For now, the Washington Nationals are still solo dancers on the final stage of Major League Baseball's 2019 campaign.
In a do-or-die Game 5, the New York Yankees rode a strong start from James Paxton and home runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks to a 4-1 victory over the Houston Astros to extend the ALCS for at least one more day.
Despite rain causing Game 4 to be postponed a day, the remaining games in Houston will be played on schedule on Saturday night and Sunday evening if necessary, setting up Game 1 of the World Series to be played Tuesday.
While the Astros have yet to dispatch the Yankees, they are still considered the favorites to win the World Series. Per Vegas Insider, Houston is a 7-5 favorite to win it all, while Washington has 2-1 odds to claim the first title in franchise history. The Yankees bring up the rear with 9-4 odds.
World Series Schedule
Tuesday, October 22 (Game 1): Nationals at Astros/Yankees, 8 p.m. ET
Wednesday, October 23 (Game 2): Nationals at Astros/Yankees, 8 p.m. ET
Friday, October 25 (Game 3): Astros/Yankees at Nationals, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, October 26 (Game 4): Astros/Yankees at Nationals, 8 p.m. ET
Sunday, October 27 (Game 5, if necessary): Astros/Yankees at Nationals, 8 p.m. ET
Tuesday, October 29 (Game 6, if necessary): Nationals at Astros/Yankees, 8 p.m. ET
Wednesday, October 30 (Game 7, if necessary): Nationals at Astros/Yankees, 8 p.m. ET
All World Series games will be televised by Fox.
While the Yankees survived to fight another day in the ALCS, it's safe to say they have been generally outclassed in the series. After an energetic Game 1 victory, the Bronx Bombers were silenced in three successive games.
While he made two big mistakes in Game 5, Justin Verlander was relatively spotless in his first start of the series, pitching six and ⅔ innings and striking out seven. Through the use of nine pitchers, the Yankees successfully locked horns with Houston up until the eleventh inning, when shortstop Carlos Correa crushed a walk-off home run off J.A. Happ to even the series at a game apiece.
Game 3 was even better for Houston. Despite an uncharacteristically wobbly outing from the laser-focused Gerrit Cole (five walks and four hits in seven innings pitched), the Astros were able to ride early-inning home runs from Jose Altuve and Josh Reddick to a second consecutive victory.
All the Yankees' problems reached a head in Game 4, wherein they committed four errors and looked a bit afraid of Houston's sheer talent level. The sad performance from New York was punctuated by what is likely the end of CC Sabathia's career, as he was forced out of the game by a dislocated joint in his shoulder.
Every single person in Yankee Stadium that night—even several Astros players—cheered vigorously for the big lefty as he walked off his home field for potentially the last time.
Neither Houston nor New York has faced Washington this season, and the Nationals have never reached the World Series before, so whatever happens starting Tuesday will be historic.
By the time the Fall Classic ends on October 30, one team might have won its first title, one team might have won its MLB-record 28th and one team might have won its second title in three years.
That day will be here before we know it.