Charlie & Dave: Nationals 2019 Postseason Montage

Chris Lingebach
October 31, 2019 - 6:12 am

The Washington Nationals came into the postseason as underdogs. They had their backs up against the wall more times than any team before them could survive.

Every time climbing back seemed impossible, they found a way. Now they're World Series champions for it.

In the five times the Nationals faced elimination this postseason, they avoided it – five times, a postseason record.

Here's another postseason record: The Nationals are the first team in baseball history to win four World Series games on the road. Think about how impossible that is.

When their backs were up against the wall for the final time, in the final game their backs could be against the wall – down 2-0 in Game 7 of the World Series – they found a way.

The way Zack Greinke was pitching, no one expected the Nats to survive. Heck, the way the Nats were hitting, no one expected them to survive.

But they hung in there, hung in there, hung in there some more, and then in the top of the seventh, Greinke broke, giving up a one-out solo shot to Anthony Rendon and halving the Astros' lead to 2-1.

Then Greinke walked Juan Soto, forcing a decision from Astros manager A.J. Hinch that would ultimately decide the World Series. Hinch brought in right-handed reliever Will Harris – who had been nails against the Nats to that point, allowing just one run over four previous innings – to pitch to Howie Kendrick, who had one final act left in his system.

The dam broke. After swinging through an 80-mph curveball, Kendrick – who knocked out the Dodgers with a 10th-inning Grand Slam in the top of the 10th – found an 0-1 cutter that he liked, and sent it to the finite edge of right field at Minute Maid Park, seeing it through down the first base line as the ball clanged off the foul pole for a home run. The Nationals had suddenly discovered one last gasp, and were now leading 3-2.

As Nationals fans clung to their televisions, begging against all hope for insurance runs, the Nats, again, found a way, breaking Houston's bullpen – a combination of closer Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith and Jose Urquidy (who dominated them in Game 4) – for three more runs over the final two innings.

When the Nats ran into the 106-win Dodgers in the division series, every national Fox pundit picked them to lose. Every. Single. One.

The Nats mowed through their own demons and swept the Cardinals in four games in the NLCS. Even as the hottest team in baseball, the Nats entered the World Series as underdogs to the 107-win Astros, the World Series favorites.

After the Nats shocked the baseball world by taking the first two games in Houston, the Astros swiftly regained control, stealing the next three on the road in Washington, putting the Nationals back in their place as underdogs.

This World Series will go down as one for the ages because the Nationals, left for dead in the regular season at 19-31, never gave up.

Now enjoy the ride all over again, but really enjoy it this time, because now you know the ending: The Washington Nationals are World Series champions.