Dear Washington Nationals,
Plain and simple, we messed up. Of the seven staff writers that wrote a prediction for the 2019 World Series, all seven chose the Houston Astros to take the crown. We were very wrong and we want to take a moment to apologize.
Some of our writers were overcome with happiness after the Astros took down the Yankees, while others were entranced by the team's supposed powerhouse pitching staff. All in all, our predictions only looked at the strengths of the Astros without putting much thought into the power your team held.
We hyped up the vaunted Astros pitching staff headlined by Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, and rightfully so, but we overlooked your equally dominant staff driven by Max Scherzer and Stephen Strausburg.
Our perception of the offenses spelled a similar story. Alex Bregman, José Altuve, and George Springer? How about Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, and Trea Turner?
We counted you out from the start, overlooking the grit and determination your team showed throughout the regular season and playoffs.
On May 23, your record stood at 19-31—the fourth-worst record in baseball. You had a 3.4% chance of making the postseason at that point, leading many to write you off for another lost cause of a season...only for you to throw it right back in everyone’s faces when you hoisted up the World Series trophy against the team that held the best regular season record.
You came back after being down 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth in the Wild Card game, with an 11.6% chance of winning. Down 3-1 in the top of the seventh of the NLDS, your chances of winning had dwindled to 9.7%. When it came to the top of the seventh of the World Series, a 15% chance was all you had to win.
And win you did. You just kept winning.
We thought your luck would run out against Houston, but in reality, luck didn’t hit a grand slam in the top of the tenth inning in game five of the NLCS, notch a 1.98 postseason ERA, or come back to win in five elimination games.
The Washington Nationals did that.
As the cliché goes, hindsight is always 20/20, and we see now that we should have placed much more confidence in this team that would not go down without a fight. Your team serves as a reminder to us and baseball fans everywhere that it’s not about how you start, but about how you finish.
The Gavel Sports Staff