Nationals Hope to Win “One Last Fight” and Bring Home a World Championship

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Nationals Hope to Win “One Last Fight” and Bring Home a World Championship

Aidan Stroup

Aidan Stroup

Aidan Stroup

Ryan Cole, Sentry Staff Reporter

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On Tuesday, October 15, the Washington Nationals punched their ticket to the franchise’s first ever World Series. Beginning tonight, after a weeklong break, the Nats will take the field against the mighty Houston Astros and try to — in the words of Bryce Harper —  “Bring a championship back to DC.” 

This 2019 ball club will be remembered in the DMV for many reasons. Some will recall their miraculous regular season turn around from a dismal 19-31 start to a magical playoff berth. Others will reminisce about a team with incredible mental fortitude that never counted themselves out, and always played with heart.  

Yes, Nats’ fans have many reasons to remember this team, but none more prevalent than the feats that they have accomplished during these 2019 playoffs.

At approximately 8 p.m. on October 1, the Nats began their playoff journey against the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League (NL) Wild Card Game. The Nationals, having never advanced in the playoffs, hoped to prove that this year would be different in front of a raucous hometown crowd. 

Unfortunately, the game did not start out the way the Nats would have liked. In the first inning, Nats ace Max Scherzer surrendered a two-run home run to Brewers’ catcher Yasmani Grandal, which was followed up by a solo shot in the second inning from Eric Thames, the Brewers’ first baseman. This was an unfortunate and disheartening turn of events for Nats’ fans, who have been trained over the years to lose faith at the slightest sign of trouble.

As the ballpark was reaching dangerously quiet levels with the Nats still down 3-1 in the eighth, second year phenom Juan Soto delivered the biggest hit of his career: a bases clearing single that sent the Nats to the National League Division Series (NLDS).

Next, the Nats took on the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers for the right to advance to the National League Championship Series (NLCS). The Dodgers had home field advantage against the Nats, and Washington would have to face their three headed monster: starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Hyun Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler.

Despite the fact that they were clearly overmatched, the Nats remained calm and comfortable with their underdog status, managing to split the first four games of the series, and send it to a decisive game five in LA.

Having witnessed three gut-wrenching game five losses since 2012 however, Nats fans were not exactly enthused at the idea of watching another playoff collapse.

Despite this doubt, the Nats once again proved that this roster consists of a different breed and defeated the Dodgers, thanks to a career defining grand slam from veteran Howie Kendrick.

The Nationals partied in the clubhouse that night, dancing to the song “Baby Shark” and spraying champagne (or sparkling cider in the case of 20-year-old Soto) all over each other. This celebration was the one that Nats fans had been dreaming of during every year of playoff misery. The 2019 Washington Nationals finally exorcised their NLDS demons, and advanced to the NLCS to take on the St. Louis Cardinals. 

The Nats were riding high as they entered St. Louis for game one, and they were able to ride that momentum straight through the NLCS. Behind brilliant starting pitching and timely hitting, the Nationals swept the Cardinals, and are headed to their first ever World Series.

The Houston Astros will be the Nats’ final opponent this season, and once again, this gritty ball club will find itself playing the role of underdogs. The Astros are widely regarded as the best team in baseball, and they are the biggest World Series favorites in Las Vegas since the Red Sox in 2007. But anything can happen in the playoffs, and the Nats hope to prove that they have the talent and drive to compete with the league’s best.

Following a long break, filled with sleep and a surprise team outing to the Capitals game on Friday, the Nats will attempt to take the final step in this season of miracles. World Series rings would be icing on the cake for this team, but they have already done enough to allow a powerful force to creep into the minds of the DC faithful. The 2019 Washington Nationals have given their fans something they have never had throughout years of playoff disaster: belief.

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