Heading into the World Series, the Houston Astros were going to be using aces Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole a lot. That was a foregone conclusion considering how dominant they have been all season long.
However after the Astros lost the first two games of the World Series at home with Verlander and Cole on the mound, Astros fans had every right to show concern and wonder if their team had what it took to win four of the next five games. The Astros pitching in Washington was quite simply dominant. As a unit, the starting pitchers and relievers combined to give up only three earned runs in 27 innings at Nationals Park.
In game three, a 4-1 Houston win on Friday, Zack Greinke got the start and only gave up one earned run in four and two thirds innings. He might not have had his best stuff as he gave up seven hits and had three walks allowed, but only allowed Ryan Zimmerman to reach home plate. After Greinke, the Astros bullpen went to work. Josh James, Brad Peacock, Will Harris, Joe Smith and closer Roberto Osuna combined to only allow two Nationals hits and two Nationals walks in four and a third innings.
In game four, an 8-1 Houston win on Saturday, starting pitcher Jose Urquidy was brilliant as he completely outpitched Patrick Corbin. Urquidy, who is expected to be a regular starter for the Astros in 2020, pitched five shutout innings with four strikeouts and gave up two hits and zero walks. As Astros fans got a glimpse of the future, they should have also have been very pleased with their bullpen. As a unit, James, Harris, Hector Rondon, Peacock and Chris Devenski combined to give up one earned run and two hits in four innings of work.
Then in game five, a 7-1 Astros win, Cole was brilliant after struggling in game one. He only gave up one earned run in seven innings and then took a seat in the dugout as Smith and Ryan Pressly threw an inning each and preserved the six run Houston win.
The Astros offense was great in Washington too. They had six home runs and 19 runs overall, but the pitching cannot be overlooked to why they have a 3-2 lead.