Almanac Baseball: Is Houston to be another Tigerland?

We are on the cusp of the 2019 World Series and the Houston Astros are looking to “do a Tiges”. Having won in 2017, they fell short of making the WS last year at the final hurdle. Their Collingwood was the mighty Red Sox. While the Sox once had a predilection for Magpies type choking on the big stage, they performed magnificently to go on and claim their 4th title in 15 years. The Astros now have a chance for redemption against the Washington Nationals. Like the Tiges, they are facing a greenhorn. Unlike the Giants, however, the Nationals have been around for half a century and yet are making their debut in the Fall Classic. The Astros were the best team in the majors all season but the Nats have peaked at the right time and have some explosive talent. So carrying the footy analogy even further who are the players to watch?


Jose Altuve is the Dusty of the Astros. He is a prodigious talent who loves the pressure moments, as he so amply demonstrated in Game 6 of the ALCS. Going into the 9th inning the Astros had a 2 run lead – 3 outs and they were in the World Series! Unfortunately, the forces of Satan (aka the Yankees) rallied with a 2 run homer to tie the game. Bottom of the 9th and the no 8 and 9 hitters couldn’t get on base. With 2 outs, the leadoff, George Springer, came to the plate. Like Altuve, Springer is a big game player so I was expecting something special from him. He worked the count brilliantly and was walked. Enter Jose! He had that look about him – “don’t worry boys I’ve got this”. Facing one of the great closers of recent years, Aroldis Chapman, the pocket rocket drew two balls off his fastballs. Then came a slider for his first strike. Then came another slider but this time Jose swung majestically and sent that baby to a sweet, sweet place. Walk-off homers are the stuff of dreams but to do it to send your team to the World Series is the stuff of legends. The equivalent of the Norm Smith is the MVP and it would be no surprise if Altuve gets it this year. On the other hand, maybe Springer is the real Dusty as he was MVP in 2017!


Pitchers generally win World Series. The Astros have two guns in Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander (maybe they are the Houlis and Cotchins) while the Nationals have one standout in Max Scherzer (bit of a stretch but let’s call him their Toby Greene). The Nats are a solid unit with some hitters really finding form. Keep an eye out for Howie Kendrick as he could be their X factor. While it is entirely possible they could get stage fright just like the Giants did, the benefit they have is there will be more than one crack at it. A best of seven series tends to throw up lots of permutations from game to game. If the Nationals can pinch a game from the 2 game opening home stand for the Astros then the belief will come and anything can happen.


I live in Tigerland but I’ve never been to Houston so I’m not sure if walking the streets there feels anything like what it was leading up to the Grand Final. But just like it was on the last Saturday in September, I have a soft spot for both of these teams so I’ll just sit back and hope for a great contest. One distinct benefit this time round, though, is that if Game 1 is a dud with only 1 team turning up we have several more to come. Ain’t the World Series great?


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE




Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.


  1. Watched snippets of the playoff games last week. Washington whitewashed the Cardinals and the games were blowouts. Are they that good or do the Big Red Birds suck at that level? Tuned in Sunday for Game 7 of the ALCS and couldn’t take my eyes off it. Punch and counter punch. Chapman the big lefty closer for the Yankees looked ominous, but I remembered Altuve from the 2017 World Series. Cometh the hour cometh the hero. It felt possible then I thought how Chapman made the other hitters look stupid. Then wow. Just wow. Like catching a falling star. What we watch sport for. Will be tuned in the next week. Need to read up on the Nationals. They just have no back story for me. Not sure where my support will lie.
    Great book on how the Astros have built their dynasty. Human dynamics and relationships as much as talent. Who knew?

  2. Loved watching Houston deliver the goods against the Wankies (sorry Yankees). As Almanacas know I’m a big baseball fan and I follow a few different American teams. My favourite would normally be the Boston Redsox Other teams I like are the Phillies, the Rays St Louis and Houston – in fact anyone but the Yankees.

    Haven’t made up my mind about Nationals v Houston yet but I expect great viewing.

  3. Saw most of a great game of World Series Baseball today. Washington Nations defeated Houston Astros 5-4 in game number 1.

  4. Had to switch off on day 2 with the scores all tied up at 2 all. Imagine my surprise when on turning the TV back on to see that the Nationals had exploded to snatch an 8-2 lead. They extended their lead to finally run out 12 -3 winners . A truly amazing effort on the Astros’ home turf. Can Houston bounce back – can hardly wait for tomorrow’s match in Washington.

  5. Tigerland 2018.

  6. Believe it or not. the World Series goes into game 7 with Astros and Nationals 3 wins each. All wins have been the away games -amazing.

  7. Just witnessed the most remarkable World Series Baseball. The away team (team batting first) won every game. Washington won series 4-3, coming from a 0-2 deficit to win 6-2 in the final game. It was Washington’s first ever World Series victory.

Leave a Comment