After breaking into the 2019 Major League Baseball postseason as a wildcard berth, the Washington Nationals have defied the odds and won it all. The Nationals have defeated the Houston Astros in the 2019 World Series to claim victory for the first time in franchise history (as the Nationals, not Senators). It’s been an incredible ride for both the Nationals and Astros, but the Nationals were able to hang on for the victory in game seven.
The Nationals, coming off a serious break after sweeping the Cardinals in the 2019 NLCS. Surprising everyone, they would manage to steal game one after a 5-4 victory in Houston. The most shocking part of this game was that Astros ace Gerrit Cole suffered the loss, the first loss he had sustained since May of 2019. The Astros would put up two runs in the first inning, but struggle the rest of the way against Nationals ace Max Scherzer. In the fifth inning, the Nationals would make way for Adam Eaton, who would ultimately manage to increase the Nationals lead. After Scherzer would depart, it was the bullpen who would surrender the two runs, Tim Rainey and Daniel Hudson being responsible for those runs.
Game two had a similar ending, except the Nationals made a point this time, managing to put up twelve runs on fourteen hits to defeat the Astros 12-3. Astros pitcher Justin Verlander continued his track record of bad World Series outings after allowing four runs over six innings over seven hits and taking the loss. After Verlander departed the game, the Astros bullpen would struggle with reliever Ryan Pressly allowing four runs, Josh James allowing a run, and Chris Devenski allowing one as well. The Nationals offense was going off, with home runs from Kurt Suzuki, Eaton, and Michael Taylor. Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg would toe the rubber, allowing two runs over six innings on seven hits, it was Javy Guerra who would allow the Astros third run to cross the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning.
When the series flipped to Washington at Nationals Park, the momentum did too. The Astros came out looking for blood, winning game three 4-1, starting to see the bats come alive. With Anibal Sanchez on the mound, the Astros would get to him for all four runs they would score. Sanchez would throw 5.1 innings allowing ten hits and the four runs that would seal the deal in game three. The Astros got 4.2 innings out of Zack Greinke before turning it over to the bullpen, who would not allow a run the rest of the way to cap off the Astros win. The offensive push for the Astros came from George Springer, Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, and Robinson Chirinos, who all had two hits in the game.
Continuing with momentum, the Astros would finally get the bats going courtesy of an Alex Bregman grand slam that put the Astros up 8-1 and sealed the game four victory. The Astros started Jose Urquidy en route to a bullpen game, but Urquidy would wind up throwing five innings of two-hit, shutout baseball for the Astros. It was Josh James who would surrender the Nationals only run. For the Nationals, it was starter Patrick Corbin who would get roughed up for four runs over six innings allowing the Astros to build their lead. After that, Fernando Rodney would surrender Bregman’s blast that put the Astros up by more than they would need to tie the series up.
Going into game five, the Series became a “best of three” set between the two teams, with the Nationals playing host to game five. The Astros would get the best of the Nationals, sending Joe Ross to the mound who would allow four runs on five hits over five innings. The Nationals would fail to catch up to this deficit, which was then hampered by Daniel Hudson giving up three more runs in the eighth and ninth inning. The Astros sent Cole to the mound who regained himself after the previous start throwing seven innings, allowing one run on three hits. The bullpen would ultimately close it out, making it a 7-1 Astros victory. The Astros offense was powered by Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa, and Springer, who would all take Nationals pitchers deep. Alvarez would finish the game 3-3 with two RBI for the Astros.
Game six would send the teams back to Houston with Stephen Strasburg on the mound for the Nationals and Justin Verlander on the bump for the Astros. Strasburg would end up tossing an absolute gem against the Astros to force a game seven, only allowing two runs over 8.1 innings pitched, allowing Doolittle to come and close things out. Offensively, the Nationals were powered from home runs by Eaton, Soto, and Rendon after one of the most controversial plays in the World Series. A play at first base involving a lousy throw and Trea Turner At out would result in a plus-four minute delay from the umpiring crew, with newly entered reliever Will Harris allowing the home run to Rendon.
Game seven was a crazy one, there may not have been lead change after lead change, but the Astros got to the Nationals ace, Scherzer, early for two runs courtesy of Yuli Gurriel and Correa. With Greinke throwing an absolute gem on the mound, it seemed that it was all but over for the Nationals, but Greinke had to depart the game. Upon his departure, the Nationals were able to get on the board from home run by Rendon. The very next inning, it was 2019 NLCS MVP Howie Kendrick who homered off the foul pole in right field to claim the lead for the Nationals.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Nationals broke it open when Eaton singled to center field, driving in two more runs to increase the Nationals lead to 6-2. The ball was placed in Patrick Corbin’s hand, who would go on to pitch three innings, only allowing two hits for the Nationals. Hudson would go out for the ninth inning for the Nationals, recording three outs and sealing the victory. The Astros bullpen would falter, ultimately leading to the demise of the Astros and allowing the Nationals to get their very first-ever World Series victory.
Now that the 2019 World Series has concluded and the Washington Nationals have been crowned champions… there are three big players involved between the Nationals and Astros who could all hit the market this offseason. Astros pitcher, Cole, will hit the open market this offseason after having an incredible, Cy Young caliber season. Nationals infielder, Rendon, will hit the open market with a standing offer from the Nationals being on the table. Within three days of the conclusion of the 2019 World Series, Strasburg will have to alert the team whether he will opt-in or out of the remaining years on his contract with the Nationals. Only time will tell, but for the time being, its time for the Nationals to celebrate.