The Nats have advanced in the playoffs after winning at home.
Let’s face it, this is not a sentence many of us thought was possible for most of this season. But after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 on Tuesday night at home, the Washington Nationals are LA bound.
The Nats will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best of five NLDS. Most of the focus will be on Clayton Kershaw facing Max Scherzer and the Nats stacked lineup, but before we get there, let’s take a moment to remember what happened the last time the Nats were in LA.
It’s hard to forget that Gerardo Parra’s story in DC started in LA. He joined the team just days after being released from the San Francisco Giants, and in just his second game with the Nats, he propelled them to victory by hitting a grand slam in the 8th inning. The Nats would struggle for a couple more weeks before turning their season around for the better on May 24 as Parra injected much-needed energy into a struggling lineup.
And if this isn’t “circle of life” enough, we would be remiss to forget about when Adam Eaton and Victor Robles actually re-enacted the Lion King “Circle of Life” in the dugout a few weeks ago. This team is definitely here to have fun.
Parra didn’t play on Tuesday, but that just means he will be even more rested to attack the Dodgers. And his presence was felt throughout the game. When Ryan Zimmerman singled to keep the 8th inning alive, he did the now-signature finger-shark chomp back to the dugout.
Having Parra in the dugout and Zim at the plate again is great, but this team is riding high off of their young talent. Tuesday’s hero, Juan Soto, doesn’t turn 21 until the end of this month. Trea Turner, who got the Nats on the board in the bottom of the third, is only 26 years old and won’t be a free agent until 2023.
The first eight innings of the game did not instill confidence in any Nats fans. But surprisingly, they stayed. DC fans are often ridiculed for leaving early and giving up on their team, but they were in it for the long haul on Tuesday. This was likely boosted by the fact that the Metro promised to stay open up to one hour later than it normally does on weeknights. Often, Nats fans have to leave games early because the metro will close and strand them in the Navy Yard.
Metro is showing that they believe in this team by staying open late enough to allow fans to enjoy the wondrous comeback and still get home easily.
Plenty of questions still linger before the first pitch of the NLDS is thrown, but for now, this team is staying in the fight.