Reminiscing on the Best Moments from the Nationals’ 2019 World Series Run

This weekend at Nationals Park has been a great reminder of what the team accomplished five years ago. It feels like forever ago, but we are truly only a few years removed from one of the greatest underdog stories in baseball over the last couple of decades. So many dominos had to fall into place for their postseason run to come to fruition, and somehow, someway the Nationals were able to finish the fight. 
World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Seven
World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Seven / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Let’s start at the beginning of the 2019 season, when the Washington Nationals started the year 19-31. It seemed at the time that there was a better chance Davey Martinez would get fired than the Nationals turning their season around and making the playoffs. There were two players in particular that carried the Nationals during this stretch, and although it didn’t seem like it, without them that initial record would have been even worse. 

Without Anthony Rendon single-handily carrying the Nats' offense and Sean Doolittle converted nearly every save early-on during the season, the Nationals may not even make the playoffs let alone win the World Series. Without them keeping the team afloat early on, Washington’s unbelievable comeback would not even have been possible. It is pretty clear at this point that Doolittle’s heavy workload early in that season led to the end of his career, but I’m sure even he’d tell you that it was worth it at this point.

Once the team started heating up down the stretch, it was their elite rotation that carried them into the postseason. Once they got there, it took a little late-game magic against the Brewers to keep their season alive. Juan Soto was not even old enough to celebrate with beers in the clubhouse yet, but his mature at-bat against Josh Hader in the 2019 WC game is a massive reason why they won the World Series. Shoutout Trent Grisham who was immediately traded from the Brewers after the season because of his infamous costly error in the bottom of the 8th.

There were so many spots during their legendary postseason run where if they did not happen, there is zero chance the Nationals keep their season alive. We all remember the big stuff, like Strasburg winning the WS MVP, Ryan Zimmerman’s postseason HR and Howie Kendrick’s legacy grand slam against the Dodgers, but do we remember all the little things that got the team to that point now that we are five years removed? Let’s dive into some of the forgotten moments of Washington’s 2019 postseason run that you might’ve forgotten about over the last 5 years…

The Ace in the Hole

Nobody ever talks about how important Anibal Sanchez’ three postseason appearances were for the Nationals. Without him, this team would not have been able to eat-up enough innings, keeping the bullpen as fresh as possible. People forget he nearly threw a no-hitter against the Cardinals in the NLCS.

The Outfield production not named Juan Soto

The Nationals’ outfield was a little banged-up at the end of the year. Without Michael A. Taylor’s glove in centerfield or Adam Eaton’s clutch postseason home run, this team would not have been able to pull off the impossible. Everyone talks about the big-name players like Soto and Strasburg carrying us, but we are quick to forget that without these role players stepping up, the Nationals wouldn’t have stood a chance. 

Patrick Corbin?? The now DFA candidate??

I know it is tough to believe at this point after watching him struggle over the years, but without Patrick Corbin, the Nationals would not have won the World Series back in 2019. Without his 23 postseason innings, Washington would not have had enough arms to even make it to the World Series. Remember when he came out of the bullpen against the Astros for 3 scoreless innings? He was dominant against the Astros, securing that win on short rest after starting a few days prior. As crazy as it sounds, without “Patty Ice” there is zero chance the Nationals win that series. 

It is easy to forget the little things that helped cement the 2019 Washington Nationals in baseball history as one of the great underdog stories of this century. The Nationals were 19-31 with thoughts of firing their manager, but they never gave up. They might not have been the most talented team in the postseason, but their chemistry was unmatched and they entered postseason play as the hottest team in baseball. 

It is crazy to look back at that 2019 season as a whole. Who would have thought that team would make a run and eventually win the World Series? Davey Martinez used a famous quote from his mother that still sticks with me to this day… “bumpy roads lead to beautiful places.” The 2019 Nationals never game up, and will go down as one of the greatest comeback stories in all of sports over the last decade. We might never see a team pull-off an in-season turnaround like that ever again.