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Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in 2011 when they were both on the Tigers. Photo: Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The 2019 World Series begins tomorrow night in Houston, with the Astros looking to build on their dynasty while the Nationals attempt to win their first title in franchise history.

The intrigue: After a regular season dominated by juiced baseballs and home runs, this series features historically great starting pitching.

Astros: Houston's 3 aces have a combined 17 All-Star Games, 4 ERA titles, 2 Cy Young Awards (going on 3) and an MVP award between them.

  • Gerrit Cole: 20-5, 2.50 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 326 K, 48 BB, 212.1 IP, 6.8 WAR
  • Justin Verlander: 21-6, 2.58 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 300 K, 42 BB, 223 IP, 7.8 WAR
  • Zack Greinke: 18-5, 2.93 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 187 K, 28 BB, 208.2 IP, 6.4 WAR

Nationals: Washington's 4 aces have a combined 12 All-Star Games, 3 Cy Young Awards and 1 ERA title (Sanchez in 2013) between them.

  • Stephen Strasburg: 18-6, 3.32 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 251 K, 56 BB, 209 IP, 6.5 WAR
  • Max Scherzer: 11-7, 2.92 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 243 K, 33 BB, 172.1 IP, 5.8 WAR
  • Patrick Corbin: 14-7, 3.25 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 238 K, 68 BB, 202 IP, 5.4 WAR
  • Anibal Sanchez: 11-8, 3.85 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 134 K, 58 BB, 166 IP, 3.3 WAR

By the numbers: Add it all up and this group features a combined 29 All-Star Games, 5 Cy Young Awards (going on 6), 5 ERA titles and an MVP award.

  • It also features 2 Hall of Famers (Verlander and Scherzer), with 3 more who look poised to make it eventually (Greinke, Strasburg, Cole).
  • Also, Strasburg and Cole were both No. 1 picks, Verlander went No. 2 overall, Greinke went 6th and Scherzer went 11th.

The bottom line: No matter how you slice it, this group is phenomenal. Buckle up.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”