By Neal Mehta
On October 30th, 2019, the Washington Nationals won their first World Series Championship in their franchise’s history. After a 19-31 record in their first 50 games, they came back from a losing deficit and finished the season 93-69, the third best record in the National League West, which allowed them to clinch the NL Wild Card Game. But more incredible than their mid-season turnaround was the fact they overcame two of the MLB’s powerhouse teams: the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros.
The Dodgers finished their explosive season with a 106-56 record and possessed a strong lineup and lockdown starters. Their top three starters, Hyun Jin-Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, and Walker Buehler had an average ERA of 2.87, and their team batter a total of 861 RBIs and 279 HRs during the regular season.
Although the Dodgers’ statistics towered over those of the Nationals, the Nationals were still able to conquer the Dodgers in the NLCS 3 games to 2. Andrew Zimmerman led the performance in Game 4 with a 3-run shot to expand the Nats’ lead, and Howie Kendrick’s grand slam in Game 5 gave the Nationals the lead in the 10th inning. Although down by two games to one, the team came together to score the victory over the Dodgers.
After beating the St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 0 in the NLDS and winning the pennant, the Nationals were off to Houston to face the Astros, who have made appearances in the past three World Series and won the title of World Champions in 2017 against the LA Dodgers. Their starting pitchers consisted of veteran Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, both with explosive fastballs and equally explosive offspeeds, and newly-acquired Zack Greinke, ex-pitcher of the Arizona Diamondbacks, known for his slow hook curveball. Their lineup was an RBI factory during the regular season, scoring 891 RBIs and 288 HRs, and their defense consisted of Gold Glovers Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. However, after sweeping the Cardinals 4-0, the Nationals continued their momentum and secured Game 1 and 2 against Houston’s best pitchers, Verlander and Cole.
Soon after, the Nationals lost Games 3, 4, and 5, two of which were to extra-inning walk offs by the Astros. The Nationals had been in danger of elimination their entire postseason, so this did not faze them. They marched to victory with Juan Soto’s and Adam Eaton’s 5th-inning solo homers in Game 6 and Howie Kendrick’s two-run homer against the “untouchable” reliever Will Harris in Game 7. At 11:50 PM, the Nationals were crowned World Series Champions of the 2019 Season.
The Nationals’ impressive feat of slaying the two giants of the AL and NL was attributed to the team’s hard work and dedication. Game-changing rookies like Juan Soto and Victor Robles teamed up with veterans like Anthony Rendon and Andrew Zimmerman to overcome obstacles to do the unthinkable. Now the nation’s capital celebrates their first well-deserved World Series win, only achievable as a result of the team’s perseverance and motivation to be the best. The Nationals were often in danger of elimination but always found a way to get up, dust themselves off, and win. The 2019 MLB Season came to an end with the underdogs rising to the occasion.
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