Washington Nationals: 2017 season success or failure?
By Ricky Keeler
For the third time in six years, the Washington Nationals season ends in another heartbreaking Game 5 NLDS defeat. Was their year a success or failure?
Last night, it was the same theme for the Washington Nationals as years past. Five years to the date, the Nats lost a decisive game in the NLDS and it came back to haunt them last night in a 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. It was a wild game and the Nats never gave up, but they came up short.
So, the big question to answer. Was this season a success or a failure? If you are one who thinks of it as a success, you could look at how the team won 97 games, a fourth division title, has many Cy Young and MVP candidates, and might have themselves a future star in the making in Michael Taylor.
For the other success points, you can look at the dominant October Stephen Strasburg had and changed his legacy, the comeback seasons by Ryan Zimmerman and Gio Gonzalez, and much more.
The Washington Nationals have given their fans great memories this season, but at the same time, this season should be viewed as a failure. This team has still yet to maximize their window of opportunity while Bryce Harper is wearing a curly W uniform. Now, they only have one season left (potentially) to do that.
Now, if the Nats had won last night, the season would be a success because they were finally able to win a round in the postseason. This loss will sting this franchise for a while. Just take a look at how Max Scherzer felt after a rough outing out of the bullpen last night:
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Anytime a team has success, it comes with great expectations. The Nats weren’t the favorites to win the World Series coming into the year, but they were expected to make a deep October run. It’s okay to embrace the expectations and call this season a failure.
As for Dusty Baker, it is hard not to feel terrible that he hasn’t been able to win a World Series. Whether this was Baker’s last game as Nats manager, he has left his impact on this franchise and changed a culture that was in disarray just two years ago. That alone is valuable and every player who has played for him respects him.
This loss will take a long time to recover from and it should. All you have to hope is that the Nats can learn from the last two heartbreaking Game 5’s. One of the things they can learn is that you have to do the little things right because those things decide games, especially postseason games. When you are playing a defending World Series champ, every mistake can cost you.
So, while the Nats fought back after an embarrassing top of the fifth and at least made the game close down to the final out, it is hard not to look at 2017 as a failure because they once again lost in round one.
Next: Harper's leadership emerges
What are your thoughts on this season? Success or failure? Let us know in the comments section below.