Nats enter postseason with 95 wins, questions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sunday’s regular season finale at Nationals Park ended with the Washington Nationals winning their 95th game of the season, 10-7. They defeated the grieving Miami Marlins who, to their credit, didn’t fold when they went down 3-0, 5-2 or 8-5.

Max Scherzer, DC’s #1 starter was strong at the plate with 2 hits and 4 RBI (according to one source, giving him a 9-8 lead over Ryan Zimmerman in the second half) but uninspiring on the mound and basepaths. Nonetheless, he got the his 20th win when his teammates scored after his 5th inning exit. He should be on the mound on Friday for the first game of the Division Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Trea Turner and Danny Espinosa both walked twice, the latter being a damning piece of evidence against a pitcher going to arbitration. Bryce Harper looked injured, but still crush a 99 MPH fastball early and foul to right. Daniel Murphy also pinch hit, but recorded an out and eliminating him from the NL batting title. His health will be huge moving forward.

I predicted the Nats would win 90 games and be in contention for the division. They won it and I was off by 5. The New York Mets won 87 games, despite losing much of their rotation to injuries. They are in the play-in game against San Francisco.

Errata

Wait, why didn’t anybody tell me Vin Scully retired?! I kid of course, but seldom-mentioned in the ubiquitous Scully retirement coverage was that his first radio job was for WTOP in D.C.

DC vs. LA Playoff history

You know how previous results have no bearing on what comes next? Let’s expand upon that by bringing in completely different sports for an all-time intercity/intersport matchup! While Washington and Los Angeles have never met in the baseball postseason, they have in two different kinds of football.

1974

Sonny Jurgensen’s only playoff game is his final game, throwing 3 interceptions while splitting time with Billy Kilmer. The Redskins fell to the Rams, 19-10, at the Coliseum. There used to be clips of it on youtube, but not anymore – probably for the best.

1984

After a 14-2 regular 1983 season, the Skins easily crushed the Rams 51-7 (there was youtube video of this game within the last two months too) at RFK Stadium in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs…

…three weeks later though, they were upset by the Los Angeles Raiders (two years removed from Oakland) in Super Bowl XVIII at Tampa Stadium, 38-9, and it wasn’t that close. I won’t find the video.

1986

After a 10-6 regular season, the Redskins defeated the Rams again at RFK Stadium, 19-7, this time in the Wild Card, the final playoff gridiron meeting between DC and LA for now.

1996

The inaugural MLS Cup us won by D.C. United, coming back from an 0-2 deficit to the Los Angeles Galaxy at Foxboro Stadium. Eddie Pope won it with a header in sudden-death overtime.

1999

In their fourth MLS Cup appearance D.C. United won their third championship, this time 2-1 over L.A., again at Foxboro Stadium.

On uniforms

Don’t forget — The guy in the red shirt always dies!

Nationals – please, wear the home whites and road grays.

Prediction

Dodgers over the Nats. If Stephen Strasburg was healthy, I’d say the Nats take it. He’s not and I don’t trust Gio Gonzales, even against a lefty-heavy LA lineup. That leaves Tanner Roark and possibly Joe Ross along with Scherzer, who will be head to head with Clayton Kershaw. Injuries to Daniel Murphy (we are praying for his buttocks and his family), Bryce Harper (undisclosed) and Wilson Ramos (out) are too much to overcome.

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