31 December 2019

We Shouldn't Be Here. Should We? NLCS EDITION

WOW! We shouldn't be here. Should we?
Friday 11 October to Tuesday 15 October 2019

Sneaking into the playoffs the Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card game and went on to beat the 106 game winning Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. To be painfully honest, the Nationals should NOT be in the position they wound up in. They started off the 2019 season dismally in what looked like it was going to be another sub par season. After 50 games and some early injuries always the injuries at inopportune times, they were a measly 19-31. Hardly a team that could make it to the playoffs. Then...

They started following skipper Dave Martinez's policy of going 1-0 every game. Don't worry about last night's loss, don't anticipate tomorrow's win just concentrate on the here and now one game at a time and "Stay in the Fight" and have fun. From mid May to the end of the season (and into the Playoffs) the Nationals got RED Hot and finished the regular season 93-69 and got the number one Wild Card spot with a 4 game lead ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Nats beat the Brewers in the Wild Card game 4-3 in a very unorthodox way with a Juan Soto bases clearing single with the help of a fielding error. They then beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best of 5 NLDS 3-2. Game 5 was saved by a Howie Kendrick Grand Slam in the top of the 10th inning. Now they face the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, who beat the NL East Leading Atlanta Braves 3-2 in their NLDS (the 2 and 3 seeds). The Cardinals were 91-71 in the 2019 season 2 games worse than the Nats but in 7 regular season games they bested the Nats 5-2. Again the Nats are up against a team that had beat them not just in the regular season but in previous postseasons. The Cardinals stole the 2012 NLDS away from the Nats in a comeback game 5. The Cardinals had been down by 6 runs. In the 9th several times the Cardinals were down to their last strike and managed to gain a base, then tied it up and ended up winning 9-7.

Game 1: Friday 11 October 2019: Miles Mikolas vs Anibal Sanchez
Game one started off a bit slow, top of the first the Nats struck out swinging with a lone single by Anthony Rendon. The Cardinals strike out swinging, ground out and fly out during their half of the inning. Second Inning the Nats get things going. Howie Kendrick starts the inning off with a double, Ryan Zimmerman grounds out, Michael Taylor strikes out, Yan Gomes doubles Kendrick scores Nats on top 1-0. Anibal Sanchez grounds out. Then things settle down for a few innings. Top of 7th: Trea Turner lines out, Adam Eaton triples, Rendon intentionally walked. Two men on base. Pitching change Andrew Miller on mound Juan Soto strikes out swinging. Cardinals change pitchers again to John Brebbia, Kendrick singles Eaton scores Rendon to second. Score now 2-0 Nationals. Zimmerman walks bases are loaded. Taylor flies out. Bottom of the 8th pinch-hitter Jose Martinez gets the Cardinals their first and only hit of the game. Anibal Sanchez went 7.2 hit-less innings, Sean Doolittle came in and finished the game. Nationals win 2-0.

WIN: 2-0
SERIES: Nationals lead 1-0

Game 2: Saturday 12 October 2019: Adam Wainwright vs Max Scherzer
Game 2 an amazing Pitching match-up Adam Wianwright vs Max Scherzer. The scoring wouldn't get started until the top of the 3rd Michael A.Taylor hits a lead off homer to put the Nats on top 1-0. The game settled down to basically a pitching duel. The Nats got a couple of hits in the 5th and 6th innings but no runs. The Cardinals got their first hit bottom 7th. Then during the 8th some more action happens. With one out and men on 1st and 2nd  Adam Eaton doubles scoring Matt Adams and Trea Turner Score 3-0 Nationals.Bottom 8th Sean Doolittle comes in to pitch. Cardinals have 2 outs and a runner on first Jose Martinez hits a double scoring is Paul Delong. Score is 3-1 Nationals. Fort the 9th both teams change pitchers and get a 1,2,3 inning. Nationals win 3-1 Wow Nationals take the first two games of the series on the road.

WIN: 3-1
SERIES: Nationals lead 2-0

Game 3: Monday 14 October 2019: Stephen Strasburg vs Jack Flarhety
Series moves to DC Stephen Strasburg starts on the mound. The scoring fun starts bottom of 3rd. Victor Robles gets a lead off single, Stephen Strasburg sacrifices Robles to 2nd, Trea Turner strikes out swinging, Adam Eaton singles Robles scores 1-0 Nats. Anthony "Two Bags" Rendon doubles sending Eaton home score now 2-0. Juan Soto draws a walk, Howie Kendrick up to bat a wild pitch puts Rendon on 3rd and Soto on 2nd, Kendrick doubles Rendon and Soto score 4-0 Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman grounds out to end inning. 4th inning Cardinals make some noise with back to back two out singles but next batter flies out. Bottom 4th Kurt Suzuki singles but only gets as far as 2nd base on a Strasburg sacrifice. Bottom 5th Eaton grounds out, Rendon singles, Soto flies out, Kendrick doubles Rendon Scores 5-0 Nationals. Zimmerman doubles Kendrick scores 6-0 Nationals. Suzuki pops out ends inning. Bottom 6th Robles lead off homer Nats up 7-0. Strike out, ground out and fly out ends inning. 7th inning Cardinals make a little more louder noise, 2 singles a swinging strike out, followed by another single, runners advance bases loaded Jose Martinez scores on Juan Soto throwing error. Score now 7-1 Nats. Cards strike out two more times. Bottom 7th Kendrick doubles with two outs, Zimmerman singles Kendrick scores 8-1 Nationals, a Suzuki strike out ends the inning. A quick 1,2,3 top of the 8th, only a walk in the bottom of the 8th and another 1,2,3 top of the inning (the 9th) ends it. Final score 8-1 Nationals win now lead 3-0.

WIN: 8-1
SERIES: Nationals lead 3-0

Game 4: Tuesday 15 October 2019: Patrick Corbin vs Dakota Hudson
First inning Cardinals top of the inning complete strike out. Bottom of the 1st Nationals: Trea Turner lead off single, Adam Eaton doubles Turner to 3rd, Anthony Rendon sack fly Turner scores 1-0 Nationals, Juan Soto doubles Eaton scores 2-0, Howie Kendrick intentionally walked, Ryan Zimmerman reaches 1st on a fielding error Soto to 3rd Kendrick to 2nd bases loaded, Victor Robles singles Soto scores, Kendrick to 3rd Zimmerman to 2nd, score 3-0, Yan Gomes singles Kendrick and Zimmerman score Robles to 2nd, score 5-0, Patrick Corbin sacrifices Robles to 3rd Gomes to 2nd, Turner singles Robles and Gomes score 7-0 Nationals, Eaton lines out ending inning. Top 4th Yadlier Molina gets two out homer score 7-1 Nats. Top of the 5th Cardinals make more noise Lead off walk from Harrison Bader, followed by a Kolten Wong single moving Bader to 3rd. Dexter Fowler walks loading the bases, Tommy Edman grounds out, Bader scores, Wong to 3rd Fowler to 2nd, Score 7-2, Jose Martinez doubles, scoring Wong and Fowler.Score now 7-4 Nats still on top. Cardinals strike out swinging two more times to end inning. Bottom of the 6th baby shark appearance Geraldo Parra pinch hits and singles, no runs scored. Nats get another hit in the 7th the Cardinals hit in the 8th. No more runs scored. Nationals win 7-4 to win and SWEEP the Series.

WIN: 7-4

We are the NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS! Nationals WIN FIRST NL PENNANT in team and franchise history! The last time a DC baseball team won a Pennant was 1933 Senators in the American League. They lost the World Series though to the New York Giants.

NLCS MVP: Howie Kendrick

So it is on to THE WORLD SERIES. Next Opponent Houston Astros.