The Houston Astros are going to the World Series for the second time in two years — and Kate Upton couldn’t be more proud of her husband, pitcher Justin Verlander.
Upton sang Verlander’s praises on Instagram, Sunday, sharing celebratory videos and photos to her Instagram feed and Story. She chronicled moments both during and after Saturday’s Game 6 that saw the Astros best the New York Yankees 6 to 4, securing their spot in the MLB finals.
On her story, the 27-year-old supermodel re-shared Verlander’s photo of himself holding up the team’s American League Championship trophy, as well as video footage of the game’s winning moment and subsequent celebrations from the stands at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
The 2019 World Series will pit the American League champion Houston Astros against the National League champion Washington Nationals (93-69). The Astros, who set a franchise record for wins (107-55) during the regular season, earned their spot by vanquishing the Yankees in six games in the ALCS. The Nationals, who finished their regular season at 93-69, won the pennant with a sweep of the Cardinals in the NLCS, and they've made it this far despite being a wild card team.
Yes, this is an obvious thing to say, but it bears emphasizing. During the regular season, the Astros were 14 games better than the Nationals against a comparable schedule in terms of opponents' average winning percentage. Another indicator of quality is run differential. You can take a team's run allowed, subtract it from their runs scored, and calculate what their record should have been based on those inputs. If you do that for these two World Series combatants, then the Astros come out 12 games ahead.
As well, we can look at the BaseRuns standings available at FanGraphs, which is correct for some of the sequencing and clustering effects inherent in run differential. Basically, it's a measure of how good a team is at controlling the fundamental outcomes of the batter-pitcher encounter. It yields what a team's record should be based on core skills. Per BaseRuns, the Astros were 12 games better than the Nats during the regular season -- i.e., the same margin as that of run differential.
What helps the Nationals' cause is how they've played since getting past their early struggles. At the close of play on May 23, the Nats were 12 games below .500. From that point forward, however, they played .661 ball, which over the course of a full season scales to a 107-win pace. You'll, of course, recognize the number "107" as the Astros' win total during the regular season. Convenient end points aside, the Astros are rightly heavy favorites going in.
By virtue of the superior regular season record, the Astros have home-field advantage in this World Series. That essentially boils down to the right to host a deciding Game 7. This season, the Astros were an MLB-best 60-21 at home during the regular season, and thus far in the playoffs they're 5-1 at Minute Maid Park. The Nationals in 2019 were 43-38 on the road during the regular season and 4-1 so far in the playoffs. Make of those numbers what you will.
If you love starting pitching, then this is the series for you Feast thine eyes upon the likely pitching matchups for the first three games of this series:
Game 1: Max Scherzer vs. Gerrit Cole Game 2: Stephen Strasburg vs. Justin Verlander Game 3: Zack Greinke vs. Patrick Corbin
The group has combined for 29 All-Star Games, five Cy Youngs (with a sixth coming soon) and five ERA titles. Strasburg and Cole were both No. 1 overall picks, Verlander went second overall, Greinke went sixth and Scherzer went 11th.
All that in one series for the belt and the title. What's more is that if the series goes the full seven games, then we'll likely get to see each one of these matchups twice.
The Astros' offense struggled against the Yankees During the regular season, the Astros led the AL in OPS and ranked third in runs scored. Given that their lineup is typically peppered with names like Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley, that's to be expected. In the ALCS, however, the Astros across those six games batted just .179/.281/.318 with 54 strikeouts. Yes, the sample size is small, but those are deep struggles against a pitching staff that frankly wasn't all that strong. It's possible that the Astros in general are having trouble adapting to that deadened playoff baseball. If that's the case, then they have concerns as they get set to take on the NL's most dominant rotation.
As long as we're talking offense, the Nationals during the regular season ranked second in OPS in the NL and second in runs scored. Like other postseason teams, they're offensive numbers have declined since the calendar flipped to October, but they haven't reached the depths the Astros have.
The Nationals will try to continue rolling through the postseason when they take on the Houston Astros in Washington's first-ever World Series. The Nationals (93-69), who had won one playoff series prior to this season, have won three in a row to reach the 2019 World Series, while the Astros (107-55), who defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to win it all two years ago, are looking for their second championship in team history. Tuesday's Game 1 from Minute Maid Park is scheduled to begin at 8:08 p.m. ET. Houston is a -205 money line favorite, meaning a $205 wager would net $100, while the over-under for total runs scored is 6.5 in the latest Astros vs. Nationals odds. Before making any Nationals vs. Astros picks of your own, be sure to check out the 2019 World Series predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, entered the second full week of the 2019 MLB Playoffs up almost $1,000 for $100 players on top-rated MLB picks this season. The model was especially strong on top-rated MLB money line picks this season, entering the week on a profitable 158-130 run. Anyone who has been following it is way up.
Now, the model has dialed in on Nationals vs. Astros. We can tell you it's leaning over, and it also says one side of the money line has all the value. You can only see that pick at SportsLine.
The model knows the Astros, who have recorded five straight winning seasons, are 506-347 under fifth-year manager A.J. Hinch, including the playoffs. This is the fourth time in five years the Astros have made the postseason. The Astros lead the all-time series against Washington, 244-207, including a 129-97 mark in games played at Houston.
The Washington Nationals will look to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the 2019 World Series when they visit the Houston Astros on Wednesday. The Nationals (93-69), who finished second in the NL East during the regular season, have won nine of their last 10 games at Houston, while the Astros (107-55), who won the AL West, are 5-2 at home in the postseason. The game is slated to start at 8:07 p.m. ET from Minute Maid Park, and the Nationals have won 15 of the past 17 games against the Astros.
Houston is favored at -181 on the money line, meaning a $181 wager would net $100, while the over-under for total runs scored is seven in the latest Astros vs. Nationals odds after the line opened at 7.5. You'll want to see the current 2019 World Series predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model before making any Nationals vs. Astros picks of your own.
This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, entered the 2019 World Series up over $800 for $100 players on top-rated MLB picks this season. The model was especially strong on top-rated money line picks this season, entering the World Series 2019 on a profitable 158-130 run. Anyone who has been following it is way up.