Simulated World Series: Alex Bregman’s blasts carry Astros in Game 2 rout of Nationals
How will this year's World Series play out? Using the Dynasty League Baseball online simulation, USA TODAY Sports' Steve Gardner and DLB designer Mike Cieslinski will pre-play each game to provide some insight into the key matchups and strategy fans can expect to see in the Fall Classic.
Game 2: Washington Nationals at Houston Astros
Alex Bregman homered twice and Justin Verlander pitched into the ninth inning as the Houston Astros routed the Washington Nationals 10-2 in Game 2 of USA TODAY's annual Simulated World Series.
The Astros bats came alive early against Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg. Bregman got things started with a solo homer to lead off the second inning. From there, the relentless Astros offense scored in each of the next four frames to batter Strasburg for nine hits and seven runs in four innings.
BOX SCORE: Astros 10, Nationals 2
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Bregman, Verlander lead Astros to 10-2 rout
George Springer added a two-run homer in the fourth and Bregman added to his postseason resume with his second home run of the game, a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth, to turn the game into a runaway.
A screenshot of Alex Bregman's second home run if Game 2 in USA TODAY's Simulated World Series. (Photo: Dynasty League Baseball)
Verlander was sharp from the outset, scattering five hits over 8 2/3 innings and allowing just one earned run before giving way to Joe Smith for the final out.
Verlander struck out 11 and walked only one as the Nationals couldn't mount any threat against him.
Unlike their real-life counterparts, the Sim Series Astros will take a 2-0 lead to Nationals Park for Game 3.
What to watch in (the actual) Game 2
— Deuces wild: Good things came in twos for the Astros, with seven of their nine hitters collecting two hits in the simulated game. Although that's probably unrealistic to expect in the real game, it does show how loaded the Houston lineup is with quality hitters.
The Astros finished with an Adjusted 119 OPS+ as a team this season, the seventh-highest figure of all time. (The only better team this century is Houston's 2017 championship squad.) That just goes to show how difficult it is to keep their bats silent over an entire game.
— Men of steal: Although Strasburg pitches from the stretch at all times, he's not particularly quick to the plate. Combine that with catcher Kurt Suzuki's difficulty throwing runners out and the Astros will have perhaps their best opportunity to steal bases of the series.
Although they didn't need to run in Sim Series Game 2, the door is open for the Astros' running game to be a factor.
— Adams' offense: The Nationals' only earned run in the simulated game came on a home run off the bat of Matt Adams, who got the start at first base. Adams — who also doubled in Sim Series Game 2 — had a .468 slugging percentage this season against right-handed pitchers, compared to Ryan Zimmerman's .361. Although Zim has hit well in the postseason, Adams could be an important left-handed bat for Washington in a crucial situation.
Simulate your own World Series. Get a FREE one-month subscription to Dynasty League Baseball online by going to DynastyLeagueBaseball.com, selecting the monthly option and entering code USA2 at checkout.
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