What you need to know before World Series Game 3

The Houston Astros finished the regular season as baseball’s best team — but that doesn’t mean they were immune to tough patches. They often won and lost in bunches, which is now where they sit in this World Series against the Washington Nationals.

The Astros had three three-game losing streaks, a seven-game losing streak and a five-game losing streak. They also had two 10-game winning streaks and an eight-game winning streak. All of which is to say, losing two games in a row isn’t exactly new territory for them.

The stakes, maybe. But not what may have to come next. If the Astros are in a dry spell, this could be over. But if they get hot for Friday’s Game 3, as the series shifts to D.C., they could just as easily win four in a row.

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“You go through stretches throughout the season where you don't swing the bat or pitch or play defense the way you want to play it,” says star third baseman Alex Bregman. “I think it takes one day to stop the bleeding. You play good one game, the bleeding stops. Panic stops. You start playing the way you want to play.”

The Astros were the obvious favorite, and it was a surprise that they lost the first two games at home with aces Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander on the mound. But they also faced Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Anibal Sanchez starting in Game 3 might provide some relief. The Astros, meanwhile, send Zack Greinke to the mound.

“We were outplayed for two straight games,” Bregman said. “We try and stop the bleeding [Friday]. And we stop the bleeding [Friday]. It's going to be a lot of fun the rest of the series. I think that's the biggest thing, just stop the bleeding.”

Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and the Astros are looking to stop the bleeding in World Series Game 3. (Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports)
Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and the Astros are looking to stop the bleeding in World Series Game 3. (Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports)

Game 3 lineups

What to watch for: Juan Soto’s 21st birthday

By now you’ve probably heard that young Nats star Juan Soto was too young to drink beer or champagne with his teammates as they celebrated postseason wins. That ends Friday.

On the same day as the first home World Series game in franchise history, their young star turns 21. Expect lots of chatter about it on the broadcast and on social media.

Game 3 pageantry

D.C. Washington — a very aptly named person for the job — will perform the national anthem before Game 3. D.C. is a staple at Nats games.

Chad Cordero and Brian Schneider, two members of the inaugural Washington Nationals team from 2005, will throw out the first pitch.

Muriel Bowser, the mayor Washington D.C., will give the “Play Ball” call.

Quote of the Day

“I hope he gets me a birthday present” — Nats manager Dave Martinez on Soto’s birthday.

Where to Watch

Game 3 starts at 8:07 p.m. ET from Nationals Park in Washington D.C. TV coverage is on FOX.

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Mike Oz is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @mikeoz

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