On October 30, 2019 the Washington Nationals claimed their first world series as a franchise. An accomplishment that many would not have predicted at the beginning of the regular season and even the postseason. So, how did they do it? How did the Nationals, a team who had never won a postseason series in the history of their existence, beat some of the best teams in the history of the game to claim a world series title?
Their run was so improbable but not because they lacked the talent. Well, they didn’t appear as world series contenders but they still appeared as a winning team that would probably loose in the divisional round of the playoffs. What made their run so improbable was who they had to beat to win the world series.
First, the faced the Brewers at home in the wild card game. A match-up that seemingly could go either way especially with the Brewers not having Christian Yelich due to injury. After all, it was the right fielder who ended up making the error that allowed the Nationals to take the lead and their eventual advancement to the division series.
One of the most impressive parts of their run was the defeat of the Dodgers. In a series that went all five games, they knocked off the favorite for the NL pennant. It was a series filled with premier pitching match ups. The Nationals even found themselves facing elimination after game three but they managed to capitalize off of Rich Hill and Julio Urias in game four. Then as they forced a game five they managed to get Walker Buehler out of the game and took the lead off of Clayton Kershaw.
The Nationals held that lead to advance to the NLCS to face the St. Louis Cardinals. It was a quick series as the National’s pitching staff showed their dominance and swept the Cardinals to advance to the World Series.
The 2019 World Series included arguably the best pitching staffs in the history of baseball. It wasn’t just one team either that had a great pitching staff, both teams had rotations filled with all stars and Cy Young winners.
FanGraphs published an article just to prove how good the rotations where. You can read it here. In the article written by Craig Edwards, he calculates the geometric mean of both starting rotation’s WAR from each world series since 1947. Meaning, he found the average WAR of the the six pitchers matching up against each other in the world series. You can take a look below at the leader board to see how 2019 stacked up against previous world series match ups.
So, as you can see the 2019 World Series was a special one as we were treated to seeing some of the best pitchers on the biggest stage baseball has to offer.
The series itself was an exciting one to watch especially as it went all seven games. Not to mention the fact that the home team didn’t win a single game the entire series for the first time in the history of major league baseball.
The Nationals win was improbable but through unexpected success from their bullpen, great starting pitching, and all around offensive production, they won their first world series in franchise history.