The Washington Nationals are that one team that I have never been able figure out. They have the talent to make a deep postseason run and potentially win a World Series, but they always seem to fall short. Their lineup has always had some good hitters, and their pitching staff performs well, but it is just not enough.
Fast forward to this year, and the Washington Nationals are back in the postseason for the first time since 2017. In their last trip to the MLB Postseason, the Nationals dropped a five-game set to the Chicago Cubs, three games to two. Any differences from years past? The Nats are without Bryce Harper, their former beloved slugger who signed a mega deal with Philadelphia this past offseason, and they seem to have shored up their bullpen issues, adding the likes of Sean Doolittle (former closer), Hunter Strickland, starter-turned-reliever Daniel Hudson (current closer), and Fernando Rodney.
With the loss of Harper, the Nats have seen plenty of guys step up on offense, most notably their All-Star third baseman, Anthony Rendon. Heading into the postseason, Rendon holds an MVP-caliber line of a .319 batting average, 34 home runs (tied with Juan Soto for team lead), and 126 RBI’s.
As a reward for his solid play, and because the Nats want to keep him around for years to come, Rendon was offered a seven-year deal worth $210 to $215 million. I am sure that Rendon would want to stay in the Nation’s Capital, but he has already informed his team that he would like to test out the free agency market this winter. Rendon, if you do not find another offer that you like, the Nats are happy to have you. It is tough to turn down all of that money to play in the city that you have called home for all these years!
In the midst of Rendon’s contract offer, the Nationals begin their first postseason run in two years as they host the NL Central’s Milwaukee Brewers at 8:08 P.M. A team playing without All-Star Christian Yelich has caught fire, as the Brewers went 20-7 in the month September. The Nationals will look to win this game and advance past the NLDS for the first time since 1981 (when they were still known as the Montreal Expos), when they lost in the NLCS to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Milwaukee Brewers, on the other hand, will look to win this game and advance to the World Series for the first time since 1982. Last year, the Brew Crew lost a heartbreaking NLCS in seven games to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fireworks. Big strikeouts. Home runs. I expect all of that tonight. And I expect Rendon, the new face of the Washington Nationals, to have another big game.