Before the World Series started, the Astros were heavy favorites over the Nationals according to oddsmakers in Las Vegas. Now that the Nationals have taken a 2-0 series lead following a 12-3 dismantling of the Astros on Wednesday night, the odds are no longer in their favor.
As Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe notes, of the 55 teams to have taken a 2-0 series lead in the World Series, 44 went on to win it. That includes 17 of the last 18. The 1996 Yankees were the last team to come back from a two games to none deficit.
That being said, improbabilities do happen all the time in baseball, including in this very series. The Nationals defeated the Astros’ two 20-game winners in Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. Per Stats Perform, Cole and Verlander are the first pair of 20-game winners to lose the first two games of a World Series since Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax of the 1965 Dodgers. Cole and Verlander are the first pair to have lost their World Series games at home. Additionally, per ESPN Stats & Info, the Nationals are the first road team to win the first two games of the World Series since the 1999 Yankees. Their current eight-game postseason winning streak is tied for the longest in a single postseason.
The Astros, however, will have to begin their turnaround in hostile territory as the next three games — two of which are guaranteed to be played — will take place in Washington, D.C. They will need Zack Greinke to dominate in Game 3 on Friday. Greinke hasn’t had a dominant postseason start since 2014 when he was with the Dodgers. The Nationals will counter with Aníbal Sánchez, who nearly threw a no-hitter against the Cardinals in his last start in Game 1 of the NLCS.
It’s going to be a long road back for the Astros, who have already spent a bullet each from Cole and Verlander. Given everything else surrounding the team, it’s looking like a monumental ask at the moment.