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Nationals advance to first World Series

Corn Farmer | Flickr

The Nationals, long ridiculed for the postseason futility, will finally make their debut in the Fall Classic, leaving the Seattle Mariners as the only team in the MLB to have never reached the World Series. 

For the first time since the Great Depression, a World Series game will be held in the nation’s capital. In order to arrive at this monumental occasion, the Nationals pressed into their strength of starting pitching. 

Their rotation of Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, Aníbal Sánchez and Stephen Strasburg were integral in their run to the World Series. 

Throughout this postseason, Strasburg has been dominant in using his curveball and changeup, registering only one walk while striking out 33 batters. For the most part, Scherzer has justified this need as his 1.80 ERA and 27 strikeouts will attest. 

Corbin, mostly used in the bullpen this October, has bounced back from a rough Division Series to shut down the Cardinals in Game 4. 

The biggest surprise in this rotation has been Sánchez, who has only allowed two runs in 12.2 innings in these playoffs, including 7.2 no-hit innings in Game 1 against the Cardinals. 

In the bullpen, Daniel Hudson has been lights-out, not allowing a run so far and constantly getting the Nationals out of jams. 

One truth that has become self-evident in this postseason is that Anthony Rendon will be a very rich man this offseason. 

The third baseman, who has played himself into the discussion for National League MVP, has been outstanding in these playoffs. Rendon has hit .375 with seven runs batted in and eight walks, while leading the postseason in runs scored with eight, a testament to his ability to get on base. 

Besides the stats, Rendon has come up clutch for the Nationals, flashing the leather on multiple occasions from the hot corner as well as providing a crucial home run off the Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in Game 5. 

Speaking of home runs in Game 5, Rendon’s partner in crime, Juan Soto, has gone quiet at the plate since his game-tying home run in that same game. 

However, the slack has been picked up in earnest by NLCS MVP Howie Kendrick. 

Riding the momentum of the game-winning grand slam in the Division Series, Kendrick drove in four runs on five hits for the Nats in the following series. 

For the first time ever, the Nationals have won seven games in a single postseason. 

A momentous feat, yes, but the ultimate goal is 11. If the pitching can hold down the fort for them, there is no reason why they couldn’t win four more. 

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