The Washington Nationals are on the cusp of history. Despite one of the worst starts in Major League Baseball (MLB) this season, skipper Dave Martinez has orchestrated one of the best turnarounds in recent history. Since May 24, the Nationals have been the best team in MLB. They are led by pitching staff consisting of two candidates for the National League Cy Young Award, an award given annually to the best pitchers in MLB: Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32 Earned Run Average (ERA)) and Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92 ERA). Starters Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.25 ERA) and Anibal Sánchez (11-8, 3.85 ERA) have provided great depth for an already strong rotation. Anthony Rendon (.325 postseason average) and Juan Soto (.289 postseason average) have each had magnificent seasons compiling over a combined 250 runs batted in (RBI’s). Both were just nominated Gold Glove finalists, an award given to the best fielding player in league at each position. Despite a shaky bullpen, the Nats have relied on a diverse mix of spectacular pitching, powerful offense, danger on the base path and stellar defense. This gameplay made it difficult for opposing teams coming down the stretch in the regular season. In addition, their 2-out magic has been a major reason for their postseason success, nearly hitting .300 with 2 outs and scoring position opportunities. There’s a reason they play 162 games, and October is the time to shine. Washington has come up big in every moment they have been granted so far in October.
Even with many setbacks at the beginning of the season, such as losing 3-1 in National League Wild Card game in the 8th inning and a 2-1 series hole against the Dodgers, the Nats and their fans have rallied on their slogan “Stay in the Fight.” The Nats fans are now looking to “Finish the Fight” as they enter into the World Series.
This team has overcome adversity many times and will look to end the Nationals curse of failures in the National League Division Series (NLDS) by winning a World Series title. The Nats staved off elimination in the NLDS in their game against the Dodgers with a hard-fought win in Game 4 and a terrific rally in the 8th inning of Game 5. Four runs in the 10th inning in Game 5 in Los Angeles ended their longtime curse of never making it out of the division series. With this new momentum, the Nationals swept the Cardinals in 4 games. This win brought the first ever National League pennant to D.C., advancing to team the World Series for the first time in franchise history. A sweep would allow the Nats to have a full week of rest to recover for a tough series against MLB’s best team, the Houston Astros.
Before the Washington Capitals championship last year, D.C. experienced a 26-year championship drought. Since the Caps win, the Nats will seek to become the 3rd team in the past year to win a championship (the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018 and and the Mystics won the WBNA finals this month).
The Nats stormed into Houston and took both games off Astros top pitchers Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander to gain a commanding 2-0 series lead coming back to D.C. The Nats ride an 8-game winning streak in the playoffs and to look to extend this streak in the coming games in order to win the title at home. As former Washington National Bryce Harper stated in his opening Phillie’s press conference, “We want to bring a title back to D.C.” As of Game 2, the Nationals are two victories away from achieving that goal.