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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]
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, 2019

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.


  1. Hey kids, these are called ticket stubs. There was a time when you actually had to carry these around with you to get into ballgames and concerts. They're not as efficient as mobile apps, but they do have a certain sentimental value.
  2. Finishing at, or near, the bottom of MLB in attendance isn't even the biggest problem for the Rays. It's the huge gap between where the Rays are in attendance compared to the average team. Tampa Bay is roughly 92 percent below just an average MLB crowd. [Times files (2017)]
  3. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher D.J. Snelten during the start of spring training in Port Charlotte, Florida on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
  4. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell signs autographs for fans during spring baseball practice Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 in Port Charlotte, Fla.
  5. Tampa-based sports agent B.B. Abbott, left, successfully climbs Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for pediatric cancer charities. He is pictured with friends Dustin Bertram, middle, and Pete Hendricks, who made the climb with him.
  6. Houston Astros outfielder Myles Straw points to the baseball he signed for Noah Jackson, 9, during FanFest at Minute Maid Park on Jan. 18, 2020, in Houston.
  7. Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Joey Wendle (18) looks from the dugout after losing 6-1 to the Houston Astros after winning Game 5 of the American League Division Series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 in Houston.
  8. Tampa Bay Rays fans welcome players during introductions just prior the Rays game against the Houston Astros for Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
  9. He was the best player on some pretty bad Tampa Bay teams from 2001-06 before being dealt to Houston in the Ben Zobrist trade, but in his book "Baseball Junkie," Aubrey Huff has admitted he was not a particularly likable character.
  10. Tropicana Field saw big crowds again during Game 4 of the American League Division Series (ALDS) between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
  11. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg addressing media at spring training on Wednesday.
  12. A life-sized statue of Hall of Famer Ty Cobb has been gifted to Lakeland’s Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers.