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MLB

The Washington Nationals are Indeed a Team of Destiny

World Series

After winning a thrilling Game 7 over the Houston Astros, the Washington Nationals are World Series champions. No this isn’t a dream.

It’s understandable that people might be shocked by the outcome. Teams don’t start the season 19-31 and go on to win the World Series. Teams don’t come back to win after trailing in five elimination games. Teams don’t win four straight road World Series games.  Except the 2019 Washington Nationals did all of this. Washington was 19-31 on May 23. They were down 3-0 in the eighth to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card game, down 1-0 and 3-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Games 4 and 5 of the NLDS, and they were down 2-0 in Games 6 and 7 of the World Series. The Nationals found a way to win all four games at Houston, a team who went 60-21 at home during the regular season.

These Nationals were able to erase all the heartbreak from 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017. After all, before this year, the Nationals had never won a postseason series, having lost four times in the NLDS. But this year, the Nationals were able to eradicate all of their demons in one fell swoop. First they started by winning an elimination game after coming from behind to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card round. Next Washington vanquished the Cardinals and Dodgers, both had beaten them in 2012 and 2016 respectively. Lastly, the Nationals finally broke through and won it all, bringing a World Series title back to D.C. for the first time since 1924.

 

The 2019 Washington Nationals were David, and they took out multiple Goliaths that stood in the way. They faced Josh Hader in the bottom of the eighth down 3-1. It didn’t matter. Juan Soto took care of him. Clayton Kershaw was on the mound in the bottom of the eighth with the Nationals once again down 3-1. Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto chased him from the game with back to backswings. The unbeatable Gerrit Cole, gave up five runs in Game 1 and lost for the first time since May. Justin Verlander was taken down twice, to make his World Series record 0-6. After all, this is what a team of destiny does.

Washington, was able to win because of the trust the players had in each other. They didn’t rely on the same person to bail them out day in and day out. Instead, every player had a key moment in this playoff run. While the big names, Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Howie Kendrick helped carry the load, the Nationals were able to win it all thanks to their next man up mentality.

Patrick Corbin, who Washington spent $140 million on in the offseason was having an up and down postseason. He finished the playoff run 2-3 with a 5.70 ERA. But when it mattered, Corbin delivered. He threw three shutout innings of relief in Game 7, as he bridged the gap to Daniel Hudson. Scherzer gutted through five innings, only giving up two runs. Down 2-0, Corbin gave up a leadoff single. After that he was lights out, striking out three and only allowing one more base runner over three innings.

Daniel Hudson, who was cut by the Los Angles Angles before the season began, ended up signing a one year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. After posting a 3.00 ERA, Washington traded for him at the deadline. Then the unexpected happened, Hudson became arguably the Nationals’ best reliever. He helped bolster the back-end and formed a deadly one-two punch with Sean Doolittle. Hudson closed out the Wild Card game, Game 5 of the NLDS, and game seven of the World Series. In Game 7, after getting George Springer to pop up, Hudson struck out Jose Altuve on three pitches and Michael Brantley to end the game.

Michael A. Taylor took over in center field after Victor Robles hurt his hamstring against the Dodgers. In Game 4 of the NLDS, Taylor went 2-3 and was key in forcing Game 5. He continued to step up and in Game 2 of the NLCS, Taylor hit a homer as the Nationals went on to beat the Cardinals. For an encore, in Game 6 of the World Series, Taylor pinch-hit and delivered with his second homer of the playoffs.

All season long the Nationals demonstrated that they would not be flustered by any adversity thrown at them. If a player got hurt, the team would pick them up and win it for them. Max Scherzer was unable to pitch Game 5 of the World Series due to a neck injury. Stephen Strasburg threw a gem in Game 6 to make sure Scherzer had a chance to pitch in Game 7. Kurt Suzuki couldn’t catch Game 7 due to his hip injury he suffered earlier in the series. Max Scherzer gave him a big hug and told him it would be OK. Yan Gomes who replaced him, reached base due to a fielder’s choice in the ninth inning and later scored.

Now the Washington Nationals have come home to celebrate with the fans, who have been with the team through thick and thin. On Saturday, the victory parade will take place, and the Nation’s capital will become the party capital for the next few days. Once that ends Nationals fans and players alike can finally enjoy the offseason.

Feature Image From Twitter.

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