Max Scherzer dismissed any notion of the eventual 2020 World Series winners having an asterisk attached to their title when he spoke about the way he and his teammates in the nation’s capital approached the 60-game season.
It ended in disappointment for the 2019 winners, but Scherzer said whichever team ends up winning it will have earned the championship.
“I look at the 2020 World Series winner as a true champion after everything you had to do to be able to get through it,” Scherzer said after the Nationals wrapped up a 26-34 season which saw them finish tied for last place in the NL East.
“We all knew this was going to be 60 games, and the short season, you needed to get out to a good start immediately and we didn’t,” the three-time Cy Young award-winner said.
“This is a frustrating year to not be able to back it up, considering how well we played from the second half on last year, into the World Series, and won it.
“Obviously we weren’t able to replicate the success that we had last year into this year.
“That’s just the way it goes, everybody has a hand in it, everybody needs to reflect upon what they did and didn’t do well and try to make those adjustments going into next year.”
The Nationals’ brass will meet at some point this week to do what GM Mike Rizzo refers to as an autopsy on the 2020 campaign, where they’ll try to identify where things went wrong, so they can start to build for the 2021 season.
Inconsistent starting pitching, at-times sloppy defense, a number of injury issues, offensive inconsistency, a lot of young players learning on the job, and some players who took a step back, or a side-step as Rizzo phrased it this past weekend. It all played a role.
Scherzer said that sort of scrutiny comes with the territory when you fail to meet whatever expectations there were going into the season.
“That’s just life in the big leagues. When you don’t win, there’s going to be a lot of attention to why you didn’t win.
“You’re always going to have that pressure to perform. So, yeah, I’m sure there’s people that are going to look at this and say, “Hey, it’s only 60 games, screw it.’
“That’s not my mentality. I came into this year fully prepared to win, and we didn’t win.”
So which team will win it all? The 2020 postseason kicks off with four games today before a full slate of matchups tomorrow.
After that it will be the White Sox and Athletics meeting up in Oakland with two former Nats’ prospects, Lucas Giolito and Jesús Luzardo going head-to-head in the series opener at 3:08 PM ET, before the Blue Jays and Rays (5:07 PM) in St. Petersburg, and Yankees and Indians at 7:08, start their series at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
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