more marquee starters (The Athletic)
"Yet, the sport should not be prepared to concede the days of 35-start, 225-inning workhorses are over. The starting pitching in this World Series will be among the best the sport has to offer. Before baseball starts to compromise one of its essential elements, the sport’s decision-makers need to answer the question, “How do we produce more Scherzers and Verlanders?”"
World Series: Nationals' Trea Turner wins everyone a free taco (USA TODAY)
It's TACOOOOO TUEEEEESSSSSSSDAYYYYY (except not yet but you get the point).
Soto, Nationals top Cole, Astros 5-4 in World Series opener (AP News)
“After the first at-bat, I just said, ‘It’s another baseball game,’” Soto said. “In the first at-bat, I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit shaking in my legs.”
The slider could be the most important World Series pitch (WaPo)
The Nats and Astros' pitchers, from Tanner Rainey to Patrick Corbin to Gerrit Cole dominated this year using sliders early and often — and both of their offenses seem to struggle against the pitch.
Brandon Taubman’s behavior was intolerable. The Astros’ response is reprehensible. (WaPo)
"What’s striking about the issues with which women deal in clubhouses is not how much they talk about it. It’s how little they talk about it."
Trea Turner steals base for free tacos (MLB.com)
Trea Turner, within minutes of the World Series starting, stole a base, meaning America (R) can get a free Doritos Locos Taco (TM) from Taco Bell (R) on October 30th from 2-6. Eat up.