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Kurt Suzuki sneaking into World Series MVP discussion

Kurt Suzuki had a huge game behind the plate, and broke things open for the Nationals with a seventh inning home run. With the Nationals up 2-0, Suzuki is firmly in the MVP discussion.

Kurt Suzuki of the Washington Nationals throws down to first base against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning in Game Two of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 23, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 series lead on the Houston Astros in the 2019 World Series, and they get to head back to Washington, D.C. to clinch the franchise’s first championship. Game 2 was a pitchers’ duel for the first six innings, but the Nationals broke it open with a six-run seventh inning en route to a 12-3 victory.

We’re back for another look at the MVP candidates with a top ten power ranking. DraftKings Sportsbook posted World Series MVP odds prior to first pitch, and we’ll spend the remainder of this series tracking how players perform game-by-game and how it impacts the eventual MVP award. Here’s where things shoot out after Game 1.

Game 2 was very much the proverbial team effort, with a host of Nationals getting on the board. Stephen Strasburg pitched six strong innings to keep them in it against Justin Verlander. Kurt Suzuki, Adam Eaton, and Michael A. Taylor all hit home runs in the late innings. Anthony Rendon got the scoring started with a big two-run double in the first. And Asdrubal Cabrera had two RBI singles to plate three runs.

I would argue Suzuki or Strasburg had the biggest impact on the game. Strasburg did just enough to keep this game tied before the breakout inning. However, Suzuki’s all-around game was key. He had the home run to open the seventh inning scoring, but his work behind the plate was key. For a second straight night he did important work blocking pitches in the dirt and calling a great game, but he also added a key throw catching Jose Altuve attempting to steal third. Considering Michael Brantley singled and Alex Bregman homered on the next two at bats, it kept a three run inning just a two-run inning.

Suzuki was an MVP long shot entering the World Series at +15000. He walked and scored a run in Game 1 and added the home run and a single in Game 2, but his work behind the plate is what shoots him up our power rankings. Juan Soto (+1400) did enough in Game 1 to retain his edge up top, but Suzuki was impressive. Adam Eaton (+4000) had a second straight two-hit night, and if Soto is quiet the remainder of the series, Eaton could win the award.

The Nationals hold a 2-0 lead in this World Series. Since moving to a 2-3-2 format, 25 teams have gone on the road to win the first two games. Only three — the ‘85 Cardinals, ‘86 Red Sox, ‘96 Braves — have gone on to lose the series. It’s possible, but given the numbers, this shakes up our power rankings. We’ve included some Astros, but they remain on the back end of our rankings for the time being.

I went with Patrick Corbin as the highest Nationals pitcher at this point. If he can put together a strong outing and get the win in Game 4, that coupled with his critical Game 1 relief appearance might be enough. Max Scherzer gets added in and Stephen Strasburg remains on the chance this goes five or six games and they each get a second shot at the Astros.

1. Juan Soto (+1400)
2. Kurt Suzuki (+15000)
3. Adam Eaton (+4000)
4. Ryan Zimmerman (+5000)
5. Patrick Corbin (+4000)
6. Sean Doolittle (+6600)
7. Max Scherzer (+1300)
8. Stephen Strasburg (+1400)
9. Jose Altuve (+1000)
10. George Springer (+1000)