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World Series predictions from the Tampa Bay Times staff

Predictions from Marc Topkin, Martin Fennelly and John Romano.
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer warms up during 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/David J. Phillip) [DAVID J. PHILLIP | AP]
Published Oct. 22

There’s a lot in the Astros’ favor

Marc Topkin, Rays beat writer: Everything seems lined up for the Astros. They have their starters set up how they want them, momentum coming off the elimination of the Yankees and homefield advantage, while they’re facing a Nationals team that has been sitting idle for a week. Their only real flaws are the lack of a fourth starter, meaning they’ll have to use their bullpen heavily in Game 4 and bank on Gerrit Cole going deep in Game 5, and the inconsistencies of closer Roberto Osuna, which can be problematic. The Astros have the better and deeper lineup, and the experience of having been on this stage. While the Nats have top-of-the-line starters in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and exciting young players like Juan Soto and briefly-a-Ray Trea Turner, they have the look of a team that was on a really good run that’s about to end, and sitting around thinking about how unlikely it is that they’re gotten this far didn’t help. Astros in 6

Astros lineup makes things happen

Martin Fennelly, columnist: Remember when the Mets stunned the 109-win Orioles in 1969? Remember when the Reds stunned Oakland in 1990? Well, this isn’t that. A Washington baseball club has not won a World Series 95 years. Walter Johnson was used in relief in the deciding game back then, but it should be noted that Washington began the day by using an “opener.” That’s right. It was a bullpen day. The more things change. … It’s a matchup of horses, Scherzer and Strasburg, up against Verlander and Cole. It’s power on power and it will be an October treat for us. But somehow, some way, the Astros will find a way. It goes beyond the mighty mite, ALCS walkoff winner Jose Altuve. The Astros lineup is filled with guys who make things happen. Plus Houston has been working back toward this since Boston won the ALCS last season. This is about leaving a legacy. I love the Nats and their manager, Dave Martinez, but I can’t see this lasting long. Astros in 6

Nationals bullpen can’t match up

John Romano, columnist: My heart says this could be a classic. It says Scherzer and Strasburg could put a team and a city on their shoulders and carry the Nationals farther than anyone could imagine. Yes, the romantic in me is hoping for a week of heart-pounding 3-2 games. Unfortunately, my heart is a sucker for fairy tales. Scherzer and Strasburg will do their part but eventually the Nationals will have to turn to their bullpen. And Houston’s hitters will destroy those guys. Astros in 5.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Matt Duffy (5) singles in the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Jose De Leon is traded; Vidal Brujan, Jake Cronenworth, Lucius Fox, Ronaldo Hernandez, Kevin Padlo are added to roster.
  2. The home page for the website orlandodreamers.com, launched this week after an announced effort to try to attract a Major League Baseball team to Orlando. orlandodreamers.com
    Longtime sports executive Pat Williams’ pitch to get an MLB team starts with fans showing interest. Stadium, owners ‘"not pertinent right now."
  3. Catcher Ronaldo Hernandez, shown at the 2019 All-Star Futures Game, is one of the Rays top prospects. MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Teams have until 8 p.m. Wednesday to decide which prospects are added to 40-man roster and protected from Rule 5 draft.
  4. Pat Williams is the former GM of the Orlando Magic basketball team and was involved in unsuccessful efforts to lure an expansion team in the 1990s. JASON DECROW  |  AP
    Longtime sports exec Pat Williams is holding a news conference Wednesday to talk about getting a team.
  5. Tampa Bay Rays' Carlos Pena hits a sixth-inning solo home run off New York Yankees pitcher Sidney Ponson in their baseball game at Yankee Stadium on July 9, 2008. KATHY WILLENS  |  AP
    Just the other day, Pena’s son asked him about being considered for the Hall.
  6. FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2019, file photo, Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter smiles as he speaks during a news conference in Miami. Derek Jeter is among 18 newcomers on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, announced Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, and is likely to be an overwhelming choice to join former New York Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera in Cooperstown after the reliever last year became the first unanimous pick by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) WILFREDO LEE  |  AP
    Former Rays Carlos Pena and Heath Bell are also among the 18 up for election for the first time.
  7. Long faces dominate some of the remaining Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans during the fourth quarter of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, November 17, 2019, in Tampa. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What remaining game will Tampa Bay be favored to win?
  8. The cover of the book Grassroots Baseball: Where Legends Begin Courtesy Jean Fruth
    The 224-page book features a chapter on Tampa, and an essay by Hall of Famer Wade Boggs.
  9. Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) delivers a pitch in the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Oct. 10 in Houston. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Rays Tales: Team execs on Houston’s big problem, a base for winter acquisitions, trophy time and an upcoming owners meeting.
  10. Jameis Winston (3) points to fans after the Bucs' 2017 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Tampa Bay Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Previewing Bucs-Saints, justice for the Astros, answers for the Lightning.
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