If it was not enough for the Washington Nationals to make history by making the postseason and advancing to the championship series, they are headed to the 2019 World Series. After a 7-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Nationals completed the four-game sweep over the Cardinals and punched their ticket to the 219 World Series. After a gut-wrenching game five against the Dodgers that was aided by Howie Kendrick’s heroics, the Nationals defeated the Dodgers to earn their spot in the 2019 NLCS in which they would make quick work of the Cardinals. Kendrick would not slow down in the NLCS, winning the 2019 NLCS MVP title for his contributions.
The Nationals opened up game one of the 2019 NLCS by showing pitching, pitching, and more pitching. They defeated the Cardinals 2-0, only allowing one hit after a gem of an outing from Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez threw 7.2 innings before handing it over to Sean Doolittle, who would close out the win for the Nationals. Their offense came in the form of a double from Kendrick, and a double from Yan Gomes. Both doubles would come off of Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas who was the one who allowed two runs in the loss.
Game two of the series was deja vu from the first game and six years ago when Sanchez almost threw a no-hitter for the Detroit Tigers, and the next day, Max Scherzer almost did it for the Tigers again. If it was not clear, Scherzer followed up Sanchez’s 7.2 inning performance with 7.o innings of his own, where he only allowed one hit. The Cardinals offense would only muster up three total hits en route to a 2-1 loss. Nationals outfielders Adam Eaton and Michael Taylor were the sources of runs off of Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright.
In game three of the series, the Nationals would not let up, only surrendering one run in the contest while putting up eight on the offensive side of things. Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty would get touched up early, only pitched four innings, allowing four runs on five hits before being pulled. Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg would continue the pitching dominance while throwing seven innings, only allowing seven hits and one unearned run before turning it over to the bullpen. Offensively it was Howie Kendrick, who was 3-4 with 3 RBI for the Nationals who would ultimately turn out to be the NLCS MVP.
The Cardinals would go into a win-or-go-home scenario in game four and were just not able to get the job done. The Nationals put up a seven-spot in the bottom of the first inning and would hold on to the lead for the remainder of the game. Nationals starter Patrick Corbin would surrender four runs on four hits, but the Nationals bullpen, which was shaky at times during the regular season, would close things out. Daniel Hudson would come on to earn the save after Tim Rainey and Doolittle earned holds for 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball. It was the Cardinals started Dakota Hudson who would only last one out but allowed the seven runs (four earned) before departing.
The MVP of the NLCS was Howie Kendrick, who has proven to be a real asset to the Nationals with his bat in the lineup. He has found ways to get the job done for the Nationals and keep them in front and eventually help them sweep the Cardinals. Kendrick will look to continue to be a force in the Nationals lineup during the 2019 World Series. The Nationals can only hope the pitching stays as dominant as it has been for them.
The stage has been set, the Nationals have advanced and the sweep has been completed. The Nationals will now have to await their opponent from the 2019 ALCS. It will be either that New York Yankees who swept the Minnesota Twins to advance to the 2019 ALCS, or the Houston Astros who knocked off the Tampa Bay Rays to advance to the 2019 ALCS. Having downtime between the League Championship Series and World Series can prove to be fatal for a team as it was for the Detroit Tigers back in 2012 when they fell to the San Francisco Giants. For the time being the Nationals can celebrate and begin preparing for the World Series that will begin after the ALCS concludes.