MLB season recap (2019)

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   The Crazy 2019 MLB Season + 

Postseason 

      By Oliver Berke 

    Image result for mike trout

Photo: USA Today

Wow. That was quite the year, wasn’t it? Home runs flying by, pitches being annihilated, and records shattering left and right. Let’s talk about it, team by team in no particular order. 

   Regular Season 

Boston Red Sox: 

At first, we’ll go with my team, and boy what a fall-off year these boys had. From winning it all just a year ago to falling apart and not even making the Playoffs is quite the accomplishment indeed. The pitching tripped up, the bats became far more inconsistent, and players that were clearly overachieving and playing out of their mind were given huge extensions that would doom the Sox in the end as they declined rapidly. Yikes... 

 

New York Yankees: 

Oh, well, the Yankees pretty much had the opposite year. Throughout the season, players were constantly being sent to the injury list for lengthy periods of time, starters not exempt from this at all…and they kept winning. It’s kind of miraculous how so many players were able to not only become productive in the place of injured players, but be so good that some even took spots in the lineup themselves. The Bullpen was the best in Baseball, the Starting Rotation was better than ever, and the Yankees cruised to a 103-win season despite all the hurdles that they had to vault over. Impressive. 

 

Minnesota Twins: 

The Twins had quite the realization this season. “Why not just turn Baseball into Golf?” And that’s exactly what they did. 307 Home Runs en route to their first AL Central title in a decade as their hitting corps was young and hungry along with a solid rotation and Bullpen to keep the lights on against other offenses. This may be the most promising young squad out of any team in the Majors, and I expect a lot out of these Twinkies in the next five years. Don’t let me down, Minnesota. 

 

Tampa Bay Rays: 

The new-age exploiters of market inefficiencies have struck back big in their 2019 campaign. Utilizing years and years of meticulous player movements, trades and free agent acquisitions, they built up a very solid roster with the lowest payroll in Baseball. Dejected players like Milwaukee’s Jesus Aguilar and the Mets’ Travis D’arnaud found new sparks of productivity within the warm embrace of Tropicana Field. They truly won 96 games off of sweat and pennies. 

 

Houston Astros: 

Possibly the most consistently excellent team in the AL in the last three years returns with a vengeance in 2019 with 107 victories in convincing fashion. Previous pieces like Alex Bregman and Gerrit Cole blossomed exponentially further than beforeNewcomer Yordan Alvarez burst onto the scene as an automatic Rookie of the Year contender. Justin Verlander turned the clock back seven years to Cy Young form, adding another no-hitter to his Hall of Fame career. Sliding Zack Greinke into the three-spot on the rotation was just overkill for this glorified talent-pool of an organization. 

 

Oakland Athletics: 

And now we get to the most consistently good-but-not great team of the last…twenty-five years or so? Indeed, the hitting corps was flushed with power-bats like Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Stephen Piscotty. Of course, the pitching was bolstered by the no-hitting efforts of Mike Fiers and Australian-sensation Liam Hendriks. Yet, as much things change, as much they stay the same. Crucial guys from 2018 like home-run long Khris Davis and Reliever of the Year contender Blake Treinen declined hard. Rookie-stud arm Jesus Luzardo barely got 10 games of work in and Sean Manaea scraped out even less. This results in somehow the exact same 97 wins from last year as Bob Melvin couldn’t get ejected nearly enough to finish less than 10 games out of 1st place. 

 

Toronto Blue Jays: 

To think they made it a mere two games away from the World Series just four years ago… 

2019 was status quo for Canada’s team. Veterans like Kevin Pillar and Marcus Stroman were off and packing by the deadline. The pitching was simply anemic, the hitting was desperate, and only the likes of Vladimir Guerrero and Bo Bichette could light even a small flame of hope for Jays fans. Sit tight, Toronto, it’s gonna be a long while. 

 

Baltimore Orioles: 

Stuck in the same rut of 90-100+ losses as the Blue Jays, thankfully Baltimore didn’t even have anyone good enough to trade off...except for Mychal Givens and Jonathan Villar and s’more that you probably should’ve traded at the deadline but didn’t for…reasons. Because that would be bad for business. Nope, instead the O’s openly ask the MLB equilibrium to beat the bright orange out of them as they aspire for the lowest of picks. 

 

Cleveland Indians: 

Congrats, Cleveland! You didn’t even have to choke in the playoffs this year!  

No, you just have to watch Corey Kluber morph into a burning Cuyahoga along with Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer indiscriminately shipped off for a rental in Yasiel Puig while Jose Ramirez’s bat turns to stone and Francisco Lindor can’t carry the team on his own. You’ll also have to see Jason Kipnis walk as you desperately cling onto that Kluber Cuyahoga. Have fun next year! 

 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 

 A massive pile of gold is dumped onto Mike puts up another MVP-like season for the Halos. Fun? 

Yeah, the Angels couldn’t get anything else running once again. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it. Offseason additions such as Justin Bour, Matt Harvey and Jonathan Lucroy turn into on-field liabilities and massive disappointments for the continuation of mediocrity in Anaheim. Keep up the great work, Mike!
 

Texas Rangers: 

Ah, you were SO close to .500! 

The Rangers actually looked decent this year, wow, who would’ve thunk it. The hitting brigade is as good as ever, with bats like Ronald Guzman and Danny Santana picking up (some of) the slack for aging veterans such as Elvis Andrus all while giving playoff hope to Arlington…for about one month. Then the pitching stagnated completely as Mike Minor and Lance Lynn were surrounded by a horde of mediocre-to-ghastly arms that sunk the team WAY down. Either way, though, if the Rangs can both develop and acquire some solid throwers, they’re good to go for a wild card spot. Becausey’know, those pesky Astros. 

 

Seattle Mariners: 

The M’s graced us gloriously this year by not even waiting till September to crush their fans’ hopes! They did it in May! 

Seattle is probably the choke-iest team in the history of Baseball (and maybe other major sports too), coasting to a 13-2 record at mid-April to only fall to over twenty-five games under by season’s end. As mandated by bad teams, they traded everyone away and forced their fans to endure the usual pains of rebuilding…aside from the fact that they already doled out false hope at the 2019’s start, making the agony worsened significantly. Whoops. 

I’ll be awaiting you at third place in Five Years! Don’t let me down on that, at least!
 

Detroit Tigers: 

The Tigers are drifting across the MLB landscape as a sailor who’s lost his way, desperately trying to make up for four years’ worth of201 devastating indecision when it came to the time of blowing everything up. Their most promising hitter Nicholas Castellanos? Sold to the Cubs. Respectable reliever Shane Green? Carted away too. Even still, it seems that the team was so threadbare that this wasn’t enough. It’s just a husk of past-primers and youngsters who barely know how to swing a bat. Forget about the O’s and J’s, the T’s are a real tragedy (of which is a pun-quality that is purposely meant to mimic the efficiency of Detroit’s front office). 

 

Kansas City Royals: 

2015 really does seems to be getting more distant by the second… 

Even so, 2019 may be a nascent sign of hope for Royals Fans…even if slightly dim. The hitting crew appears to be getting better and better every year, with Whit Merrifield hitting everything in sight, Hunter Dozier not too far behind, and Jorge Soler materializing into an absolute masher on a cascade of 48 home runs from nine the season prior. Yeah, the whole ‘throwing a ball part is kind of completely…fragile, but Kansas City’s championship doors have slid marginally open bar none, as its Royals attempt to retake the throne smidgeon by smidgeon. 

 

Chicago White Sox: 

Southside was injected with sizable degrees of ‘future expectations’ this year as the farm begins to bear fruit, especially on the offensive side with batting champ Tim Anderson, Rookie of the Year frontrunner Eloy Jimenez is justifying why the organization gave him tons of money before he first touched the pinstripes, and metric tons of other underrated position players filling the rest of the lineup. Again, with mediocre teams the culprit is usually the pitching, and aside from Lucas Giolito the result was pretty much the same as the others. Still, there’s a lot to like from them. Get some arms, and you’re good, simple as that, Chicago. 

 

Milwaukee Brewers: 

Whew, what a rollercoaster of a season for the Brewcrew! 

First starting out blazing-hot with jaw-dropping win percentages, then floundering slightly over .500 for more than half the season, and finally THUNDERING throughout September to snag that second Wild Card spot. Wow. Now THAT’S something. 

Christian Yelich repeated in being spectacularly excellent for Milwaukee in 2019, barreling 18 extra longballs than last year in 17 less games, and would’ve been a runaway for MVP if it wasn’t for the tragic injury during the last month. Keston Hiura emerged as an additional rookie stud for what’s been the greatest rookie class in MLB History, as several more unheralded bats flushed the lineup with both depth and starters to keep the campaign going. Yeah, the pitching was obscenely mediocre, especially that bullpen, but all-in-all for a team that looked dead-as-nails in late August, great job. 

 

Los Angeles Dodgers: 

LA wins the NL West for the seventh straight time…yay? 

Yeah, there was no stopping for the Dodgers. Cody Bellinger came rocking out of the gate with guns a-blazing, bat cranking out dingers every other day and glove throwing out runners from every which way, Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu rose up as a tandem of strikeout-kings among numerous contributions from Kenta Maeda’s gunslinging, Alex Verdugo’s rookie dominance, Joc Pederson’s cannon of a bat, Clayton Kershaw… 

Case-and-point, the Dodgers are the Astros of the NL, it’s simple. Oodles and oodles of phenomenal players buoyed by an exorbitant payroll gives you…what else, a 106 win season. Hooray? It’s almost like we’re getting tired of this, tinsel town. 

Atlanta Braves: 

For the Tomahawk Chop, 2019 was a compounding year. Josh Donaldson paid off in spades with an extra jolt of power in the arm and bat, Ozzie Albies became one of the best darn players on the team in no-time, and the pitching was instilled with solidness on the rotation and pen, from deadline-gain Mark Melancon to farm-hand Mike Soroka and Max Fried that grabbed the NL East for the second year from hyped-up Phillies and Mets teams. There’s a lot more to come even now, and that makes Atlanta just plain scary. 

 

New York Mets: 

Queens’ sweethearts had quite the…Metsy year. Rattling off a respectable 10-6 record off the bat, floundering pathetically in June and July with pitchers blowing games at will, and then battling back in August and September to…several games out of a playoff spot. Mhm. 

Well, there’s only one thing to do, right? Try again. The offense has been bolstered and revamped with Pete Alonso grabbing the Home Run title in his freshman season and Jeff Mcneil competing for batting champ, and the starting pitching has been as good as ever. With Carlos Beltran looming as the next manager, the bullpen’s last to fix. Get it done, Mets. 

 

Washington Nationals: 

Huh, removing a declining clubhouse headcase like Bryce Harper was a good thing for Washington. Stunning. 

Yup, that’s what they did and what they get is the first wild card ranking. 

While the bullpen continued to (mostly) immolate aside from Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson at the latter half of 2019, the hitting corps was amongst the best in the game and the starters weren’t too far off. The Nats had an extremely crucial culture change, old vets getting a renewed sense of fun and confidence from the young guys, and them receiving increased experience and self-control from their older peers. It all meshed to force the Nationals back into the playoffs after a 19-31 start, shattering their previous narrative of choking and rewarding their fans with a postseason birth at the same time. 

 

Arizona Diamondbacks: 

The D-backs thought it would be a great idea to rebuild this year. Well… 

Yeah, that wasn’t the right thing to do at all. Arizona’s offense faltered significantly from the lack of Paul Goldschmidand the many free agents they could pick up, even for Ketel Marte’s best efforts at anchoring it entirely by himself. The pitching, though, was still stout, even for slight bullpen hiccups, it all just wasn’t enough for October baseball. Maybe with this newfound success their GM’ll reconsider his strategy? We can only hope. 

 

Miami Marlins: 

Derek Jeter and his band of misfits were at it again in 2000-plus-19, tanking away South Floridian hopes just like the team has done for about the past decade now. Yet, all that wasn’t without promise, of course. Jordan Yamamoto and Sandy Alcantara were just about pitching machines for the Marlins and a change-of-pace for their usual pitching tragedies, along with Brian Anderson’s road to prominence in reinvigorating the hitting corps. Yeah, everything else was either over-achieving or mediocre veterans and rookies flailing with the bat in overall failure record-wise. But, nonetheless, there’s some promise for South Bay in the next five years. Maybe by then Mr. November will stay true to his name? 

 

San Francisco Giants: 

The Giants were just…there this season. Bruce Bochy got a nice sendoff and his 2000th win, some veterans nearly ready to check in the retirement home did their usual whatever, and Mike Yastrzemski was an absolute rookie sensation…at 29 years old…when San-Fran is in full-on rebuilding mode. Hm. 

Cling onto those three rings while you can, because there’s a LOT of losing in the cards for the West side of the Bay Area, and even more sold-off assets. 

 

Philadelphia Phillies: 

Picture this: You’re a Phillies Fan reclining in your seat on opening day, regaling in how dominant Philly is this year. You’ve heard of the acquisitions: big power in Bryce Harper, veteran grit and a still-solid bat with Andrew Mccutchenone of the best catchers offensively in J.T. Realmuto, a burgeoning Ace in Jake Arrieta and closer David Robertson, for the Phanatic’s sake! I mean, what could possibly go wrong there? 

Keyword: Everything. 

Harper re-coined the term ‘overpaid’ in the sports world by being paid $30 Million annually to have a purely okay batting line and didn’t even sniff the All-Star game. Arrieta did much of the same except he was a total pumpkin on the mound instead of mediocrity, Robertson and Mccutchen barely played a couple of games before being yoinked away from the season via injury (forcing the less-than-reliable Hector Neris to close out ballgames), and J.T. Realmuto decided to decline significantly because why not. You could add former Mariner shortstop Jean Segura to that disaster list as well, because Philadelphia sports need even more suffering. 

Hundreds of millions of dollars spent equate to two more wins for the Phils, right at .500. An impressive accomplishment! 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates: 

Ah, the Pirates. Such a classically poorly-run franchise, filled with the riches of disappointment since 1979. 

This go-around, the Bucs saw their hitting corps mutate into something decent for once, Bryan Reynolds and Billy Newman bursting onto the scene as no-doubters for Rookie of the Year, Josh bell mashing the cover off the ball, etc, etc. All that good stuff, right? 

Yeah, uh, problem was, the pitching was absolutely anemic at best and the personification of human waste at worst, Chris Archer in particular proving last year’s trade for today’s studs like Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow with the Rays to be nothing less than a fleecing. Pitching, pitching, Pitchsburgh…if only you were called that. 

 

Chicago Cubs: 

With southside displaying huge bounties of promise, what did northside present their hungry fans in 2019? 

Devastation. 

Sure, they kicked off the year horribly, but they’ll bounce back right? Yep, they did. Only to choke it away in September…AGAIN. 

Everyone was saying their rotation and bullpen was one of the best in baseball. Was it really? Jon Lester, Yu Darvish and Jose Quintana fell WAY off, Pedro Strip turned to ash, Craig Kimbrel was paid $20+ million to immolate on a baseball field (good riddens from Boston) and…there were some good pieces in the middle? Like Nicholas Castellanos? 

Tough luck. Try again next year, Cubbies. 

 

St. Louis  Cardinals: 

Quite the bounce-back season was in order for the 2019 edition of cardinal red and a baseball bat. Superstar slugger Paul Goldschmidt was theirs for the taking (and mashing), Jack Flaherty had emerged as a reliable starting option, and sophomore manager Mike Shildt was going to lead the Cards back to a division title…right? 

Well, it was a kind of back-and-forth for St. Louis. 20-30 games in, ten games above .500, Goldy’s smacking the ball so hard it’s criminal, Miles Nikolas performing well, the usual. But in between that stretch and the All-Star break, something wasn’t right. The bats went silent, pitchers were being ruthlessly dominated from top to bottom, and only a young Tommy Edman could bring a spark in the Cards’ playoff chances.. 

By mid-to-late July, however, something had most-certainly changed. Marcella Ozuna had regained knowledge of how to blast a baseball into the bleachers for the second time in two seasons, Goldy had ceased being Coldyand Jack Flaherty had turned into the best second-half pitcher in the league under all of our noses in a couple weeks flat. 

While the MVP-less Crew did make a run at that ole NL Central title, it was Missouri’s through and through at October’s advent, a sudden turn of events from straddling the lines of mediocrity to being right up there with the Nats and Dodgers. The pixie dust is in the cards for a playoff run once more. We can only hope… 

Colorado Rockies: 

Rocktober didn’t come easy for Mile-High. In fact, it didn’t come at all, what a revelation. 

Yep, apparently they needed more than a trio of good hitters and…not much else to survive in a 30-team league, mesmerizing. Of course, the pitching was mostly just rancid garbage for the Rockies this year, bullpen and rotation intertwined in a mix of desecration of a baseball mound that was a joyous occasion for any opposing hitter. Jon Gray, Mike Dunn, Kyle Freeland and company, you name it, no guy whose occupation on the team that started with a ‘p’ could escape the clutches of failure. 

…Those two straight Wild Cards were still pretty fun though, right? 

 

Cincinnati Reds 

Cincy just had a complete 180 from 2018, spectacularly. The pitching, for once in a millionty blue moons, was actually decent, Tanner Roark and Sonny Gray headlining a promising  array of arms for the future. Indeed, hitting was the weak link for Redland, yet even there they have a lot of pieces scorching baseball fields from coast to coast and showing their might in glove and bat, from the supreme-baseball-bashers of Aristedes Aquino and Eugenio Suarez to Joey Votto’s continued waste of a career and everything in between. 

Playoffs aren’t too far off, Cincinnati. 

San Diego Padres: 

Ah, it finally comes down to…San Diego, oh San Diego. A pit of despair and failure…brightened up a bit in 2019? 

Seems so. Fernando Tatis Junior and Chris Paddack both became the stud-iest of a rookie-stud-filled season, Manny Machado was snubbed from the All-Star game while displaying some extra power in Petco Park, Kirby Yates was devoured closing opportunities like his virtual counterpart, and there were some good guys here and there across the pen and lineup. SD might be getting out of the basement…it’ll probably take five years, but still a good likelihood either way. 

 

Postseason 

Yep, you read those size-20 words correctly! We’ve caught up to October baseball, and boy, has this been an October to remember for fans everywhere. Blown leads, home runs, and Cinderella-stories are aplenty! Let’s see how the teams that made it this far held up. 

 

                               Wild Cards 

                                    (WSH over MIL) 

                                        (TBR over OAK) 

Gee, where to start. 

Over in the Nation’s Capital quite the low-scoring affair was in progress, Brewer bats thundering off for three runs via the long-ball in the first third of the game. Nevertheless, they’d been shut out since then, the Nats getting themselves on the board with a one-run tater of their own. With a 2-run lead in hand in the 8th, the Brewers sent Josh Hader on the mound to give Milwaukee a trip to Los Angeles, and…promptly loading the bases up with Juan Soto at the plate. Still, there was only one out to go in the inning, and the guy’s only 20. He’s not going to, say, give D.C. a three-run double to take the lead, right-yeah he did. Hader has major questions going into the off-season as the Nats advance in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Yay? 

East of the Bay in Oakland, though, would be a different kind of game. The A’s, so ready to upset Houston, got upset themselves by a gutsy Rays squad from glove to bat and arm over a 9-inning domination on enemy territory. Oakland just had no answer for Charlie Morton’s pitching mastery, nor the likes of their bullpen, not allowing a single earned run all game. At least it was closer than your Wild Card foray last year? Yeah, you need to step it up, Athletics. 

 

                                              NL Division Series 

                                           (STL, ATL 3-2) 

                                              (WSH, LAD 3-2) 

Starting in Atlanta, the Cards and Braves fought tooth-and-nail over the first four games of the series, each team being forced to either clutch up in the later innings or dominate their opponent on both sides of the ball. It was bloodshed, pitchers dealing, batters slinging, both home stands being split by each team. Going into Game 5, it was anyone’s game… 

That game turned out to be the Cardinals’. Ten runs in the first inning off guys that were coasting all series put Atlantans in a sense of apathy quickly. They just barreled through pitcher after pitcher, it was an absolute massacre. Karma? Yeah, it probably was. Have fun, Braves. 

 

And then there stood LA and Washington. Two historic major cities, two teams having met three years ago in a similar situation, that time the Dodgers winning in Five. This would again be another struggle for dominance, pitching clinics filling up box scores, roaring cheers and frightening boos heard on a daily basis, it was simply one for the ages. With their Ace on the mound, Los Angeles looked to impress their fans at home while Washington attempted to shock the world… 

As the top of the seventh rolled in, a 3-1 lead was LA’s for the taking (sound familiar?) and…who does the skipper send out? Oh, right, notorious postseason choke-artist Clayton Kershaw instead of Kenta Maeda’s hot hand. Genius… 

Indeed, back-to-back dingers would immediately prove the Dodgers’ intuition as a tad incorrect, and the game would be still tied as it went into extra innings with the Nats ready to pounce on a Joe Kelly who’d lost all of his clutch from Beantown. Bases juiced, nobody out, former Dodger Howie Kendrick at bat, he could do nothing more than dent a ball into center field and send the Away dugout into an absolute frenzy. So, that was that, the Dodgers were retired in order, and there goes your NL Pennant streak. Nice contract extension given out to your manager. Maybe he’ll learn to keep Kershaw off the mound next year. 

 

                                                     AL Division Series 

                                             (HOU, TBR 3-2) 

                                             (NYY, MIN 3-0) 

With Houston and Tampa Bay, it was quite the interesting matchup. A young and torrid squad up against a perennial dominator in South Texas. I’m sure this was a bit of a shocker to a lot of pundits and fans no-doubt. 

Through the first two games, not much went wrong for the ‘Stros. Cole and Verlander kept up status quo with excellent outings, the hitting was…solid, and TB couldn’t do much but keep it close…until the series went to Florida. At that point, all hell broke loose. The Rays were lighting the Astros up on all ends, Verlander dropped the ball big time, and the whole thing was tied 2-2 returning to Houston. Thankfully for H-town, Gerrit Cole again showed his pitching brilliance and the Rays’ run stopped short of that illusive ALCS. However, once these guys get some more cash flowing in, you can bet they’ll be an AL powerhouse for years to come with such front office excellence. I’ll be seeing you in three years. 

Meanwhile, in the clutches of Yankee Stadium, Minnesota had a chance to break all the narratives of choking, playoff defeats and submission to their Yankee overlords annually with a series for the ages… 

Let’s just say the only thing they shattered was fan optimism. 

The first two games in NY were absolute blowouts with the hitting bunch falling over each other and the arms sending balls into the seats at will. But wait, you still have a game in the Twin-cities to go! You’ll…slowly watch an entire state population groan in agony as you make it uncomfortable for the Bronx Bombers but can never complete that playoff puzzle. Another swept October to remember for these boys…at least the window’s open. 

 

                                                      NLCS 

                                              (WSH, STL 4-0) 

Huh, Cards. So apparently one playoff series was enough. 11 championships are enough too, apparently. Yep, you can just sit back and relax as your hitters can’t hit ANYTHING off of the Nats‘ starters for three straight games and facing elimination in the clutches of the Capital you decide that it’s NOW time to show up…on the offense. ‘Course, you have enough leeway to give up seven runs in the first inning, you have to repay the Braves somehow. 

Washington pulls off a convincing sweep of St. Louis hopes and dreams as Missouri can only shrug at their team’s utterly disappointing fate. Congrats. 

 

                                                       ALCS 

                                               (HOU, NYY 4-2) 

Phew. Take that, Yanks. 

After testing out their bats and gloves on the Astros with a resounding 7-0 win in hostile grounds, New York was stricken with collapses aplenty from usually-reliable bullpen hands as they fell into a 3-1 hole. Never fear, though, as JV demonstrated thoroughly his October acumen by failing to defeat the Yankees at their final home game. Game 6, though, would be a bullpen game, NY lacking in well-rested starters and the Astros content to keep Cole in for Game 7. 

It was shoulder-to-shoulder baseball, low-scoring, all the superlatives one could imagine. As the Ninth approached, the Yankees’ year rested in the balance of new acquisition D.J. Lemahieu. With one swing of the bat, the man sent the Empire State into catatonic shock as a 2-run Homer notted up the game at 4-4. This was their year. They were going back to the World Series in underdog fashion… 

Or instead they could just give up a walk-off 2-runner to end their season in unbridled misery. That works too. Great year you had.  Billions spent this decade for not a single World Series appearance…a great sight to behold. 

 

                                                  World Series 

                                                    (WSH, HOU 4-3) 

Ah, now here we are. Fall Classic time. The champions of the National League and American League duel it out for some good ol‘ hardware and bragging rights. This year’s was a good one. Let’s see who comes out on top, shall we? 

 

Back in Houston, the Nationals were undoubtedly  shocking the baseball world. Scoring bundles and bundles of runs through their first two games is just the background for incredible starting performances by D.C.’s wonderful pitching maestros Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Through their innings of work they absolutely dissected Astros hitters like the limbs of a frog, dicing ‘em up and frying them on a platter. It was ugly. All the bullpen had to do was stay passable and that they did. A 2-0 lead was serenade for the Nats as they came back to a crowd ready to celebrate… 

It would take a bit longer, however. The Astros’ pitching from top to bottom decided it was their turn to breeze through batters, barely giving up any runs as Houston’s bats caught on fire and didn’t let up one bit. They’d won three in a row thousands of miles away with home-field advantage returned. It’s easy now, right? 

Nope. 

The Nationals switched identities back to a mashing-slashing machine in the series’ final two games, Scherzer and Strasburg returning to make Texas hopes come up in flames and District aspirations fly higher than they have in decades when it comes to baseball. Washington wins its first World Series in franchise history, becomes one of the greatest underdogs in sports history, and prevents the Astros from being a dynasty as they fall into a pit of scandals and sendoffs to departing players. 

Congrats, Washington! You finally did it! 

 

…Anyway, wow, what a season we had here, folks! Dingers every which way, the greatest rookie class of all time walk-off seasons for numerous legends, and a reshuffle of the MLB’s major powers, all capped off with a World Series champ whose Cinderella-run no one saw coming. Just…brilliant. 

I hope to see baseball once again as great as it is next year, and may it be awesome for decades and centuries to come!