The 2019 World Series will go in the books as the first in which the road team won every game, with the Washington Nationals taking the first title in franchise history by winning Games 6 and 7 in Houston over the Astros.
In addition to those historical tidbits, here are some other World Series superlatives:
Best game: Do you need to ask? Game 6 was wild and crazy but did end up 7-2 in the end. Game 7 goes down as one of the better Game 7s, not just for the upset, but for the late lead, for Max Scherzer‘s effort and, most of all, for Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto and Howie Kendrick and Patrick Corbin … and everybody else.
The most simple analysis of all: The Nationals went 10-0 in postseason games started by Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
Most controversial moment: Trea Turner‘s runner-interference call in the seventh inning of Game 6. The best thing we can say about this: Thank goodness Rendon hit that home run. Still, while the play ended up not affecting the final score, don’t be surprised if we see the Trea Turner Rule enacted this offseason, similar to how baseball has created the Buster Posey Rule (collisions at home plate) and the Chase Utley Rule (slides at second base) in recent seasons.
Best home run trot: Alex Bregman after his seventh-inning grand slam off Fernando Rodney in Game 4 that turned a 4-1 Astros lead into an 8-1 blowout. Bregman took 11 steps on his way to first base, admiring his work, before he finally released the bat. It took him 9.43 seconds just to get to first base and 28.71 seconds to completely round the bases — the longest home run trot of the postseason, ahead of his own 28.47-second trot in Game 2.
Best dunk-on-you moment: After Bregman carried his bat past first base after his home run off Strasburg in Game 6 — he later apologized for letting his emotions get the best of him — Soto then mashed the clutch go-ahead home run in the fifth off Justin Verlander and carried his bat to first base. Love it or hate it — and AJ Hinch, Dave Martinez and Ryan Zimmerman were among those who said they weren’t fans of either player’s actions — it provided great theater. Bregman best beware during the first spring training game between the Astros and Nationals, however.
Big at-bat that nobody will remember: Strasburg versus Jose Altuve in Game 6. In the bottom of the fifth after the Adam Eaton and Soto home runs put the Nats ahead, the Astros put runners at second and third with one out after Josh Reddick‘s bloop single and George Springer‘s double. With the infield playing back up the middle, all Altuve needed was a ground ball to tie the score or a base hit that might have knocked out Strasburg. Instead, Strasburg struck him out, with Altuve waving weakly at a curveball well off the plate. Strasburg then got Michael Brantley on a grounder, and he cruised through the next three innings.
Weirdest, strangest, won’t-see-this-again moment: Well, take your pick:
A. The fan who took a home run in the gut while holding a beer in each hand.
B. The whole “Baby Shark” phenomenon at Nationals Park with adults dressed up in shark costumes.
C. The two “models” who flashed Gerrit Cole during Game 5.
D. The intentional walk to pitch to potential American League MVP Bregman.
E. Martinez, who had a heart procedure in September, going berserk after the interference call on Turner and telling reporters the next day that a fan behind the dugout was yelling, “Davey! Your heart! Remember your heart!”
F. A certain individual — other than a player or umpire — getting booed.
Bottom line: The first five games were largely uneventful, but there were still some odd moments to savor.
Home runs are life: The team that hit the most home runs won all seven games of this World Series. In Game 7, the Nationals hit two, the Astros hit one. The team that hit the most home runs went 27-6 this postseason.
MVP of the postseason: The NHL has the Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable player of the playoffs. The New York chapter of the baseball writers association actually does give out the Babe Ruth Award for the best player of the postseason — David Price won last season — but this should be a bigger deal. There should be a big presentation on the field after the clinching game, just like in the NHL.
Anyway, it has to go to Strasburg, who went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA over five starts and one relief appearance, finishing with 47 strikeouts and four walks over 36⅓ innings. Outside of Madison Bumgarner‘s legendary performance in 2014 when he pitched two shutouts, 52⅔ innings and saved Game 7 of the World Series with five scoreless innings, Strasburg’s performance probably ranks as the second-best since the expanded playoffs began in 1995. That’s with apologies to Cole, who went 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA in a similar 36⅔ innings. The difference, of course, is that Cole lost his Game 1 start and Strasburg won both of his World Series starts.