The first thing that pops up into the mind of anyone in the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals organization, or fan regarding the event that started this championship run, would be May 23rd in Queens, when the New York Mets just completed a 4 game sweep of the Nationals. At this time, they simply looked depleted. They had lost maybe the best player of their franchise in Bryce Harper to the rival Philadelphia Phillies, and by getting swept be a division opponent, they looked like they were in for a very rough season. However, that's when things changed.
Slowly, the Nationals climbed back into the playoff picture, and by the midway point of the season, they were in the frontrunners for the wild card spot. However, as crunch time of the regular season approached, they were tested. After a bad series loss to the Cardinals, they were barley hanging on to the final spot. However, they made up for it in the sweetest way possible. Sweeping Harper's Phillies to clinch a playoff spot. With hitters and fielders like Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, and Trea Turner, as well as their loaded pitching staff of Stephen Strasberg, Max Scherzer, and Patrick Corbin, this team definitely had the best chance to win the World Series out of any wild card team. But then again, this is not only a wild card team, but also a team that's notorious for their excruciating postseason defeats.
Then October began.
Their first opponent was the Milwaukee Brewers. A team that was missing its best player Christian Yelich, but ended the season on a tear as the season ended. This was definitely going to be a challenge for the Nationals and it showed as Milwaukee jumped out to a early 3-0 lead in only 2 innings. However, their pitching staff which was one of the best in the league began to take care of one Brewer batter after another. However, it was still 3-1 heading into the bottom of the 8th inning. That was where Juan Soto hit the first of what would be many big postseason hits. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, he knocked in 3 runs to give the Nationals their first lead of the game. Although he was thrown out at third, which ended the inning, the damage was done. For the first time in their years in Washington, the Nationals were advancing in the postseason where the Los Angeles Dodgers awaited.
The Dodgers were the favorite to go to the World Series and they wasted no time living up to those expectations in a dominating 6-0 game 1 victory. Game 2 was a different story as it was the Nationals who jumped out the gate leading 3-0. The Dodgers put together a furious comeback as they pulled within one run in the eighth inning. That's where Scherzer put any hope of a 2-0 series lead to rest, by getting out of the inning with ease. Thanks to another run thanks to Asdrubal Cabrera's single, the Nationals tied the series at 1. Like game 1, the Dodgers dominated game 3 going up 2-1 in the series. In all but one out of their four postseason trips this decade, the Nationals were eliminated at their own field in the NLDS. They weren't that continue this time, as Rendon and Zimmeran dominated at the plate while Scherzer earned only one run in what was a 6-1 victory setting up a deciding game 5. The Dodgers who have also struggled in their many postseason appearances this decade were determine to not let their title dreams get ruined as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead and were still up 3-1 heading into the eighth inning. That's where the Nationals had arguable the biggest home runs in franchise history. On the first at-bat Rendon hit a home run to make it a one run game. Then on the next at-bat, Soto hit a home run to tie the game. The Nationals wouldn't get any more runs in the inning, but the damage was done. This game was going to extra innings. In the top of the 10th, Howie Kendrick hit a go ahead grand slam home run to give the Nationals a 7-3 lead. They easily took care of the Dodgers and just like that, they were headed to St. Louis.
Against the Dodgers, the Nationals bats were the deciding factor in that series. Throughout their series against the Cardinals, it was the pitching that was dominant in every game. Their big 3 plus Anibal Sanchez who started game won struck out one Cardinal batter after another. At the plate, they weren't getting a lot of runs in the first two games, but those scarce runs all came at key points in the game. However in Washington, the increase in productivity from their batters mainly from Zimmerman and Kendrick in game 3 and a 7 run first inning in game 4, as well as more dominance from the mound, and the Nationals looked unstoppable. Overall this series from game 1 wasn't a competition as the Nationals were on their way to their first ever World Series. Up next, was the Houston Astros.
The Astros at this point, were at the peak of their power. With two American League Championships as well as a World Series Championship under their belt in the last three years, they were looking like they could possibly be the team of the decade. However, the Nationals were only focused on winning. In game 1, Soto's brilliance in the postseason continued as his home run and double which brought in 2 runs. Scherzer once again put up an impressive performance and even though the Astros tried to come back, it was too little too late, as the Nationals took game 1. Despite the great pitching staff that the Nationals had, the Astros pitching staff was also amazing. After defeating their ace Gerrit Cole, future hall of fame Justin Verlander awaited for game 2. In game 2, both teams scored 2 runs each to start, but after that it was all Nationals. Strasberg got his groove back and starting in the 7th inning, the Nationals' hitters went berserk. Kurt Susuki's home run set the tone for a 6 run inning. They tacked on 3 more runs and the result was a 12-3 beatdown. With everything seeming to go like the Nationals' way, they were now headed back to Washington D.C., where the next three games were played as they were up 2-0. But any momentum that was in the Nationals' favor, was vanished in the next there games. In every game, the Nationals only scored one run while the Astros' hitting got better. When game 5 was over, Houston manhandled the Nationals 7-1 and were now headed back to Houston to close out the series. Only that didn't happen. Although the Astros jumped out to a 2-1 lead, home runs by Eaton and Soto gave them a 3-2 lead at the midway point of the game. After that, they didn't look back, and with Rendon's 2 run RBI double in the top of the ninth, there was one more game to decide all matters. With everything at stake, the Nationals unsurprisingly, pulled off another rally. After trailing 2-0 midway, a Rendon home run and some more magic from Kendrick gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead through seven innings. Soto concluded his outstanding postseason with an RBI single, and Eaton's 2 run single concluded all matters. When Daniel Hudson got the struck out Michael Brantley, Washington Nationals after losing their best player in free agency, going 19-31, and trailing in a bunch of postseason games, have won their first ever World Series Championship.
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