Friday, November 01, 2019

Washington Nationals are Baseball Champions

Story and photos by Lou Roesch
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (November 1, 2019) Take It Back!  From rally cry to near reality, the Houston Astros fell a game shy dropping game seven 6-2 to the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals. It was the first World Series championshipfor the nation’s capital since 1924. In a win, the Nationals became the first team to win a World Series without winning a home game. The long and winding journey that began in 1869 as the Washington Nationals baseball franchise later to evolve into the Washington Senators before morphing into the Minnesota Twins and then restarted in 2005 when Major League Baseball forced the Montreal Expos to leave the empty confines of Olympic Stadium and relocate to the District of Columbia, the D.C. “Boys of Summer” are now the world champions of baseball. In the end it was Washington and not Houston that took it back.

The title game though was not without its moments and reminders of history. Yuli Gurriel took Nats starter Max Scherzer deep in the opening frame sending a packed Minute Maid Park into a frenzy. Houston would touch up right-hander for another run in the fifth on a two out hit by Carlos Correa. In between those two tallies was what spelled the difference in the series. Houston left eight runners on the basepaths through the first five innings.  Scherzer,who could not lift his right arm above his head a week ago, gutted out five innings, scattering seven hits and allowing just two runs.

Living by the mantra “Finish The Fight”, the 2019 Nationals resembled the 1924 Washington Senators storming back to win games six and seven. Ninety five years ago, the Senators dropped game five by a score of 6-2. Fast forward and the next team from the District of Columbia to claim the title baseball champion wins by a score of 6-2. In game seven, the Senators came from behind in the eighth  to tie the game and on this night the Nationals came back and took the lead late.

This year’s Nationals could not solve Houston starter Zach Greinke getting just two hits and a run through 6 1/3 innings. They did however solve the Astros bullpen which mysteriously kept Gerrit Cole under wraps. Trailing 2-1, enter Will Harris who promptly surrendered a Howie Kendrick two run shot off the right field foul pole turning a one run deficit into a one run lead. Washington never looked back tagging on two more in the eighth and one more in the ninth.

Meanwhile Patrick Corbin on in relief of Scherzerr was doing his best baseball Hall of Famer Walter Johnson imitation. Johnson, for the Senators in the 1924 Game 7 pitched four scoreless innings as his team rebounded for the win and the last DC title. Corbin hurled three innings of two hit ball with three strikeouts shutting the door on Houston. Daniel Hudson acquired at the trade deadline hurled a perfect ninth including strikeouts of Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley.

It was the most unlikely of all unlikely’s happening at Minute Maid Park against the team with most home wins in the major league this season. The Nationals left for dead at 19-31 in late May fought back to not only make the playoffs but win the wild card game, survive two NLDS elimination games, sweep the NLCS, and lose three World Series home games by a count of 19-3 and yet at the end of it were the veterans Max Scherzer (12yrs), Ryan Zimmerman (15 yrs), Fernando Rodney (17yrs) released in May by the A’s andseveral more with seven plus years including Houston native Anthony Rendon. Together the veterans finished the fight for their owner Ted Lerner born nearly one year to the day after the Senators won D.C.’s last World Series.
That's the reason we're here – scouting and player development," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told MLB Network Radio after the game. "They sign 'em, we develop 'em. They get to the big leagues and they win championships."

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