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World Series: How the Nationals and Astros match up

/ 12:01 PM October 22, 2019
2019 World Series

Houston Astros take batting practice for baseball’s World Series Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Houston. The Houston Astros face the Washington Nationals in Game 1 on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

A position-by-position look at the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros going into the World Series, starting Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park:

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First Base:

Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman. The longtime face of the franchise, Zimmerman was Washington’s first draft pick in 2005 after the team moved to the nation’s capital from Montreal. The fan favorite has been through all of the Nationals’ ups and downs, from a string of painful early playoff exits to the feel-good story of his first trip to the World Series this season. A converted third baseman, he’s been hampered by injuries much of the past six years — including shoulder problems that affect his throwing. But at age 35, he’s become an everyday player again during a solid postseason.

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Astros: Yuli Gurriel. From a family of baseball royalty in Cuba, the highly touted Gurriel got a $47.5 million contract and has established himself as a productive RBI man during three full years in the majors. He took off in late June and put together a big 2019 season, with 31 homers, 40 doubles, 104 RBIs and an .884 OPS. He was slumping in the AL Championship Series against the Yankees until his three-run homer got the Astros going in the Game 6 clincher.

Edge: Astros.

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Second Base:

Nationals: Howie Kendrick. The consummate pro, Kendrick is more than just a veteran presence at 36. A smart hitter and versatile defender, he batted .344 with 17 homers, 62 RBIs and a .966 OPS in 370 plate appearances this season. Then he won the deciding Game 5 of the Division Series at Dodger Stadium with a 10th-inning grand slam, and took home NLCS MVP honors after hitting .333 with four doubles and four RBIs in the four-game sweep of St. Louis. He has plenty of playoff experience, but this is Kendrick’s first chance to play in the World Series.

Astros: Jose Altuve. What else can you say about this clutch little big man who remains the heart and soul of the Astros? Generously listed at 5-foot-6, the 2017 AL MVP is simply one of baseball’s best players — no matter the size. Altuve put Houston back in the World Series with a walk-off homer against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 of the ALCS and was selected series MVP. He’s hitting .349 with five homers, eight RBIs, 10 runs and a 1.184 OPS this October. He has 13 career postseason homers, most by a second baseman.

Edge: Astros.

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Shortstop:

Nationals: Trea Turner. A terrific leadoff hitter with pop and one of the fastest players in the majors, Turner is often the engine that makes the Nationals go. He was 35 for 40 on stolen bases attempts this year and is 159 for 189 in his career.

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TAGS: 2019 World Series, Baseball, Houston Astros, MLB, Washington Nationals
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