‘It’s a concern:’ World Series history not on Nationals’ side after lengthy layoff

CLOSE SportsPulse: The Nationals are going to their first ever World Series and in the process had one of most historic turnarounds we’ve ever seen in baseball. USA TODAYHOUSTON — The Washington Nationals had workouts throughout the past week.They played a simulated game Sunday night before their flight to Houston.And, man, did they have plenty…

‘It’s a concern:’ World Series history not on Nationals’ side after lengthy layoff

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SportsPulse: The Nationals are going to their first ever World Series and in the process had one of most historic turnarounds we’ve ever seen in baseball.
USA TODAYHOUSTON — The Washington Nationals had workouts throughout the past week.They played a simulated game Sunday night before their flight to Houston.And, man, did they have plenty of rest.Lots and lots of rest.The trouble with the Nationals winning the National League pennant over the St. Louis Cardinals that they did it much too fast, a four-game sweep in the NLCS.They haven’t played a game since Oct. 15.And now, at 8:09 p.m. ET Tuesday at Minute Maid Park, they’ll be playing Game 1 of the World Series against the Houston Astros.“It’s a concern.” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. “How can it not be?’’Indeed, history will tell you that teams with a layoff of six or more days are doomed in the World Series.Only one of the last eight teams to sweep the LCS since 1985 have gone on to win the World Series. Just ask former Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, whose teams twice swept the ALCS, and disappeared each time in the World Series.They swept the Oakland A’s in 2006, had six days off, came into the World Series as heavy favorites over the St. Louis Cardinals, and lost in five games.They swept the New York Yankees in 2012, had five days off, came into the World Series as favorites over the San Francisco Giants, and were swept.Now, here comes the Nats, who will be facing Astros co-ace Gerrit Cole on Tuesday, a pitcher who has not lost a game since May 22, going 19-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last 25 starts.Talk about a jarring wake-up call.“I think the biggest thing is the hitting,’’ Leyland told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s just so hard to simulate the speed of the game. The layoff is much worse for the hitters than the pitchers. The pitchers can at least simulate, and can throw where ever they are, but the hitters really can’t do that.’’Those Tigers’ tea
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