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After Years Of Falling Short Of Their Ultimate Goal, The Washington Nationals Are World Series Champions

World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Seven

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The curtain has finally closed on the 2019 Major League Baseball season, and the Washington Nationals walk away with their storybook ending — a World Series title.

It was a battle of the hottest team in baseball versus the best team in baseball. The Houston Astros were widely regarded as the pinnacle of the sport. The Nationals weren’t so bad themselves, but they had some demons to exorcize before they could enter the conversation. Not only had they never won a World Series title, but they had never won a postseason series prior to this October. Even when they stunned the Brewers in the Wild Card game, that still wasn’t enough. Some were calling it their first postseason series win, but it was just one game. They had to take down the back-to-back National League champion Dodgers first.

And take them down they did. After dismissing the Dodgers, the Nats moved on to the NLCS where they made quick work of the Cardinals, historically the class of the National League, sweeping them in four games. St. Louis never even had a lead in the series. The questions of whether or not the layoff would hurt the Nationals was answered rather loudly when Washington took the first two games of this World Series in Houston, defeating both Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. It was Cole’s first loss since late May.

This World Series went to a seventh game without a home team securing a victory. That trend would continue when the Nationals came out victorious in Game 7 featuring the heroic return of Max Scherzer. Game 5 was scheduled to see a rematch of Game 1, Cole versus Scherzer, but the three-time Cy Young award winner was in too much pain to even dress himself, never mind start a World Series game. The Nats went on to get mowed down by Cole, giving Houston their first series lead in the Fall Classic.

Scherzer was down, but he was not out. The right-hander returned in Game 7 against Zack Greinke, who was dominant up until he allowed a solo homer to Anthony Rendon in the seventh inning. This is not hindsight being 20/20. The way Greinke was throwing the ball, there was no reason for him to leave that game. But he did. And it was all Nats from there. Howie Kendrick’s two-run blast later in the inning gave Washington a 3-2 lead and that would’ve been enough, but the Nats kept pouring it on. Scherzer, on the other hand, went a gutsy five innings, holding the Astros to two runs and punched out three.

The Nationals were the biggest underdog in a World Series since the 2007 Rockies, who didn’t win a game in that World Series. I don’t know how, but they were. This was a team that started off their season 19-31. They were written off many times. But with a rotation that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer, World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin, they should’ve always been in the back of baseball fans’ minds. That’s without mentioning National League MVP candidate Anthony Rendon and 21-year-old superstar Juan Soto, who became the youngest player in World Series history to homer three times.

After years of falling short, all the first-round exits and the disappointments of missing the postseason altogether, the Nationals have their World Series title. They are vindicated. After putting together one of the best rotations of all-time, supplementing it with stars in their lineup, some no longer with us, the Nationals finally got over the hump. They cemented their status in baseball lore. And nobody can take that away from them. Flags fly forever, and the Nationals will raise theirs on Opening Day next year.

Congratulations to the World Series champion Washington Nationals.