The Washington Nationals finished off their four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals last night, winning by a score of 7-4. Howie Kendrick was named the MVP of the NLCS.
The Cardinals didn’t have an answer for the Nationals’ pitching, and never led throughout all four games. The Nationals will represent the National League in the World Series, and play either the Houston Astros or the New York Yankees.
(The Astros won 4-1 yesterday, and are up on the Yankees 2-1 in the ALCS.)
This is Washington’s first ever trip to the World Series. In fact, while they’ve had good teams since 2012, they’d never won a single playoff series before this year.
That dates back to 2005, when they became the Nationals. Before that, they were the Montreal Expos, although that organization also struggled. The Expos never went to the World Series . . . and from 1969 to 2004, they only won ONE playoff series, and that was back in 1981.
Secondly, the Nationals had a ROUGH start to the season. They were 19-31 on May 23rd, and were in second-to-last place in the National League.
The Nationals are just the fourth team in baseball history to reach the World Series after being at least 12 games below .500 during the regular season . . . and only the 1914 Braves WON the World Series.
One of the main reasons for the rough start was that they were without BRYCE HARPER . . . the six-time all-star who had been their SUPERSTAR for the seven previous seasons.
He reportedly turned down a 10-year, $300 million offer to return, for a similar but longer 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. They finished 81-81, and weren’t close to making the playoffs.
Bryce might have mistakenly WILLED the Nationals dream season into existence. AFTER signing his monster deal in Philadelphia, he accidentally said he “wanted to bring a title back to D.C.” (Here’s video.)