Astros star pitcher Gerrit Cole admittedly didn’t have his “sharpest game” last night as the Nationals took the opening game of the World Series.
In a game that looked to be a classic pitchers’ duel, neither pitcher seemed to be on their game last night. Nationals Max Scherzer seemed to struggle with his command all evening and Astros Gerrit Cole was more hittable than we’re accustomed to seeing. But in the end, Washington came out on top beating the Astros 5-4 in Game 1 of the World Series on Houston’s own turf.
Cole’s night was done after seven innings and 112 pitches, but the damage was already done. He would end up losing his first game since May 22nd, which is also the last time Cole gave up five runs or more. The eight hits surrendered were the most he’s allowed since April 20th. The first game of the Fall Classic isn’t the best time to have one of your worst games of the season, but it is what it is.
Even though he wasn’t on his “A-game”, Cole kept the Astros in it through the first four innings in a 2-2 tied ballgame. The real damage came in the fifth inning when three Nationals crossed the plate putting Washington up 5-3. Two of those runs came courtesy of Juan Soto‘s two-run double, yes, the same batter that tied the game in the previous inning with a home run.
"“I didn’t have my A-game tonight and outside of a few pitches that kind of tacked on a couple of runs, we worked pretty well with what we had,” Cole said. via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com."
The game looked promising in the opening inning for the Astros when they seemed to be getting at Max Scherzer. George Springer started the inning off with a walk and Jose Altuve followed that up with a line-drive single to left field. After Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman both struck out, Yuli Gurriel knocks in both runners with a double.
The Astros wouldn’t score again until the seventh inning with Springer’s home run and again in the eighth when Springer doubled in Kyle Tucker. But that would be all the damage the Astros could muster and came up one run short of a comeback. On a night when Scherzer seemed to be having trouble finding the plate, the Astros just couldn’t quite take advantage of the opportunity.
The Astros are now down one game to none. But if you’ll recall, they were in this same position in 2017, and we all know how that turned out. Tonight they have Justin Verlander on the mound facing Stephen Strasburg in what should turn out to be another close one. The Astros players are confident and we should be also.