Usually, being 19-31 is not a record a team likes to have in baseball, but that record forever will remain in every Washington Nationals fans’ heart. The 2019 Washington Nationals were world champions, whose journey will live on forever as they came from 12 games down (19-31) on May 24, 2019, to win the World Series – the first title in the 51 seasons of the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos franchise.
From 19-31 to the World Series? 5-0 in elimination games in the postseason? Four wins on the road in the Fall Classic? It’s why the Washington Nationals called the season “Improbable.”
The Washington Nationals won all five elimination games by a combined score of 30-11. They became the first team to mount five come-from-behind wins when facing elimination, including a 6-2 comeback to win World Series Game 7 against the Houston Astros.
Max Scherzer pitched Game 7 of the 2019 World Series days after a nerve issue in his neck kept him from going in Game 5. Scherzer held the Astros to seven hits, four walks, and the two earned runs. Patrick Corbin tossed a scoreless inning before the offense struck before Daniel Hudson’s scoreless ninth wrapped things up.
Stephen Strasburg became the first No. 1 overall pick to win the title with the team that drafted him. Strasburg earned MVP of the World Series, becoming the first No. 1 overall pick to win the World Series MVP. It was by far the most prolific of ten big league seasons for the 31-year-old right-hander. Strasburg went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in five postseason starts and one relief appearance, including victories in Games 2 and 6 of the Series.
The Washington Nationals are no strangers to long-shot comeback bids. At multiple junctures in last year’s World Series run, their odds of being eliminated were too high. The 84% chance they had to miss the playoffs in late May, to the 87% chance they had to lose the wild-card game before Trent Grisham’s error, to another 87% chance of losing the World Series, trailing the Astros for most of Game 7. But “Improbable 2” is unlikely to happen with the Nationals sitting 5.5 games back of the wild card in the COVID shortened season, it brings fond memories.