Someday, maybe soon, we’ll write a season recap about the Washington Nationals’ 2016 season, extolling the virtues of Max Scherzer and Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner and another division title.
There were a lot of good things to happen baseball-wise in the District this summer and we’ll have a lot of fun recounting them in the near future.
We might even write things about how a 162-game schedule really tells us which are the best teams in baseball with a passing mention about the fickleness of the playoffs and a short series.
This ain’t that.
Right now it’s time to wallow in misery and ineptitude.
The Nats’ 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 in the NLDS is just another D.C. sports failure on a seemingly endless list of them. Just on the baseball side, the Nats have won three division titles in the past five years and then proceeded to lose each division series in the most excruciating manner possible.
This year, it was “longest nine-inning postseason game, ever.”
Since 2012, all of the “Big 4” teams in D.C. have qualified for multiple playoffs. The Nats and Redskins haven’t made it out of the first round. The Wizards have been dropped in the second round twice, and the Caps... well, let’s just say blowing series leads is something of a specialty.
Of course, curses don’t exist. Still, it’s tough to explain away how D.C.’s teams keep enjoying regular season success only to see any hope dashed away once the second season rolls around.
You’d think simply by accident one of those teams would have advanced.
Nope. Eternal sorrow.
This particular game is pretty easy to explain away, actually.
- Bob Henley inexplicably sent Jayson Werth on a ball to the left field corner that was picked up before Werth hit the third base bag.
- Double-switching resulted in Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon getting lifted — early.
- Dusty Baker probably had too quick a hook on Scherzer after the homer that opened the seventh.
- The Nats needed six pitchers in the seventh inning to record three outs, rendering the double-switches pointless.
- Dave Roberts outmanaged Dusty Baker getting Carlos Ruiz to face Sammy Solis, instead of Blake Treinen facing Chase Utley.
- Three times in the game the Nats had a runner on third with one out and the next hitter struck out all three times.
- Due to all the double-switching, Stephen Drew, Pedro Severino, Michael Taylor and Wilmer Difo each had at-bats in a one-run deficit in the eighth and ninth innings.
- Clayton Kershaw beat Daniel Murphy when it was on the line.
Despite all of that, it was a great baseball game. Max Scherzer threw a hell of a game. Chris Heisey hit a huge pinch-hit home run that brought the life back into the stadium. The Nats had runners on in both the eighth and ninth innings with less than two outs.
They had their chances.
It just didn’t work out. Again.
Nothing can make the disappointment any better right now. Wallow in it. Let it consume you for a while. There will be plenty of time over the winter to talk about next year.
It’s not time for that yet though.