After trailing 2-0 in the seventh, the Washington Nationals stayed calm and collected to storm back and win the 2019 World Series Championship.
Their record was 19-31 on May 23. Five months later, the Washington Nationals are World Series champions.
Their road to the Fall Classic was an unorthodox one, but maybe we should have seen this coming all along. This Nationals team was 12 games under .500 and in fourth place in their division. They did not give up.
Even when their ace Max Scherzer gave up two runs in the bottom of the first in Game 1, the Nationals battled back to win. Stack the cards however you want against them, because the 2019 Washington Nationals are going to battle until the final out.
Much like that first game of the Series, the Houston Astros scored the first run in Game 7. First baseman Yuli Gurriel clubbed a home run to left field against Scherzer to lead off the bottom half of the second inning.
What amplified things even more against the Nats was the fact that Astros starter Zack Greinke was dealing. Greinke held the Nationals to one hit through six innings, striking out three to that point. It was looking like the Houston Astros were going to win their second World Series title in three years.
Houston added their second run in Game 7 when left fielder Michael Brantley led off the bottom of the fifth with a single. He moved to second as designated hitter Yordan Alvarez drew a walk three batters later. Shortstop Carlos Correa laced the ball down the third-base line, and it was deflected off the glove of diving third baseman Anthony Rendon. The ball rolled past him, allowing Brantley to score.
That would be the last bit of momentum that the Houston Astros would create in 2019.
Even after allowing two runs through five innings, Nationals starter Max Scherzer threw everything he could to hold down the Astros’ offense as much as possible. Scherzer finished after five innings, totaling seven hits, two runs, and four walks alongside only three punchouts.
Left-hander and prized free-agent signee from last offseason, Patrick Corbin, relieved Scherzer and allowed a leadoff single to Jake Marisnick, but would strike out George Springer and get Jose Altuve to ground into a rally-killing double play.
Zack Greinke pitched extremely well and proved why the Astros traded so much young potential talent to Arizona for him. Prior to the seventh inning, the Nationals had hit too many weak grounders to the pitcher’s mound, allowing Greinke to showcase his athleticism alongside his dominant pitching.
Following an Adam Eaton groundout in the top of the seventh, Rendon hammered a solo home run to left field, cutting the lead to 2-1. Greinke was human, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch did not want to find out how human Greinke was; Hinch pulled Greinke after issuing a walk to Juan Soto following the Rendon home run.
Will Harris was brought in, and up came the NLCS’ Most Valuable Player, designated hitter Howie Kendrick. Kendrick connected with the second pitch Harris offered and drove it through the air into right field. The ball was tailing more and more toward the foul pole, and it hit the steel netting, signifying a home run.
The Nationals stayed in the fight. They had found their first lead, making it 3-2 in the top of the seventh.
Corbin remained in the game and prevented the Astros from answering back to the Nats’ huge seventh inning. Washington added some insurance in the eighth when Juan Soto hit a RBI single to score Adam Eaton.
After Corbin worked a 1-2-3 eighth, the Nationals’ offense continued to bury the Astros, knowing how potent Houston could be and even a two-run lead could not be safe. Eaton would bring in two more runs on a single, extending the lead to 6-2.
Houston had their stars coming in the bottom of the ninth, looking to rally and keep their hopes alive. Daniel Hudson would be put in to shut the door, and he did just that. Hudson got Springer to pop-out, Altuve to strike out, and finally, after a scare when he served up a foul home run, Michael Brantley to strike out swinging with the count full to end the ballgame.
The Washington Nationals had won their first World Series Championship since moving back to D.C.
The Nationals came into the postseason as a Wild Card team, storming back in the bottom of the eighth and punching their ticket to the National League Division Series. The NLDS was where these Nats fought back from down two-games-to-none against a strong Los Angeles Dodgers team.
Washington looked absolutely dominant in a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. But would the long rest from Game 4 of the NLCS to Game 1 of the World Series affect them? Not a bit.
The road team won all seven games in the 2019 World Series, something never done before in history. Something also never done before: a first overall draft pick winning World Series Most Valuable Player for the team that drafted him.
Stephen Strasburg was selected as the World Series MVP after going 2-0 and allowing only four runs in 14 ? innings pitched, including his incredible 8 ?-inning effort in Game 6.
Props have to be given to the Houston Astros, too. They went out and won three straight in D.C. to come back from a 2-0 deficit and take all of the momenta back. Perhaps this Astros team is one of the most complete in MLB history. Their offense was strong from top to bottom, their starting pitchers are aces and some of the best in baseball, and their bullpen could be lock-down when they get to clicking. The Astros won 107 games this season and had the best record in all of the Major Leagues.
Congratulations to the 2019 Washington Nationals on your World Series Championship. You were truly fun to watch, and you resembled true determination and a never-give-up attitude.
Now begins the offseason. Lots of roster turnover, lots of practice and work to prepare for next season, lots of whispers about trades, several coaching positions to fill, awards to select, but most of all: lots of rest.
Until next year, Major League Baseball.