“That’s still one of my highlights, to see that Jack Morris 1-0 game in Game 7,” Kaat said. “And these pitchers, the ones they have right now with Houston and Washington, they’re certainly capable of doing that.”
Chances are we will not see any pitcher complete a start in this World Series; Verlander threw a no-hitter last month, but the teams combined for just two additional complete games all season. Yet there is something reassuring about a matchup between the two postseason teams that got the most innings from their starters in the regular season.
While many teams have reimagined their pitching philosophy — asking less of starters in an effort to maximize strikeouts and, they hope, minimize injury risk — two collections of durable, dominant aces are left standing at the end of this season.
“I personally am a big fan of starting pitching,” said Cole, who will face Scherzer in Game 1. “And there are a lot of really good starting pitchers on the other side of the field, guys that kind of emulate the role in terms of longevity, durability, creativeness, tenacity, grit. It’s just a pleasure to share the field with them on the greatest stage.”
Using an opener — as the Yankees and the Astros did in the decisive Game 6 of the A.L. Championship Series, which ended on a homer by second baseman Jose Altuve — can sometimes make sense, Verlander said, but not in the long run.
“Throughout the course of a long season, 162 games, I think those guys that can go out and take the ball every five days are extremely valuable,” said Verlander, who will start Game 2. “And I think they should be looked at as such.”
The Astros and the Nationals have paid top prices for their rotations. Houston traded 12 players in four deals to get Verlander, Cole and Greinke. Washington outbid the industry to sign Scherzer and Corbin as free agents, and gave a lucrative contract extension to the homegrown Strasburg.