Holy crap, it’s happening. The Washington Nationals, long known for postseason failure, are finally heading to the World Series.
You could feel a different atmosphere hanging over Nationals Park when St. Louis Cardinals’ third baseman Tommy Edman came up to the plate.
It was the bottom of the ninth in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, with the Cardinals down to what could have been the final out of their season. In years past, this would be when the Washington Nationals would fall apart and add another chapter of futility for their tortured fanbase.
Maybe it was the Nationals getting tired of hearing about their postseason failures? Or the fact that Bryce Harper, the former face of this franchise, decided that he could “win” with the Philadelphia Phillies last offseason that became the fule for this Nationals team to enjoy the fruits of success that has always founded a way to elude them even in their days as the Montreal Expos.
These are not your same old Nationals anymore, the team that did good in the regular season, but somehow found a way to turn into complete rotten pumpkins in the postseason. Though it may not have seemed that way early in the season, the 2019 version of the Nationals was focused and on a mission to prove to the baseball world that they didn’t need Bryce Harper to climb the heights of the baseball world.
All they needed was a deep bullpen and pitching staff to shut down opposing bats, and Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon to keep being the faces of the franchise. Never in their history (again, going back to the Montreal days) has their pitching and offense has clicked so beautifully as it did this postseason, especially against the Cardinals, outscoring St. Louis 20-to-6 in its four-game sweep of the Birds.
And just like that, the franchise is in a place it hasn’t been in its entire history as the Nationals — the World freakin’ Series. When the final out was caught by Victor Robles, you could feel the jubilation and joy of the Nationals faithful, that years of baseball scars had been instantaneously healed. No more were their Nationals the butt of postseason jokes, they are currently the postseason kings.
It’s not a quantifiable analytics to break down, but the Nationals just feel destined for this moment. For all the sabermetrics that go into creating a winner, sometimes it’s nice to know that all a team needs to do is get white-hot at the right time as the stars finally align. Everything has lined up for the Nats, from non-tangibles like the energy that surrounds the team to Baseball Things like Washington’s incredible pitching staff to the storybook narrative. This is a team that was 19-31 in May and was supposed to take a step back after Bryce Harper left in the offseason. It was at that lowest point in their season that the Nationals turned a corner that now has them sprinting towards an improbable but realistic World Series title.
It’s the magic of the postseason, and it’s incredible to watch.
If the Nationals have shown us anything, it’s that this is a team that finally feels like it belongs here and deserves the shot to take out one of the titans of the MLB.
Let’s not jinx it quite yet but: Holy crap, it sure seems like the Nationals are actually going to do this.