Nationals capital-ize on World Series win

Washington raises the trophy as they celebrate its first title. Photo Courtesy:

Late October is one of the best times of the year. It’s filled with Halloween, wearing flannels, leaves falling, and the best of them all, the World Series. The World Series is one of the most intense and fun sporting events to watch all year, as the winner is determined by the team who wins four games first out of seven.
There is one representative each from both The American League and The National League. This year, the Houston Astros represented the American League and the Washington Nationals represented the National League.
This was the Astros’ third World Series appearance, after winning it for the first time in 2017. The Astros finished the season with a 107-55 record, a franchise record which would make them the best team in baseball.
Stars on Houston include starting pitchers Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. The two big batters in Houston are second baseman Jose Altuve and third baseman Alex Bregman.
The Astros’ playoff run consisted of defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Divisional Series, 3 games to 2, in a best of 5 game series, where pitcher Gerrit Cole would pitch lights out, striking out batter after batter. After defeating the Rays, Houston would go on to defeat the Yankees, 4 games to 2, in a best of 7 game series. This series was highlighted by a walk off Jose Altuve home run in Game 6, which would send them to the World Series.
On the other side, the Nationals finished the season with a 93-69 record. Although this was impressive, it was not good enough to win them the NL East, as they finished behind the Atlanta Braves. Even though they faced that challenge, they were still able to make it to their first World Series ever.
Aside from the Nationals success this year, the big story was this offseason when their superstar Bryce Harper signed with The Philadelphia Phillies with a deal worth over thirty million dollars. Despite the loss, Washington was able to have a solid team.
Stars on Washington include pitchers Steven Strausburg and Max Scherzer. The two big batters for Washington are right fielder, Juan Soto, and third baseman, Anthony Rendon.
Since the Nationals finished second in the NL East, this caused them to play an extra game in the playoffs known as the Wild Card game. In this game, they faced the Milwaukee Brewers. The Nationals were losing 3-1 heading into the 8th inning, but thanks to a lucky three-run hit by Juan Soto, the Nationals took the lead and won the game.
In the National League Divisional Series, the Nationals were huge underdogs against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who finished with over a hundred wins this season. Yet these challenges didn’t stop the Nationals as they were able to seize over the Dodgers, 3 games to 2, in a best of 5 series.
Washington would then face The St. Louis Cardinals, which was no challenge at all to them. Washington would sweep the Cardinals 4 games to 0 in a best of 7 game series, which saw Nationals dominate in the series. With two similar teams which highlight dominant pitching, the World Series will not be a let down this year.
Houston headed into the World Series as a huge favorite, yet that was not the case in Game One as Washington was able to defeat Houston 5-4. Scherezer defeated Cole as he allowed 2 runs in 5 innings. Cole was not his dominant self this game as he allowed 5 runs in 7 innings. The Astros took a 2 run lead in the first inning off of first baseman Yuri Gurriel’s two run RBI double. This lead didn’t stop Juan Soto as he hit a solo home run in the 4th inning, and also a two run RBI double in the 5th inning, which would give them a 5-2 lead. After a few runs given up by the Nationals bullpen, Sean Doolittle was able to close the game out with a save and help guide his team for the victory. This win by Washington gave them lots of confidence heading into Game Two.
Game Two was an ugly performance by Houston. Washington embarrassed them at their own stadium, defeating them 12-3. Although this series was supposed to be a pitching match-up between Strausberg and Verlander, the first inning didn’t see that, as Anthony Rendon had a 2 run RBI double. That was followed up in the same inning by a two run home run by Alex Bregman, which tied the game at 2. The game would stay tied at 2 until the 7th inning when Kurt Suzuki of Washington hit a bomb to left field, giving them a 3-2 lead.
That inning saw Washington score 5 more runs that inning, with RBIs by Asdrubel Cabrera, Howie Kendrick, and Ryan Zimmerman. Verlander was responsible for two of these runs, while pitcher Ryan Pressly gave up the other three. Washington would score another three runs the following inning, which expanded their lead 12-3. With Washington up 2-0 in the series heading back to D.C., this could lead to trouble for Houston.
Game Three, however, was completely opposite from the first two, as Houston stepped up and defeated Washington 4-1. Houston was able to get 4 runs by 4 different players off Nationals pitcher Anibal Sanchez. Although Zach Greinke only pitched 4 and ⅔ innings, a variety of Houston bullpen pitchers came in clutch as they allowed no runs and only two hits.
Game four was highlighted by one man, Alex Bregman. Bregman hit an RBI single in the first inning, which helped the team get off to an early lead. They were able to score more runs in the 4th inning as catcher Robinson Chirinos hit a two run home run which gave them a 4-0 lead. Although Washington scored a run in the 6th inning, Bregman’s best game was highlighted by a grand slam in the 7th inning to give Houston an 8-1 lead. Washington couldn’t do anything and would lose 8-1 as Houston’s bullpen did the job again. As the series was tied 2-2, game 5 was going to be big.
Game Five was a must win game for Washington; if they lost they would be down 3 games to 2 with the series shifting to Houston. Unfortunately, star pitcher Max Scherzer could not pitch due to severe neck spasms from the night before.
With Scherzer not pitching, this gave Houston a clear advantage as left fielder Yordan Alvarez and shortstop Carlos Correa both hit two runner home runs in the 2nd and 4th inning. George Springer would also hit a home run in the 9th inning, which spread the lead 7-1, and ultimately would allow Houston to win the game. Gerrit Cole pitched another incredible outing, with 7 innings and only 1 run allowed as he returned to his dominant self. With one win away from being champs, Houston claimed its second title ever.
Unfortunately for Houston, the celebration would have to wait as Washington seized 7-2. Houston took the lead 2-1 in the first inning of Game Six with Bregman and Altuve responsible for their runs. Houston would have the lead until the 5th inning when right fielder Adam Eaton and Juan Soto both hit solo home runs giving Washington a 3-2 lead.
The rest of the game was highlighted by the pitching of Strausberg, and hitting of Rendon. Strasburg would pitched 8 and ⅓ innings, only allowing 2 runs. Rendon would drive in a total of 5 runs, an RBI single in the 1st inning, a two run home run in the 7th, and a two run RBI double in the 9th. Verlander is now 0-6 in The World Series, proving he cannot be clutch, as he allowed 3 runs in 5 innings.
In a winner take all situation, Houston would have liked to have seen themselves taking the lead early off of a solo home run by Gurriel in the second inning, and then an RBI single by Carlos Correa. Down 2-0, Washington wouldn’t back down as Rendon and Kendrick both hit home runs in the 7th inning, which would give Washington a 3-2 lead. In the 8th inning, Soto would get an RBI single, followed by a two run RBI single by right fielder Adam Eaton. This would expand Washington’s lead to 6-2, and Houston couldn’t score any more as Washington would be crowned World Series champs. Starting pitcher Patrick Corbin would come in after Scherzer, pitching 3 innings and allowing 0 runs.
This is the Nationals first ever World Series ring, as they came into the season not expecting to win since they lost their superstar. Strausberg would receive World Series MVP, as he went 2-0, and had a less than 2.50 ERA.
This was the city of Washington’s second sports title in two years, as the Capitals were able to win the Stanley Cup last year.
Although Washington lost their superstar, this didn’t stop them from taking home a title, as it shows that it takes more than just an individual to win a title.

Nationals star Anthony Rendon shines in the series, as he had multiple clutch hits and played like a champion. Photo Courtesy: