Southern Exposure 9: Day 15, The Nats

On Wednesday, October 30, 2019, aboard the vessel Zaandam, en route from Peru to Santiago, Chili, we watched on the ship’s television the historic World Series victory of the Washington Nationals over the Houston Astros, said by some to be the best team in baseball, winning 107 games in the regular season. The game is now history. Through the sixth inning, the Nats had only one hit, and the two runs posted by the Astros seemed insurmountable. Scherzer had not gotten a strikeout and did not have his usual great stuff. The only upside was that he had managed to allow only two runs, leaving 15 runners stranded. We watched the game on board at a crowded bar with a wide screen TV. The 50 or so people watching seemed about equally divided between those rooting for the Nats and those rooting for the Astros. The situation appeared hopeless. 

But wait! The Nats had been in this situation before. In five previous playoff games they had been behind in elimination games and had fought back in late innings to win the game and stay alive. Could they do it one more time? Could this be another miracle?

Indeed it was! No team in World Series history had ever won the pennant without winning a single home game. No pitcher had ever won five playoff games without a single loss as did Strasburg. No team with close to the worst record in baseball in May (19-31)  had ever come this far  to win it all. It was truly a magic season.

Here is an excerpt from the email I received from my good friend and baseball guru, Jim Killebrew, when asked if he believed the Nats comeback victory to be a miracle:

Well, yes, I do believe in miracles. It’s called pixie dust. 

But this was a matter of the team with the best record in baseball losing to the wild card team that got hot in September and October and got to the Series by beating  the team with the best record in the National League. This was a Series where the visiting team won all seven games. That record may survive even Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hitting streak. The team with four, count ‘em, four stellar starting pitchers lost to the team with two stellar starters and possibly the shakiest bullpen in baseball; and that was all thanks to the best job of managing ever. And, oh yes, don’t forget the no-name Howie Kendrick coming out of the woodwork and possibly winning the Series MVP. 

Thanks, Killer. And thanks, Nats. Washington needed this.

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