Jose Altuve made his big league debut with the Astros on July 20, 2011, in a home game against the Nationals, who they will host in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. "He was in the hotel, and I remember seeing him and you look at him and like what everyone used to do, 'Who is this guy?'," Zimmerman said. "I remember watching him. He had some good at-bats. ... He's obviously incredible to watch."
Altuve went 1 for 5 with a strikeout in that game eight years ago — which was six years after Zimmerman became the first player ever drafted by the Nationals. Houston's second baseman has since become the 2017 American League MVP, and a six-time All-Star with three AL batting titles. Altuve was the MVP of the AL Championship Series that ended Saturday night with his two-run, pennant-clinching home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the New York Yankees.
Max Scherzer will start the World Series opener for the Washington Nationals against the Houston Astros' Gerrit Cole on Tuesday night.
Stephen Strasburg will start Game 2 on Wednesday for Washington against Justin Verlander. Nationals manager Dave Martinez says he has not decided how he will order Patrick Corbin and Aníbal Sánchez for Games 3 and 4. Asked whether Corbin could pitch in relief in the first two games, Martinez smiled and playfully said: "We shall see."
Zack Greinke starts Game 3 for the Astros when the action shifts to Nationals Park on Friday. Houston manager AJ Hinch says he likely will use a combination of relievers for the fourth game.
Howie Kendrick will be the Nationals' designated hitter in the opener.
Michael Brantley will finally get the chance to play in a World Series. The four-time All-Star outfielder could only watch three years ago.
After 10 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Brantley signed a two-year deal last offseason with the Houston Astros.
When the Indians went to the World Series in 2016, Brantley was limited to only 11 games early that season because of a right shoulder injury.
So Brantley took a moment to absorb what had just happened when the Astros clinched the American League pennant on Saturday night.
"This is not guaranteed to anybody," Brantley said Monday. "I didn't get to play in the last one. ... I'm just going to enjoy the experience. I don't take for granted how hard it is to get here, so I just really want to enjoy the moment and stay in the moment."
Alan Porter will work home plate for Tuesday night's World Series opener as part of an umpiring crew headed by Gary Cederstrom.
Doug Eddings will be at first, Cederstrom at second, James Hoye at third, Lance Barksdale in left and Sam Holbrook in right.
Jim Wolf will be in the replay room in New York for the first two games, then join the crew in Washington for Game 3 as Porter moves to the replay room. That puts Porter in position to umpire behind home plate in a Game 7.
Jerry Meals will be the replay assistant throughout the Series.
Cederstrom is working the Series for the fourth time, Holbrook for the third, Wolf for the second, and Barksdale, Eddings, Hoye and Porter for the first.
The crew will wear a patch in memory of Eric Cooper, who died last weekend after developing a blood clot following knee surgery. Cooper had worked the Division Series between the New York Yankees and Minnesota as part of Cederstrom's crew.
After all those relievers Houston hitters faced this postseason with the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees relying so early and heavily on their bullpens, the Astros should get multiple at-bats against Washington starters in the World Series.
That more traditional approach by the Nationals means a lot of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
"It's a grind," said leadoff hitter George Springer, though he believes the Astros do an extremely good job of adjusting when facing a pitcher more than once in a game.
"I'm the last person that's going to tell you it's easier to face Scherzer and Strasburg in the first couple games just because they're traditional pitchers," manager AJ Hinch said.
While the Astros didn't see many Rays or Yankees pitchers twice in the same game, they saw them multiple times during the series.
"If you want to do well against the Nats, you've got to beat their starters, and then make them make decisions as the game goes on," Hinch said. "If you sit back and kind of wait for the bullpen or wait for them to make a decision, you'll look at Strasburg and Scherzer throwing 120, 130 pitches and you'll be too deep in the game to make up a difference."
Astros reliever Ryan Pressly says he expects to be able to pitch in the World Series.
Pressly threw only one pitch in the clinching Game 6 of the ALCS on Saturday night, getting Didi Gregorius of the Yankees on a soft grounder. But the reliever had to leave the game after aggravating his surgically repaired right knee — he had the procedure in August and missed time.
"Not going into too much detail about my knee," Pressly said before a workout. "I think we'll be fine."
Manager AJ Hinch said the Astros would announce their roster prior to Game 1 on Tuesday night.
"Quite honestly, the health of Ryan Pressly is going to be key in those decisions. He's going to do some things on the field today. Hopefully get off the mound. He's feeling better. We anticipate him being available and ready to go," Hinch said.
"But until we clear him as active we're going to have to hold off on our roster," he said. "There could be a change or two either based on health or based on matchup."
Pressly was an All-Star this season, going 2-3 with a 2.32 ERA in 55 games. He struggled in the playoffs against Tampa Bay and New York, allowing four runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings over six games.
Before playing in the World Series, Gerrit Cole attended the Fall Classic as a fan in 2001, 2002, 2012 and 2017. The 2001 matchup of Arizona and the New York Yankees went seven games, and the Diamondbacks won when Luis Gonzalez singled in the ninth inning off Mariano Rivera.
"That was just a really special World Series I think for the whole country," Cole said. "It was probably the only time most people felt some empathy for the Yankees. And then Gonzo just ripped it right out."
Justin Verlander will follow Gerrit Cole and start Game 2 of the World Series for Houston against Washington on Wednesday.
Zack Greinke will start for the Astros on Friday when the Series resumes at Nationals Park.
"Greinke gets to hit. That's going to be fun for him," Astros manager AJ Hinch said Monday.
Greinke has a .225 batting average with nine homers, including three this season for Arizona before he was traded to Houston on July 31.
Houston plans a bullpen game for Game 4 on Saturday.
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