The 2019 World Series: Putting the “W” in Washington

Alexander McCrystal, Reporting Journalist

The Washington Nationals are World Series champions. It’s hard to fully comprehend that sentence. For a team that had the same record as the Miami Marlins at one point, the Nationals played like they had always been champs. Their work ethic and ability to capitalize on the opponents’ mistakes led to their stunning series wins. What will always be talked about though is that the team barely beat teams like the Brewers and Dodgers as they both somewhat came down to luck for the Nationals. That doesn’t mean the Nats weren’t doing everything in their power to win baseball games, because they did everything.

Yet, it seems as though the only reason the Nationals won against Milwaukee was a result of Christian Yelich’s backup made an error that lost the Brewers. If Christian Yelich was there or if the replacement made the incredibly easy play to field the ball, the Nationals would have lost the wild card game, and would never win the World Series. If the Dodgers manager hadn’t made the extremely questionable decision to put Clayton Keyshawn in to protect the Dodgers lead, the Nationals would have had a different story. Clayton was extremely well-known for underperforming n the playoffs, so it should’ve been obvious not to start a pitcher that has consistently lost in the circumstances he was pitching in. Yet, Clayton Kershaw choked, and the Nationals went to the NLCS. The Nationals outplayed the Cardinals in four game sweep that was not any form of luck.

Even in the World Series, when the Nationals had Max Scherzer miss a game because unfortunate circumstances, they still preserved. The World Series was not exempt from bad mistakes by their opponents. The Astros had the lead in game seven of the World Series and their top ace, Gerrit Cole, warming up in the bullpen to maintain the lead. Cole was an obvious choice to close out as he is one of, if not the best, pitchers in the MLB. Instead, the Astros went with one of their usual relievers who proceeded to give up the two game-winning home runs for Nationals. If Cole was in relief, the turnout would’ve probably been much different.

What is said about their luck is not to downsize the Nationals’ incredible comebacks and work ethic. When these opportunities were presented to the Nationals, they capitalized on them and turned the tide of the game. They outplayed their opponents in the second half of the season and the whole team worked extremely hard to win the title.

But as great as the Nationals were this year, it won’t be the same team on the diamond next season. Their best players, Anthony Renton and Stephen Strasbourg, will be free agents and are possibly going to another team. The Nationals will need to fill in the gaps that the those players will leave. Finding talented players will be extremely difficult and expensive. The Nationals future is bright with a few dark spots as of now. If the Nationals can get some more players with as much talent as they are losing, they could be championship contenders again next. The National League will be an interesting division next year. For now, the Nationals should focus on resting their players and acquiring new talent for next season. The baseball landscape has never been so intriguing and exciting! As 2019 proved, any team, no matter their history and circumstances, can win the World Series.