#TBT to “Nationals Classics”: Dominant pitching and coming through in the clutch

Happy Thanksgiving, NatsTown!

Today is a day for giving thanks, and at the top of most Nationals fans’ lists is the fact that a certain team sporting a curly W and blue uniform tops delivered a World Series championship to D.C. last month. Never gets tired hearing that, does it? I suspect it won’t for a long time to come.

Whatever’s on your Thanksgiving table, you’re sure to indulge today. Turkey coma, anyone? My table has traditionally included a roasted bird, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, jiggly cranberry sauce out of the can (sorry, berry people) and sauerkraut. Yes, sauerkraut. Hey, I’m of German descent - and don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Today’s for feasting and tomorrow’s for recovery - and, well, shopping since it’s Black Friday (though the best deals increasingly aren’t found in stores but online). And if you’re ready to settle into your recliner and let everyone else in the family tackle the retail therapy, we’ve got trio of pitching-heavy “Nationals Classics” you can feast on with the leftovers.

As for the rest of the week, offense will take center stage, especially the variety that occurs late in the game with everything on the line. Think Nats general manager Mike Rizzo wants another clutch hitter under his Christmas tree in a few weeks?

Anyway, give thanks for what’s important in life and enjoy this week’s delicious “Nats Classics.”

Friday, Nov. 29 - 9 a.m. - Sept. 10, 2017 is a big day in Nationals history, the night the Nats clinched their fourth National League East crown in six seasons with a 3-2 win over the Phillies on South Capitol Street. Stephen Strasburg allowed two hits over eight spotless frames with 10 strikeouts to extend his scoreless streak to 33 innings. Trea Turner’s eighth-inning homer ended up being the margin of victory.

Friday, Nov. 29 - 2 p.m. - OK, you’ve pulled out the leftovers and made a turkey sandwich. While you devour it, enjoy seeing Max Scherzer carve up the Marlins in a 9-1 triumph from July 27, 2018. In this game, Mad Max fanned 11 and became the fourth pitcher in major league history to record seven consecutive seasons of 200 or more strikeouts.

Friday, Nov. 29 - 7 p.m. - You won’t want to nap after your leftovers dinner with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound in this game from April 26, 2013. All the right-hander did was toss a one-hitter, striking out 11 Reds in a 1-0 win, besting Homer Bailey. Not exactly a no-hitter (Zimmermann would have to wait until the end of the following season to record the Nats’ first), but a pretty stellar mound performance all the same.

Saturday, Nov. 30 - 8 p.m. - We’ll go prime time for this two-way effort from Strasburg in a 13-4 whipping of the Braves in Atlanta on July 18, 2019. A yeomanlike effort covering 5 2/3 innings gave Strasburg his 12th win in a magical season. But Strasburg showed he’s no slouch with the bat, smacking a three-run home run in the third inning and performing one of last season’s most memorable dugout dances. In addition to picking up the W, Strasburg drove in five runs.

Sunday, Nov. 30 - 11:59 p.m. - All of baseball focused on Angel Stadium in Anaheim on July 18, 2017 to see two of the game’s burgeoning talents - the Nats’ Bryce Harper and the Angels’ Mike Trout - square off. The Nationals won the game 4-3 behind a 4-for-4 night that raised Harper’s batting average to .337. Trout was 1-for-4 with a two-run home run.

Monday, Dec. 2 - noon - Phillies losses are the gift that keeps giving for Nats fans, and on May 4, 2012, it took 11 innings for Washington to secure a 4-3 victory. A two-out rally loaded the bases and pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos played the hero with a walk-off single.

Tuesday, Dec. 3 - noon - Some games are won in clutch fashion with a pedestrian single. Others, like a 6-2 triumph over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 19, 2013, are much more grand. Ian Desmond stepped to the plate in the top of the 11th with the bases full and walloped a Michael Stutes pitch over the wall in left-center for a grand slam.

Wednesday, Dec. 4 - noon - Jayson Werth came off the bench on Aug. 17, 2014 to draw a ninth-inning walk and score the tying run to force extra innings against the Pirates. Then, in the bottom of the 11th, Werth doubled, went to third on a groundout and crossed the plate on Scott Hairston’s sacrifice fly. The 6-5 victory was the Nationals’ sixth in a row.

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