Remember when you were a little kid and your mom or dad would toss you into the air? It felt so wonderful that you’d immediately say “Do it again!” Over and over until your poor parents wondered why they ever started this in the first place.
Well, we at MASN are experiencing that feeling again, having just witnessed the Nationals pull off the most incredible in-season turnaround and postseason run in the history of the big leagues. And we have a feeling that you might be feeling it, too.
Whether the Nats can repeat as champs in 2020 remains to be seen, but in the meantime, we think you’ll relish some repeats of thrilling wins from the 2019 season and prior as “Nationals Classics” returns to help you get through offseason baseball withdrawal.
Thursday, Nov. 7 - 1:30 p.m. - Speaking of youthful abandon, who will ever forget the way 19-year-old Juan Soto burst onto the scene in 2018, coming from nowhere to make a legit run at Rookie of the Year? On May 21 of that year, with the Padres at Nationals Park for the first of three games, Soto announced his presence with authority in the second inning, hitting a three-run homer off San Diego starter Robbie Erlin. Trea Turner and Bryce Harper would add back-to-back RBI doubles to stake the Nats to a 5-0 lead that would prove to be more than enough as Gio Gonzalez cruised through seven innings on the way to the home team’s 10-2 victory. Soto’s blast was the first homer by a teenager in the big leagues since Harper had done it in 2012 (also at 19, also against the Padres).
Thursday, Nov. 7 - 7 p.m. - The Nationals’ now well known 19-31 early-season nadir this year was still fresh in collective memory on June 9. That’s when, in the last game of four in San Diego, the team produced a glimpse of the improbable glories yet to come in 2019. With the score tied 1-1 going into the top of the eighth, the Padres sent former Nats reliever Craig Stammen to the hill. He got Yan Gomes to ground out, but then things went south in Southern California. Howie Kendrick, pinch-hitting for Nats starter Stephen Strasburg, homered to left center. The top of the order followed suit, with Turner, Adam Eaton, and Anthony Rendon all taking Stammen deep for solo homers as the Nationals prevailed 5-2.
Saturday, Nov. 9 - 7 p.m. - Strasburg marked a milestone in his June 4 start, logging the 100th win of his career as the Nats rallied to beat the White Sox in Washington. The eventual World Series MVP certainly had more impressive appearances this year. Strasburg gave up four runs in the first inning, and came out of the game after five, barely qualifying for the victory. But the Nats took control in the bottom of the fifth as homers from Rendon and Victor Robles hung a five-spot on the visitors.
Wednesday, Nov. 13 - 9 a.m. - You’ll want to get up early to see this wild interleague game from 2016. The Twins were in town on April 24, finishing a three-game series with a Sunday matinee that ended up bleeding into suppertime as the teams battled for 16 innings. Strasburg went 7 1/3 innings before a three-run homer by future National Brian Dozier ended his day. Wilson Ramos’ two-run double in the bottom of the eighth got the Nats to within a run, and Harper’s leadoff homer in the ninth sent the contest into overtime. Five innings then passed with no one crossing the plate. The Twins smelled victory in the 15th when Miguel Sanó’s two-out single drove in a run, but the Nats answered in the bottom half. Danny Espinosa scored as catcher John Ryan Murphy threw wildly after picking up Oliver Pérez’s bunt. Leading off in the 16th, Chris Heisey smacked a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left-center to end the marathon.