19-31! That was the Nationals record. On May 23rd, talk about a miracle comeback of a season. Dave Martinez was on the verge of being the first manger fired nearing the end of May. Now here we sit on Oct. 31st with the Washington Nationals first time World Series Champions. The team that did not belong to be there in the first place and defied the odds and got it done hats off to them. To put into perspective for Pirates fans on May 23rd, the Pirates had a better record than the Nationals organization. At the point of being 19-31, they turned it around and finished the season winning 81-40. They battled their way into the first wildcard spot with a game against the Milwaukee Brewers. With the home-field advantage in the Wildcard game, the Nationals looked to move on to face on against the LA Dodgers. The Brew Crew, though, had a different idea in mind with their hope to move on to the NLDS. The Brewers jumped out to an early 3-1 lead heading into the 8th inning. The Brewers turned the game over to one of the most dominant closers in the league in Josh Hader, believing he would be able to handle six outs, but that was not the case at all as the Nationals hitters jumped on Hader. The Nationals got their break when Juan Soto came to the plate with bases loaded and two outs against Hader.
Soto singled to right field where backup OF Trent Grisham was playing due to an injury to Christan Yelich earlier in the season. The single would have brought home Michael A. Taylor from third and would have kept the bases loaded, but instead, Grisham took his eye off the ball in Right Field, and the ball rolled under his glove allowing the Nationals runners to score from first base. Soto was gunned down at 3rd base, but it did not matter the damage was done, and the Nationals were three outs away from a trip to play in the NLDS. The Nats brought Daniel Hudson in to close it out, and the Nats went on to win 4-3 against the Brew Crew. In my opinion, this was not a massive win for the Nats and did not build my confidence for this team going for against what was the odds on favorites to win the National League.
Washington traveled to LA to take on Dodgers, which I thought would be an easy three-game sweep in favor of LA. Instead, the Nats held firm and split the home and away matches, forcing a game 5 in Los Angeles. Game 7 in LA was a dog fight, to say the least, the Dodgers struck in the first and second inning with a two-run homer and a solo home run. Then again, the late-inning bug hit for Nationals starting with a single by Soto in the 6th inning to bring Rendon in, and then in the 7th inning, the Dodger brought in one of the best pitchers in the MLB in Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw, throughout his career, has been one of the best pitchers in the league except for when it comes time for the postseason. Kershaw came in to face the heart of the Nats lineup, and well, let’s say this video clip says enough about how that went for LA.
This was great to see as a Pirates fan, though, because here was the team that wanted Vazquez from us but was not willing to sell the house for him. It does not matter, though, because Vazquez is now in jail for likely 30 years. Those back to back home runs though just died the game up. Game 5 headed to extra innings, and the Nats struck, and they struck big with a Grand Slam in the 10th inning by oldtimer Howie Kendrick.
Just like that, the Dodgers season was over, and the Nat were on their way to play the St. Louis Cardinals.
Now the series against the Cardinals does not make sense to me. The Nats made the Cardinals look like they did not deserve to be on the same field as them. I mean the Nats outpitched out hit and out fielded the Red Birds the entire series. I mean the pitching did not even compare the Nats pitchers only allowed 16 total hits the whole four games and two of those games the Cardinals did not get a hit until the 7th inning. This series was just a straight blowout and hard for me to watch since I had the Cardinals going to the World Series against the Astros. There just was not much to say wrong about the Nats in this series; it was domination against St. Louis. The series quickly ended in a four-game sweep, and D.C was stuck waiting to see if they were going to face the Yankees or Astors.
The Astros ended up being the team coming out of the American, and we had probably the best pitching matchup in World Series History. Names like Verlander, Cole, and Grieneke for the Astors and Scherzer, StrasburgCorbin for the Nationals. Yes, I left on Sanchez, but come the guy’s career record is 108-108 with a 3.98 career ERA. This series was one of a kind. It was a seven-game series with the best home team in baseball in the Astors. Out of those seven games, 0 games were won by the home team. This was a hard-fought series, but it was not like the Astors team we have come to know. The Stros are a strong defensive team, and this series did not show that. The Stros struck out a total of 52 times. This is coming from a team that was dead last in the MLB in strikeouts the entire season.
The Nats throughout the series struck late and road their All-Star pitchers till the end — game seven-game down to Zack Greinke vs. Max Scherzer, which was a battle to see. Both starters looked steller throughout. Scherzer gave up two runs early but was able to keep the Stros lineup in check. Grienke looked dominant until he allowed the home run. From there on out, the Nationals hitters were locked in on the Stros bullpen and were able to pull off the 6-2 victory against Houston in Houston to win their first-ever World Series.
Major props to them and that front office for doing what they did, let’s not forget how stupid AJ Hinch was last night. Hinch showed to everyone last night that Cole will not be returning to Houston. How do you have the hottest pitcher in the postseason in Gerrit Cole, and instead of pitching him you bring in no-name bullpen arms. Major disrespect to the Big G Cole.
Full Circle though for Pirates fans though Cole did not win a ring with the Astros. So the Pirates are not the losers in the Cole deal. I mean, we are not the winners either, but we are not the outright losers.
A team that did not belong in the postseason at the end of May. Fought their way through it all, and all that matter is Bryce Harper was right when he said he was going to bring a World Series back to D.C. Congratulations to your 2019 World Series Champions the Washington Nationals. Hope your ready to pay up in the offseason though because Rendon does the BIGG Bucks and you also have a pay for Stephen Strasburg.